People are often terrified when they hear the word addict. Addiction is only brought up in conversation when we hear about another’s inability to stay away from harmful things and substances. You hear about a celebrity in the media, someone’s friend, a close family member, or even you, yourself had to deal with some crippling addictions in your life.
Many times, when we think about addictions, we think of people who have trouble abstaining from drugs, sex, alcohol, or gambling.
The truth is that there are more addicts than we know and there is a big misconception that you are only considered an addict if it’s limited to the addictions stated above.
We can become addicted to the internet, coffee, food, tobacco, video games, exercising, shopping, and or work to name a few.
Many addicts can be high functioning in society, while in secret they are a prisoner to their addictions. Not all addicts will be apparent just by outer appearances.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is an inability to stop using a substance or engaging behavior even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.Medical News Today
We understand physical harm but what does it mean by psychological harm?
Psychological harm is the result where our emotional and mental well-being is compromised.
We might not think that things like food, exercise, and or shopping could cause that much harm.
There is a couple of reason why addictions can cause you psychological harm.
Being addicted causes you to form obsessions with the things you’re addicted to. Not only does it preoccupy your time but your mind. We become a slave to our addictions. Doing things, we wouldn’t normally do and acting in a way that is not the real us.
We form our lives around these addictions while little else matters. You stop experiencing life and give all of your attention and time to your addictions.
Many addicts are willing to sacrifice their lives, relationships, and health for their next high.
Addictions are habits and or behaviors that are chronic and tend to have a lot more power over us than we think.
Many times, the addicted are aware that their behaviors or inability to stop their habits are hurting not only them but the people around them. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as just wanting to stop or trying to quit.
To solve the problem, find that cause
Gabor Maté, a physician, author, and pioneer on the topic of addiction wrote a book called ‘’ In the Realm of Hungry Ghost’’. This book dives into the true nature of addiction and how we can begin to understand where addiction may have started. He has dedicated his life’s work to helping others heal from addiction.
Maté believes that addiction is not as simple as a choice in the matter and that addiction has more complex emotional components than just diagnosing addictions as an inherited disease or biological disorder of the brain.
Through medicine, we explored addiction from the standpoint of the mind and body. What about a third component ‘’The spirit’’ or the soul.
In a spiritual sense, when the spirit or soul has experienced deep trauma that pain imprints in us. It affects us not only psychologically but on a cellular level, biologically.
It is understood that the more extreme the trauma was faced the more extreme the addiction will be.
Addictions can be the easiest choice to use as a coping mechanism from life’s discomforts.
Although turning to addictions can be the easiest choice when dealing with their inner world, it is not always the easiest to balance within their outer world.
Many people think that addicts can easily just stop if they wanted to, we never take the time to understand their story behind the addiction.
There are many people in this world suffering immensely from pain and traumas that some of us have yet to even experience.
When you think about it, it is a very natural response to want to try and find an escape from suffering and pain.
How to start healing from addiction
If you know someone that might be battling addictions or you yourself have trouble breaking free from harmful behaviors that impair your wellbeing, please seek professional help for immediate assistance.
Otherwise, if it is not a medical emergency, I would like to share with you some knowledge on what might help overcome and heal some addictions.
1. Acknowledge the addiction for what it is
It’s time to stop making excuses for your problems and the addiction. Acknowledge that you have an addiction, and it is a problem that is messing with your life.
At this point, you need to wake up and decide if you want to keep on living life this way or you are willing to work on improving your life.
My friends, I want to make this clear that it is harder than it sounds!
Living how you have been living can be comfortable, but it will be very lonely and destitute as life and everyone you love passes you by.
If you decide to change there will be working ahead of you, but the rewards are great.
As I see it both paths are hard, I can’t tell you what to do. It is your choice alone.
If you find that life with addiction is no longer working for you and you would like to heal keep reading. If you are not yet ready for change, that is your decision to make. All decisions we make in life bear either rewards or consequences. You are welcome to come back to this article when you are ready.
2. Reorganize your lifestyle
You might or might not have noticed while living out your addictions that you have made an environment for yourself where it was either easy to access your addictions or you surrounded yourself with others that encourage such addictions.
It’s time to reorganize your lifestyle. With addiction, you need to cut off anything that triggers your response to that addiction.
This is only the beginning, as I already warned you that it will be hard work every step of the way. When it becomes hard, you have to remember why you chose this path, always keep that in mind.
The most important step in reorganizing your lifestyle is who you choose to be around. You need a support system for when times get too hard to keep going, as there will be those days.
If you don’t have at least one person you can count on as a support system, then you need to seek a professional that you feel is proficient. A proficient professional is someone who has great knowledge about addictions or understands your needs while going through this journey.
It is best to have someone who can be a call away when you need. The urges of addiction can happen at any time. Keep in mind that even though you have a support system, you will have to muster every ounce of strength inside of you to overcome your addictions. There was a reason why this addiction had hold of you for so long.
3. Shine light into the darkness
First, we must take a good look at ourselves. No more running from our problems. We need to face whatever it is that has been holding us back. It’s time to release some deep emotions to heal.
This first process should be done in a safe and comfortable environment. Some prefer to do this process somewhere alone.
Do you know why it is easy to rely on our addictions?
Because it distracts us from a part of ourselves that is terrifying to be with alone.
Second, no more keeping it to yourself. Find someone you can trust your vulnerabilities with.
A perfect candidate will not be quick to judge and is a good listener. Share with them some parts of you that you have been trying to keep so deep and hidden. You share as much or as little that is comfortable to you.
Most of the time addictions can comfort us in how alone we feel in our pain and suffering.
We become heavy with guilt and shame for our past experiences while adding more damage to addictions.
You have been carrying these burdens by yourself for quite a while now, release some of the load for a lighter heart.
I understand this step can seem very scary if you have a hard time dealing with emotions and feelings.
Being vulnerable for some is unheard of, especially if we were never raised in a safe environment to be able to freely express our feelings.
If you are willing to even open up just a little bit and to the right people, you can see the great healing benefits it provides.
Click on this article for deeper insight on How to Heal when Life Hurts.
4. The battle has yet to be won
Healing takes time. Life will always be tricky in the fact that sometimes it throws us a situation here and there to test our strength and willpower.
Every step of your healing journey you should be proud of yourself for a good job well done!
There will be times even after your healing and recovery that might test you, these triggers may or may not get the best of you, that is all up to you.
We all have free will to live and choose as we please, with every decision in life can only either bear good or negative consequences.
National Drug Helpline (1-844-289-0879 lines open 24hrs/7days)
National Alliance on Mental Illness Help Line (1-800-950-6264, text “NAMI” to 741741, and online chat)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (English 1-800-799-4889, Spanish 1-888-628-9454, & online chat open 24hrs/7days)
Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741 open 24hrs/7days)