There is such shame around addiction because of lack of understanding it. Addiction is a normal response to nervous system dysregulation. It’s an attempt to cope. An attempt to escape the torture that comes from not feeling safe in our own bodies.
At the core of addition we are either trying to avoid an emotion or to feel an emotion. The cycles of shame, the quest for the next burst of relief, and the excitement of unpredictability are present. For many it’s the only way to feel anything. Anything at all.
Running substance abuse groups allowed me to see these cycles clearly and to understand the trauma connection. A connection that is often ignored in order to label someone as “diseased.” The hardest part of addiction is not usually stopping the substance itself. The hardest part is feeling. It’s not avoiding. It’s having to look at the behavior that came from these cycles.
That is where the real work of uncovering the roots of addiction begin. I spent many years working with people in recovery, having an addictive background myself. My mother was an alcoholic and I followed suit. I swore I would never be like her and became the same as her. This is what judgement will do for you.
36 years later, the curse is long broken, but some residual behaviors like codependency still like to hang around soetimes. It’s an ongoing process for sure. But for 36 years I have been free from addiction and it’s destructive forces. You can be too. But you will need help. Like everything else, community is the place of healing. There are recovery meetings of all kinds, and endless resources as well. If you are caught in an addictive cycle, seek help, it’s there for you.
SOurce: Nicole LePera / BH / Adapted