Note: This post is a very simple view of a huge subject. All thoughts are my own. This post is not meant to advise, diagnose, or cure. You are recommended to seek help if anything in this post resonates with you.
I’m hearing more and more about addictions lately, and I automatically disconnect from conversations because I don’t see myself as addicted – well I don’t do drugs, and I only drink 1/2 bottle of wine a week.
Yet, as I listen more and do a little research, I am beginning to question whether I am deluding myself.
Let’s start with a basic definition. Addiction is a pathological relationship with a mood altering experience. So this says that a relationship that I am involved with that causes my mood to alter or change can be an addiction. Ummmmm.
And why would I want to change my mood? Well, probably because I am hurting, or anxious, or stressed, or angry and I just don’t like how I feel. That happens a lot to me and, I dare say, to you too. You can put your own stuff in here. The reality is that many of these feelings result from lies that we believe about ourselves, many of which we started to believe when we were infants.
It’s been interesting to look at what I turn to to alter my mood. When I am feeling bad about myself, when I am hurting, don’t know who I am, don’t like what I have done, and the shame that goes with it, I have been known to:
- Eat chocolate
- In fact, just generally eat – too much
- dig the garden
- watch TV
Some of these, in themselves, might not seem too bad but if they become my only ‘comfort’ to relieve my pain and stress then there is something wrong. I am addicted – expecting them to have the effect of changing my mood, of removing the hurt, and removing the shame.
For others it might be:
- chemical substances
- sex (including pornography, masturbation)
- console games
- over eating/not eating
Unfortunately, they only bring temporary relief, and so the cycle begins again.
Are there ways out of the cycle? Well yes, but they involve me making choices and doing some hard work!
- I need to start recognising the triggers that move me towards those feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, hurt and pain.
- I need to understand that those feelings, although legitimate, will not ‘kill me’.
- I need to find people to speak truth to me and not let the lie I am believing about myself fester away.
- I need people to support and help me when I recognise that ‘stuff’ is kicking off in me; people who understand and will check in with me and even hold me to account.
- I might need to get professional help.
As I am slowly processing this stuff I am learning more and more about who I am as a person, and why I do certain things, and why I feel the way I do. Thankfully, I have people who are helping me with this process and I am so grateful. To do this by myself would be unthinkable.