The Roots of Addiction
The Roots of Addiction
Why do people get addicted to all sorts of things and substances?
The root of addiction lies most of the time in unresolved emotional trauma. When traumas, be they extreme or mild, are not resolved they leave behind a slew of painful, unprocessed feelings in the unconscious. These feelings are never content to remain silent and instead clamor for release.
How do you become addicted?
Drugs cause addiction. Easy, right? But maybe it is not that simple. Please have a look at another view on why we become addicted to drugs.
The video below is adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’
Statement 1: All addictions are caused by suppression of feelings.
If we could learn how to Feel our emotions rather than judging or fearing them, ALL addictions and recovery programs would literally cease to exist.
Contrary to popular belief, addiction is not about indulging in a substance or behavior every day. It’s about staying dissociated or disconnected from feelings and sensations that help you discern when you’ve worked-out, masturbated, drank or eaten enough, and stopping before you get hurt, go numb or black-out. All forms of addiction have the same root causes and recovery principles – it doesn’t matter what your drug of choice is, for example: alcohol, drugs, internet & gaming, porn, sex, food, shopping, exercise, working or the need to be in a relationship. Addiction’s the ever-present nagging you feel to avert feelings of depression, emptiness or deadness, and fill that gigantic hole in your soul.
Your emotions represent facets of you. Running away from your difficult feelings, means running away from yourself. You cannot form and maintain a solid relationship bond with another, until you learn how to have a healthy, nourishing, friendly bond with you.
Statement 2: Addiction is not inherited.
Although there are many disorders that is passed on from one generation to a next, for example depression, neurological and mood disorders, addiction is not one of them. Buying into this nonsense, has you continuing to make excuses for yourself and remaining disempowered. Parents learnt to self-medicate when they are not feeling well, and they taught you that as well.
Statement 3: Emotional growth is stunted in childhood if painful feelings are repressed.
Every human has fundamental needs – since birth. Everyone needs affection, comforting, support and unconditional love. If these needs are not met by skilled parents, a child will experience uncomfortable feelings like anger, despair, shame and frustration.
They will ask themselves why they are experiencing these feelings. Since a child has limited capacity for reasoning, they automatically assume it’s their fault, not that of his/her dysfunctional parents. They feel isolated and think something is wrong with them, because they think they are the only ones feeling this way. They learn to run away from uncomfortable feelings, to shut down those needs, because it is too much effort to try and maintain them. They grow up with a very limited number of emotions. It hampers their ability and capacity to deal with which ever problems life throws at them.
If you had learnt to accept feelings rather than shutting them down, you would not need numb out discomforting feelings with substance or behavioural abuse. The coping mechanisms you were taught will harm and derail your adulthood.
Say for example your emotions were like a box of crayons and all the colours in the box represents the full spectrum of your emotions. If you decide to draw only with a third of those crayons, the rest remain unused. They remain in the box, but you treat them if they don’t exist.
If you only draw in cool colours, for example blue, purple, brown and dark green – your picture might be monochromatic and uninteresting. Won’t the same happen to your personality if you only display certain emotions? Won’t you become a predictable one-dimensional person?
It is important to feel all our emotions – rather than fear or ignore them. Feeling brings about wholeness and healing. To conquer addiction, a person must learn to feel all feelings, without criticism, self-ridicule or self-judgement. If you can do that – addictions and recovery programs might cease to exist. Running away from feelings means running away from yourself. You cannot form and maintain a solid relationship with anyone else, until you learn how to love and accept yourself.
Statement 4: It is painful and scary to recover from addiction.
Yes, it is. That is why you need help and guidance along the way. Psychotherapy has the goal to make you feel better. You need to learn how to let feelings flow through you without blocking or fearing them. The change involves growth and it takes time. It happens gradually that you can adjust to it. You cannot accomplish this on your own. Real recovery means learning to trust somebody with your well-being and growth, so that you can become fully functional and whole.
Do a self-test Quiz.
If you want to chat to a counsellor, please click on the LIVE CHAT. The service is free and you may stay anonymous. The Live Chat is a text-based chat that is online every Sunday18h00-20h30; Monday – Thursday from 19h00-21h30.
Join a support group
It can help a lot to talk to people who know exactly what you’re dealing with because they’ve been there, too. You may reason, “I’m not that bad off,” or “I’m not as hooked as some people,” and reason that a support group is only for people dealing with “serious” problems — and that you don’t fit that description. In fact, whether your problem is mild, moderate or severe, you can learn from others in a self-help support group (and also help others). You may prefer to join an online support group or supplement the support you get at in-person meetings with online meetings. Support Group
Recovery from Addiction
Listed here are our suggestions for a journey to break free from addiction. Recovery from Addiction
Self help: How to create a better ”RAT-PARK” for yourself
1.You & God
You might be asking: ”Does my life matter?” Off course it matters. But you feel disconnected and fearful. Although crave intimacy and acceptance, you fear vulnerability and rejection. It is because you are a product of your relationships. We’re all imperfect. There are no perfect relationships because there are no perfect people. Study after study shows that our identity is largely determined by what we think the most important people in our lives think of us. That’s why you should make sure that Jesus is the most important person in your life, because he will love you unconditionally.
You may not have had a say in the hand you were dealt in life. But God sent his son as your savior to transform your cards into a winning hand. No matter what connections you’ve made in life — whether good or bad, you will be held responsible for what you do with your connections today. Jesus said that the most important thing we should do is love God and love other people (Mark 12:30-31). Life is not about your accomplishments or acquisitions, your popularity or prestige. It’s about how well you love.
2. You & Yourself
Learn to love yourself. You have to find happiness and contentment in yourself first, before you try to establish bonds with other people.
3. You & Your Family /Friends
Mind the company you keep. You become like those you surround yourself with.
Who you wish to become depends on where spend our time and with whom. Make sure it’s not someone who will stifle your growth.
Make sure your relationships are adding to your goal of becoming who you most desire.
You can book counselling sessions with the following therapists:
Outgrowing your addiction: ‘’The Little Book’’. Shari Shreiber. M.A. 2004. www.GettinBetter.com