Madness of addiction

Almost mad ii, photo by Lucretious, Thessaloniki, Greece, insanity Addiction plays tricks with the mind, a form of insanity. People who are in denial about their addiction resent the notion that they are suffering the insanity that goes with the condition. How else can you describe the madness of addiction other than insanity, when you make yourself promises you don’t keep, when you find yourself lying, when your life becomes unmanageable and still you do the same? Is that not a form of insanity? Those of us who make it to the serenity of recovery, reach a stage when we are not ashamed of admitting that to be addicted,and remain that way, is insanity.

as I enjoy my serenity from
nicotine and food addiction
I value my freedom from being
compelled and yet not having enough
which is what the insanity of addiction
meant for me – not enough and yet
not being able to stop
so I attended 12 Step meetings
spoke about my innermost feelings
especially the ones I buried deep because
I didn’t like them for being unaccceptable
had regular visits with my therapist
and explored the madness of addiction
I remembered from the 12 Step program that
I am not responsible for my addiction but
I am responsible for my recovery
so today I carry that message as part of
my personal and professional life

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Relationship with self

elisa_hiding_pose, Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria, self loathingTo have fulfilling relationships with anyone else we need to first develop a loving relationship with self. It’s the foundation for any type of love we have with others. Without the ability to love ourselves we feel emptiness or self hate which leads to needing feelgoods such as food, alcohol and other drugs or addictive processes like work, gambling, love and sex. To develop healthy self love we list our strengths and weaknesses, because that raises our self awareness – education is 50% of achieving the outcome we want. Then we list what we want out of life and what we definitely don’t want. Try it and see.

Yvonne was a pleasant person who
made friends easily but she was
extremely overweight from using
food to medicate her resentments
at times she appeared “sickly sweet”
and so apologetic that it seemed
she was even apologising for breathing
that is codependent behaviour and
can only lead to unhappiness
as she got into recovery from codependency
she developed her relationship with herself
in listing her strengths and weaknesses
as well as her wants and needs in life
her self esteem was strengthened and
in time her relationships with others
became more fulfilling
eventually she lost a lot of weight because
she didn’t need to self medicate with food

elisa_hiding_pose, photo by Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria

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Isolation

Black 5, photo by Ana Labate, Santos Brazil, alone timeIt’s so easy to justify isolation as being time alone. When you prefer to be alone rather than being a part of the community and feel intolerant about everything and everyone then it’s a warning sign that all is not well. To ignore that is to toy with serious consequences. Many people would rather suffer than do whatever it takes to heal. Sometimes all it takes is writing about how we feel until the core anger or fear is released. Other times it may take joining a group to share similar interests or hobbies. Another solution is seeing a doctor or therapist to sound out your innermost thoughts. Perhaps there may be a need for a change in diet, exercise, or taking supplements (vitamins). It could be you need medication or anti-depressants under doctor’s supervision. Or all of the above. Whatever it is, don’t let the dysfunction or ill health ruin your life and that of others. Deal with it and turn your life around to be more joyful and fulfilling.

she’s in her eighties and totally alone
full of complaints about her family
whom she feels has abandoned her
over the years she’s had interesting friends
for short periods of time because
she constantly ‘leaves bodies in her wake’
her dysfunctional behaviour shows as
meanness and blame levelled at all ages
any suggestion for therapy or medication
incurred her wrath
then one day as a result of some
medication for vertigo for 2 weeks
she seemed so sane and serene
then she stopped taking the meds and
life was misery again, for her and others
yet she could not see the difference!

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Addiction and anorexia

Mannequins, photo by Marco Michelini, Firenze, Italy, beauty mythMuch has been written about the effect that thin models and movie celebrities have on young women. In an effort to look like these role models young women develop eating disorders. Addiction and anorexia are the same condition. When a person suffers from anorexia it is on the same eating disorder continuum as compulsive overeating. Just as life threatening as other addictions anorexia results in a distorted perception. The afflicted person does not see themselves as being thin and continues to do without food in order to lose more weight.

she was such a loveable person and
so thoughtful too, not to mention how
talented she was in writing
poetry straight from the heart
however, she battled addiction and anorexia
she managed to become free of the heroin
but not of the need to avoid eating
no matter what she tried it worked only
for a short time and then she was back
to her old ways which eventually led her
to her heroin addiction and death from starvation
some more fortunate are rescued from this fate

