Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's your addiction?

So, as I have mentioned before I have been spending one night every week at a Codependent Support Group. It has been so eye-opening, supporting, and validating. The ladies range from being in physically abusive relationships to those who have had complete mental breakdowns. Many but not all have significant addicts in their lives in the form of a spouse or a child. The addicts are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, or they have personality disorders or just plain have character flaws that keep them from living normal lives.

We, the codependents, come to our meeting to get support on how we are supposed to deal with the chaos in our lives. We come to get support on acting like we know we should. We come to find our voice. Codependents are addicts too. We have everything very much in common with the people that society refers to as "the real addicts." We come to our meeting to take responsibility for our part of the cycle. We come to recover from our own addictions, even if they are more socially acceptable.

The women in my group are all addicted to love, for that reason, they are also called codependent. You don't know them, but I am sure you know somebody like them. It may even be you. You may be unaware that people like this can actually have an addiction too. Codependent people are self described as SuperHuman. They get it ALL done and more. They take care of everyone which means that they also attract needy people. They take self sacrifice to an all new level. Even though they are the ones that everyone goes to when they need something done, they are really a total mess, and should be the one seeking support, not dishing it out. They have no voice, except "do whatever it takes to keep the peace, to help people, and to stay loved." They are totally unhealthy. Sometimes the people on the outside start to catch on to their problems. Why are they on their 20th loser boyfriend? Why do they stay with that man that beats the crap out of them? Why do they complain about so much yet do so little to change it? Why do they go crazy at the slightest turn of events? Why can't they set boundaries?

This link was interesting to me this morning. It's an article from Psychology Today about new thinking in regards to addicts. In the past we have all just thought that addicts were spiritually weak, or mentally ill, wired wrong, or maybe just given "the gene". But, the more time that goes on, the more the experts realize that we are all addicts. Every single one of us. Humans have a mentally evolved reward system. We find things that make us feel good and we gravitate to those things. Some people choose exercise. Some people use food. Some have preferences for shopping, online gaming, pornography, tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, sex, or feeling loved by other people. So, you see, those of us who have in the past loved pointing fingers, are now stuck with only one option..turn that finger around, and evaluate yourself.

What is it that you are addicted to? Addictions can be rated at different levels of problematic. Your addiction may not be a problem because you have learned to control it. Everybody has something that attracts them. Some things are just more socially acceptable. We all put on the pedestal those people who have amazing bodies, but to look like that, they are probably more than likely addicted to exercise or body image, or both. Funny, that those model bodies have always been praised while the overweight have been ridiculed, and they really have the same problem deep down inside...addiction. One has chosen exercise and one has chosen junk food, but really it's the same problem. They are looking for love in all the wrong places. Sorry I couldn't resist using that lyric. They are both getting a mental feel good moment from whatever their choice of drug happens to be.

The thing we all hold in common is that we are each looking for things that reward our brain. Things that make you go OOOO. Things that make you go OOOOO. Some of us (OCD) find that fix in a clean house or an immaculate yard. Some prideful people are addicted to making their children perfect or at least having everyone think that they have a perfect little family. Many addicts are addicted to work. Again, one of those socially acceptable addictions. I think my kids are addicted to making messes. I don't know how this makes them feel good, but it must because they do it all the time.

I love that of course, once again, my church was ahead of the game. Look here for the manual they put out on how to use the 12 steps to overcome addiction. They have a class at church once a week for addicts to attend. If they want help overcoming a weakness, they can use the class, the manual, and the 12 steps, to personally apply the atonement in their life and to let God help them overcome their addiction, no matter how socially acceptable. On the part of the person who wants to change, all that is required is the desire and commitment. Then when you seek out help, you will be given the tools to apply the grace of God and makes weak things strong.

The scriptures are true. The verses from the Bible that talk about moderation in all things were God's way of telling us to bridle our passions, control the feeding rewards to our brains. We have to avoid our natural man telling us that we NEED the good feelings caused by our worldly passions. Get our rewards from God because there is one place where we can never have too much and that is God's love.

Let go and let God. That's what they teach in AA and it is gospel truth.


Robyn said...

Does this outreach group you go to cost money to join...?

ShEiLa said...

I am addicted to LOVE.

other things are...
diet dr pepper (caffeine)
over eating
fiber one bars
OTC pain meds (i hate pain)

isolation? I am not sure about this one... but I heard about it and does being a home body make you an isolation addict. YOU need to give me your opinion on this one Alice.

I am Thankful that I don't have a shopping or hoarding addiction... although I have huge sympathy for those that do.


Holly said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about all of this. While I don't have all the answers--or even a few of them, for that matter--I do know that I spend a great deal of time on my knees, asking for help to keep a balance in all things. More often that not, I still don't listen well when help is given, but I keep trying, and I know in whom I trust. And I am grateful for His grace and patience with me each and every day :)