While some people are able to drink alcohol or even take drugs without their whole life being taken over, there are others who are not able to exercise the same level of self-control. If they were to drink or to even take drugs, they would soon find that their life has been taken over.
One is then unable to go a day without drinking and/or taking drugs and they have then lost their self-control. But while it would be easy to say that these are the people who have problems and the people who don’t drink or use drugs are fine, this would be far from the truth.
While one might not be addicted to the options mentioned above, they could be addicted to something that is more socially acceptable. This could mean that one is a workaholic or that they are constantly rescuing others (here, one ignores own their needs and always puts others needs first).
And because these things are often seen in a positive light, they can end up being overlooked. Yet, even though these options are seen in a different light, it doesn’t mean that one is therefore not an addict.
No matter what one is addicted to and whether it is completely destructive or increases their productivity, it is going to allow one to feel better. This is not to say that it is therefore positive - as one is not going to feel better through facing reality, they are going to feel better through avoiding reality.
Now, this could mean that one is using their pain in a fairly productive way and ends up being addicted to their job. In the short-term, this may allow them to move forward and to achieve incredible success.
The Long Term
However, in the long-term, it could lead to one creating other problems in their life. Other areas of their life could end up being out of balance and this will be due to the fact that one will have neglected other areas of their life.
And although one will need to step back from what they are doing and to change their point of focus, this might not take place. If one was to do this, it is going to change how they feel and this might be unbearable.
All the time one maintains their addiction, they will be able to minimize the amount of pain that they feel but the longer they maintain their addiction, the more pain they are going to create. It is then a double-edged sword and this can be a dynamic that is hard to change.
So one could be addicted to something to avoid how they feel and then they start to feel better but as time passes, they may begin to notice the effect their addiction is having on their life. This can then cause them to feel even worse and to go right back to what they know is harming their life. One can then end up going round in circles and find it even harder to put an end up what is taking place.
It is natural to seek pleasure and to avoid pain; this is part of being human. The problems arise when one is trying to feel better through an addiction that is harming their life; they can end up feeling better, but this is going to come at a great price.
The ideal will be for one to reach out to things that will make them feel better without compromising their wellbeing. If one is experiencing some kind of pain, they are likely to reach out for what is available. And what is available might not be what is best for one’s mental, emotional and physical health.
So while one may say that they have an ‘addictive personality’ and see this as who they are, there is going to be a reason for it. One approach would be to say that it is due to one’s genetic predisposition.
Yet, as one reaches out to these external things, it shows that they are unable to regulate their own emotions. And not only that, it could also be a sign that one doesn’t feel comfortable opening up to others about what is going on for them.
If one could regulate their own emotions and felt comfortable reaching out for support, they are unlikely to reach out for things that will end up harming them (or if they do, they will be able to get back on track before long). But if one doesn’t have this ability and doesn’t feel comfortable reaching out for support, then there is a strong chance that they will end up having an ‘addictive personality’.
Another factor will be whether they are carrying some kind of trauma. If they are, this can also cause them to become addicted to something as a way to deal with the pain that is within them.
And while this could relate to trauma that one experienced in their adult years, there is also the chance that it comes down to the trauma they experienced during their childhood. This could have been a time where not only did one experience trauma, but they could also have been brought environment where their emotions were completely overlooked (and that would also have caused one to experience a lot of pain)
So on one hand, one may have experienced trauma (and this may have been the result of a one of occurrence or it could have been an accumulation of major and/or minor experiences) and on the other, this could have been a time where no one was around to regulate their emotional experiences.
During these early years, one wouldn’t have had the ability to regulate themselves and so, they needed their caregivers to do this for them. But if this didn’t take place, one would have had to just sit in their emotions and this would have been overwhelming.
The years will then go by and one is carrying trauma and it is not possible for them to regulate how they feel or to reach out for support. One is then set up to have an addictive personality and unless they process their inner pain, they will continue to experience life in the same way.
As they start to process this pain, they will develop the ability to regulate themselves and begin to feel comfortable reaching out for support. The assistance of a therapist, healer and/or some kind of support group is likely to be needed here.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.