Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I've learned about the cycle of addiction and good bye to 2014!

Every time I visit my parents I'm reminded of their addiction. Not to booze, or to caffeine, but to over the counter pills. It's been this way since I was little. I used to be able to name all the different bottles when I was a girl. These days, most of them are for dad post-heart attack but some are for both. Or mom takes them that way!

If she feels a headache coming on, it's two Excedrin migraine. Then, later, if she's still in pain she might take a couple gabapentin and at night if her hip hurts and she can't sleep she'll take a couple of dad's oxycontin. Those are all in addition to the meds she takes normally. Then, she sits on the couch and watches TV with dad all day. The most energetic she gets these days is doing laundry and dishes. She's 68.

My mother's side of family has a background in alcoholism. Her dad was a drinker and she herself later married a drinker (her first husband.) I think her mom may have drank a bit too. Anyway, when she was in her twenties and thirties, she went through a period of drinking a fifth a day as well. That was before she stopped and instead, took pills.

My step dad's mom was also an alcoholic. Guess what? He later married one. While he does share in the pills addiction, he also has a hefty "things" and "new stuff" addiction. He doesn't care much for booze, but damn if he won't spend a bundle on toys. He also had a bad hoarding complex.

What I learned from this family is that addiction can take many forms. When people hear the word "addiction" they might think crack, marijuana, alcohol, speed, meth, heroine, or cocaine. But there are other forms of addiction just as real:

1. Food
2. Sex
3. Thrills
4. Physical highs
5. Adoration/applause

and so on.

That's all great you say, but how does knowing that help? Well, you have to know yourself. Know your addiction and know why it's there. Armed with that information, you can make different choices. If you're not sure what your addiction is, here's a hint:

When you feel sad or depressed, what always makes you feel better? Not just better, but so fucking happy you want to dance? What takes the stress away? What makes you free from those pesky feelings you don't want to deal with again?

That's your addiction.

The clue to getting out is to do nothing when those emotions come up. Sit with them. Be with them. Listen to them. Even talk to them. Find out where they are from and determine if they are old leftover wounds or new ones. Then, heal them as best you can. If you find they are no longer serving you - the ADULT you - then let them go. Let the addiction go.

Now, you might say, look, you can't just let heroin addiction go. I say, that's right, but I'm also saying that addiction always comes from the same place - distancing ourselves from painful emotions from our childhood that haven't healed.

No, your parents aren't going to suddenly take up the slack and heal them for you. You're going to have to do it yourself, just like it's YOU that's doing the medicating. YOU have to be the one to heal them. But that means you have too look at them first.

Here's a site I ran across the other day with a few instructions you might find helpful:

Want Self-Empowerment? Unwind the Illusion of Victimhood 

If you're feeling anxious, angry or hurt, take a look. This might help you in discovering that something outside of you won't help.

Also, the Pele Report was quite helpful this week as well:

It’s OK to feel,
Whatever arises within,
It’s when I distract, deny, and suppress,
That my troubles are soon to begin.

Good luck in your personal growth!


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