The use of certain substances and behaviors can become our way of coping with life. They offer temporary pleasure or relief, they make us crave them and can create dependency if we refuse or are unable to give them up despite the negative consequences they bring into our lives.
Whether it is alcohol, tobacco, medicines or major risk drugs, substances can be our best friends and our enemies at the same time.
Any behavior that becomes compulsive in our lives can also become our addiction. This can include, but is not limited to eating, exercising, working, shopping, internet, gambling, porn, tattoos, cosmetic procedures, love & courting, various sexual practices, etc.
Dependency of a substance or behaviour relies on a compulsive behavior that is highly rewarding and attempts to solve a problem. If you get a release from your inner pain when you are numbed by a substance or heightened by a behavior, then you will naturally want to re-experience that over and over again.
Addiction has a complex constellation of causes and consequences.
My work experience with my clients has taught me that the most important factor in the development of an addiction is the childhood trauma which is underlying the need for acting out.
I’ve learned that when children are neglected, abused or exposed to other traumatic experiences in their early years of lives, they develop scars on their physical brain and emotional injuries during the shock which most times remain unattended and unprocessed.
Traumatised children learn to function in fear and have their sense of self-worth severely damaged. They learn to believe they are not worthy of respect and appreciation and they feel uncomfortable in their own bodies and their overall circumstances of life.
My work with survivors of childhood trauma showed me that they developed distorted ideas that made them think they had no value in the world and as a consequence they started to distrust themselves and distrust the others, too. They felt guilt and shame for being exposed to that treatment and internalised those feelings deep into their identity.
In a natural way, when children were traumatised they understood that others failed to protect them which made them feel unsafe in the world and taught them to be uncaring towards themselves later in life.
What added to the problem was the fact that, in order to survive, victims of trauma disconnected from themselves and the others, lived isolated and distant lives and did not develop relationships at a deep and meaningful level. My clients confessed that they developed some relationships, but they treated them with reserve and avoided to share their struggles, generally bottling up their inner turmoil.
That was naturally elevating the effects of the initial trauma and brought them a lot of distress and suffering throughout life as they feel unloved, lonely and depressed.
When substances and behaviours numb the negative feelings
Unable to connect with the inner pain they carry following the abuse, adults with childhood trauma learn to feel at ease when numbed by substances or behaviours that create a strong neurochemical boost in their bodies.
Some clients describe that they experienced that feeling of anesthesia when they drank alcohol the first time, others when they smoked cigarettes or a joint and some when they took medication for pain or surgeries. Other clients feel good after eating fatty and highly sugar charged foods, when they exercised, gambled, worked, watched porn or video games, when they had sex, when they engaged in various sexual practices or self-gratificated, when they chased a partner or when they undertook a cosmetic procedure.
All these bahaviours, involving or not a substance, made their hormonal levels change which gave them a numbing effect to their profoundly negative feelings and gradually that started to become their way of coping with the difficulties of life.
In time, the human body gets familiar with the use of a substance or behaviour and develops tolerance to their chemical reaction which demands more frequent use and larger quantities to get the initial numbing effect. This way, the dependency is taking residence in their lives and will take over as a top priority, before family and other relationships and before work commitments and responsibilities.
Many clients functioned this way for years, in secrecy, unnoticed by others. Most times, the consumption was increase gradually to the level where it impacted severely on their day to day life despite their genuine desire to stop.
Addiction co-exists with many other manifestations and it can affect family life, work and social relationships. I’ve seen it often how addiction can bring sufferers on the verge of despair and self-destruction.
From that space, sufferers have lost their jobs, families, children, they lost their friends, their homes and they got to the rock bottom in their lives. That was for many of them the moment of awakening, when the inner pain broke through the denial and came out in an overwhelming outburst which made them connect with who they were inside and encouraged them to start their inner work towards recovery.
The recovery process is not an easy one, but it is very possible. Addictive behaviours are joined by lack of motivation, procrastination, low mood and depression, fear and anxiety, irrational thinking, perception disturbance, antisocial behavior, eating disorders, financial struggles, isolation and so on.
In my client work I learned that addiction can be managed only when people are willing to do their inner work. There are many models in practice in the world nowadays, including a variety of rehabs and the 12 Steps programmes which have now extended outside the alcohol groups and are offering support to people that need to recover from their other substance or behavior struggles.
My wellbeing programme is working not only with the addictive issues, but also with their causes and offer support beyond the recovery. I develop clear, personalised relapse prevention and after care planning for the clients and their entire family and social system around them, as I noticed the social support is essential in the success of recovery.
I learned in time that the solution is not to remove the substances or behaviours from people’s lives, but to help them understand what is causing the need for that escape.
Once my clients reach that understanding and connected with the core of themselves in a sober state, they start to gain clarity on their life experience, they heal and forgive and they do not longer feel the need for that substance of behavior to make them feel alive and at ease.
My wellbeing programme is a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness which is guiding clients through their darkest facets of their being and life experience and helps them grow and develop into authentic and balanced individuals.
At the end of my programme, clients feel they know themselves better, they understand the others and the world around them, they learn to make amends, forgive and heal. They repair their broken relationships, they learn to value themselves and the others and they connect at a deep level which reinstates a level of trust in themselves and the humanity.
As a result of their work with me, my clients allow themselves to nurture positive and fulfilling relationships with the others and find clarity and direction in life. Many decide to change jobs, careers, homes, cars, partners and create a new life, with a renewed sense of self.
My 1 Weel Deep Inner Search Holiday package is perfect to work with addiction issues and my clients have permanently transformed their lives at the end of this programme.
To talk about your substance or behavior struggle, email me in strict confidence at: email@example.com, or schedule an initial chat.