Do you struggle with addiction?
You may not think of it as an addiction - perhaps it's just the thing that gets you through the day, or helps you unwind at night. But if whatever that 'it' is forms a central part of your life; if you couldn't imagine going a week or even a day without it; if you use it to numb uncomfortable feelings, or as a prop to make life bearable, then it probably is an addiction.
And the list of things you can be addicted to is endless: alcohol, nicotine, recreational drugs like cocaine or ecstasy, harder drugs like heroin or crack, food (especially sugar), caffeine, crap TV, pornography, work, gambling, sex, exercise, love, toxic relationships, shopping, the internet, digital media like Facebook and emails, video games...
Having helped people who were struggling with a variety of addictions, it seems to me that there are two components to any addiction:
- Your substance or activity of choice.
- The hole inside you that can never be filled, now matter how much you pour into it.
So whether you're addicted to shopping or sex, whisky or work, in a way the thing you choose to make you feel better is irrelevant. What you need to address is that hole inside, the one that yearns for love, affection, deep connection with others, pride and respect, meaning, hope, safety.
Getting over an addiction is tough - it takes courage and determination, plus a great deal of love and support. But I truly believe it can be done, once you're ready. A good place to start is with the excellent Overcoming Addiction: Positive Steps for Breaking Free of Addiction and Building Self-Esteem, by Corinne Sweet. She explains why addictions are fuelled by 'frozen needs' from childhood, which we desperately attempt to satisfy in all the wrong ways as adults. And why learning to get our true needs met is vital to overcome any addiction.