What is addiction? Addiction is defined as any compulsive behavior that acts to deny, avoid or suppress real needs or feelings. Addictions may occur as a result of thinking that you have no other choices available. But addictions actually mask and suppress your feelings.
Why is my addiction a problem?
Unfortunately, they cannot be wished away. If not halted, addiction becomes an invisible but overwhelming monster, and this monster will take over your life and strangle your creativity and sense of self. Without an awareness of healthy alternatives, addictions actually become your “method” for coping with stress. The problem is that to maintain your denial over time, you will always need more and more of your addictive “fix” in order to lower your stress and tension. The addiction eventually backs you into a corner and you literally have less and less choice, both psychologically and physiologically.
It is possible to stop this vicious cycle and break free. You have choices!
You can waste your energy, time and money in maintaining your addiction. Or you can begin to acknowledge your anger (and other feelings) and use the methods of this handbook to manage your anger in healthy ways. How much more joyful and creative energy we would have for our lives if we learned to free ourselves from addictive behaviors!
Do I have an addiction?
Honestly naming the addictions which keep you in a rut is the first step to get out of that rut. Common addictions are:
• smoking • alcohol/drugs • food • constant activity • relationships • workaholism • T.V. • shopping • exercise • gambling • sex • sleeping
Do you always or frequently depend on one of the above when stressful things occur in your life? Do you center your entire life around one of them? Do you use these activities to keep yourself out of touch with your feelings? For example, do you feel compulsive and out of control about food? Has it become an obsession? Do you eat junk food as a way to avoid issues at work? These are difficult but important questions to ask.
Addictions are interchangeable. In my practice, I find that clients may shift from one addictive behavior to another in a constant attempt to avoid their underlying problem – hoping to solve it with another artificial high.
I am not suggesting that all of these activities are negative. Some are extremely positive and beneficial. Exercise and sleep are important! Food can be delicious! Sexuality is something to enjoy! It is only when exercise, sleep, food, and sex become obsessive and compulsive behavior that they are classified as an addiction. Remember, addictions are progressive. You need more of a fix to achieve the same numbing effect.
Start healing to replace your addiction with positive behavior
If you have an addiction, the help of a support group or a professional counselor is often crucial for replacing that addiction with positive behavior. It is very important to understand the power addiction has over you now and do something about it so it will not get worse. Addictions drain us of our self-worth and potential.
Ultimately, addictions and the stress they are meant to “relieve” end up crashing into one another, leaving you in the middle, having to pick up the pieces. It’s important to repeat: addictions create a cycle of chronic denial in our lives. This denial is especially strong concerning feelings of anger. Whatever the cause of the denial, the chronic denial of anger will almost certainly cause you to experience depression.
You can start healing to prevent an addiction from undermining your happiness. Call today to make an appointment for therapy in Palo Alto, or just fill out the contact form and click Send.
If you are not local to Palo Alto, please feel free to be in touch to receive a list of nationally based support groups that deal with addictions. They can provide you with information about contacts for local chapters. These groups are helpful and supportive but they are not for everyone. Give yourself the opportunity to find a group that fits your needs.Please share this post!