Addiction is a pervasive, deeply ingrained ailment that has no respect for age, gender, culture or socio-economic status. While some people are plagued with addiction or multiple addictions, others are victim to its effects by being in relationship with addicts; spouses, children, siblings, parents, friends. Having been embedded into a family where addiction played a major role in the story of my life, there are a few things I have learned about this phenomenon. What I’ve learned comes from my professional training entwined with personal experience where the two became a great force unto themselves. The truth is, it was this combination of education and experience that allowed me to heal the effects of addiction because it plagued people I loved so dearly. I needed to find out what this was, how it came to be, how it could be healed, and this is what I found.
Firstly, it seems that the substance or behaviour associated with addiction can be just about anything. It can be alcohol, drugs, food, video gaming, exercise, pornography, cigarettes, social media, sugar, or anything else that gets a hold of one’s will. The pull and draw is so great that it literally overtakes resolve and determination. The allurement is a force so strong it eventually changes a person into some unrecognizable, distorted version of themselves. The substance or behaviour however, does not seem to hold all the power, for it does not matter what the object of desire may be. In fact, when the object is removed or avoided, it’s often replaced with yet another point of attraction. Alcohol is replaced with sex addiction. Cigarettes are replaced with food. Food is replaced with video gaming and drugs; the cycle can be endless. So the source of addiction seems to be a deep and pervasive issue lying within the addict. It’s something that calls forth with a desire to be fed substances or behaviours, at all cost. It’s as though there is an invisible intruder hiding within.
This secret intruder inside the addict will demand what it wants no matter who it harms or what the cost. Though at first there’s great gain from numbing this mysterious prowler, eventually, it will rob its host blind. Entire families will be destroyed, finances will be in ruin, teeth are lost, illness is ignored until everything and everyone is fed to this need. Herein rests the truth about addiction. It’s a complex neurological, psychological and emotional wound within an individual that wants to be soothed and numbed with something outside the self.
While the addict is fighting the inner battle or feeding the invisible wound, everyone exposed to this are then inflicted with a similar wound. Children who try to love an addicted parent are left unloved with their own inner pain. Spouses and partners who are feeding their addiction inflict a wound onto anyone who attempts to pair up with them in any way. Parents are inflicted with a wound when a child is unable to reciprocate love because they are controlled by an inner tormentor. The wounds from addiction are passed on to anyone involved with an active addict, so much so, that pain and suffering become contagious.
So how can the pain be stopped and the inner wounds healed in addicts and non-addicts alike? There is in fact a healing force in opposite but equal power to the pain and suffering that can do this healing. This invisible force of life is that which heals bones when they are broken and flesh when it is cut. It can heal all things if it’s allowed in to do its magic and can heal wounds deeply embedded in the psyche. For addicts, this force of healing can be found in treatment centers, 12 step programs, in churches, and spiritual groups, to name a few. It can be given many names, higher power, life force, essence, God, whatever name resonates, but the force is one and the same. Though the road to recovery can be slow and arduous, it can also occur instantaneously for some. Whatever the path of recovery for any addict, once it has been initiated and effort is put forth, the results are magnanimous. Lives are healed. Families are mended. Success is to be had in every single facet of life. This is where everyday miracles lie.
So what I know for sure is that addiction and all those inflicted by the wounds of addiction by loved ones, can truly be healed. There is a way and I have seen it heal many people over and over again both professionally and personally. It has healed family members, friends, co-workers and it continues to heal those who are ready for a new life. What I know for sure is that when one person heals the effects of addiction through the force of life itself, the whole world gets a little better.
With love and gratitude to those who are recovering or yet to recover,