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The clown in addiction

Clowns 2, photo by Sasha Davas, Australia, double bindIn life we need fun and laughter to stay healthy. When it is missing then we turn to substances and or processes that lift our spirits. Unfortunately, using such means results in repetitive behaviour which is not fulfilling because eventually whatever we do isn’t enough. The clown in addiction can be a cover up for immense unhappiness and low self esteem. In other circumstances, the clown is a fun performance for the audience to enjoy.

as she spoke to me about the sadness and abuse
she had experienced all her life up till now
she chuckled often at the most traumatic recollections
as a therapist I was obliged to give her feedback on this
pointing out that incongruous behaviour was not unusual
in codependence and addictions
she quickly understood the message about
the clown in addiction
and this insight, although it hurt a little
no pain no gain they say
helped her to be more authentic about
her feelings and therefore closer
to resolving the turmoil inside
serenity at last

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Projection

Hands, photo by Bianca de Blok, Netherlands, self awarenessAs the saying goes – when you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at you. How often is it easier to blame someone else about their behaviour without realising that what is truly annoying us is projection of our own unacceptable behaviour onto them. Projection needs to be considered first when we are upset by someone else’s behaviour, and only then if we are satisfied that we are not being reminded of our own shortcomings, can we give others honest feedback about their’s. In doing so we are role models to others, especially our children.

my mother used to accuse me of lying
at every opportunity and
as a child not only was I so offended
but I went to great lengths to
prove I was being honest
as I grew I realised that
my mother lied so easily
and would get so annoyed with
my need to be honest when
she was trying to spin a tale
so her projection onto me
about her lying tendencies
kept her in denial about
her own behaviour and guilt

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Passive Aggression

miserly witch photo by uc sesselle Adegem, Belgium passive aggressionWe all get angry but different people have different ways of behaving when they get angry. Some shout and others express themselves appropriately without throwing a tantrum. Then again there are those whose response is minimal but deep inside there is turmoil, so they withdraw. Nevertheless their behaviour shows they are unhappy and it is tense around them. That’s what is commonly known as passive aggression and not very helpful in a relationship. It is better for them and others that they at least attempt to express their feelings maturely rather than hold them inside which causes ill health, just as acting out angry behaviour aggressively also does.

for a long time she kept quiet when she was angry
that’s the way it had always been for her but
she had not realised that it was written on her face
all the frustration, the hurt and the pain
brought about by that anger
however it did not help in the long run even though she
had become good at passive aggression
as she practised a healthier way of communicating
she became more loveable and happier
only now and then she slipped back to the old ways
but at least nowadays it was for a shorter time because
she knew that it was so obviously
immature and unhealthy

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Loneliness and despair

lonesome photo by Dawn Allynn Tijerus USA www.dawnallynn.com despair painQuite often we overlook the pain men go through when their relationships go sour. This happens in the same way it does for women. However, women are more likely to share their distress whereas usually men are not so transparent. Some turn to drugs and give up on happiness. Loneliness and despair set in. They? isolate to deal with the loss and hurt. Nevertheless, the majority are survivers and in time they get to stand up and face Life again.

how bewildered he was when his partner left
what had gone wrong? He thought they were happy
was he not listening, should he have noticed more?
why didn’t anyone tell him? Maybe he could have
done something to save their love before it was too late
the alcohol and drugs ease the pain but
he still wakes up to the loneliness and despair
as he realises it’s over his mind plays tricks on him
is it really over? holding on to that empty wish
he reaches for the bottle!

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Befriending negative feelings

gasp as you photo by Kristen Handfield Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada http://sassmuffin.deviantart.com/ http://www.sxc.hu/photo/139431 negative feelings Some people think that we need to rid ourselves of negative feelings when in actual fact that would only result in pushing them down into the pressure cooker of our inner world. This will result in a volcanic eruption when we least expect it. More useful is befriending negative feelings and realising that they are valuable to us when we reframe them for a positive outcome.

negative feelings can be frightening
and she tried to bury them
feelings of anger, self pity, resentment
until someone pointed out that
befriending negative feelings turns them
into fuel for living a full happy life
they call that reframing the negative into a positive!
much better than when she used up all that energy
to bury them and they explode unexpectedly as well!

gasp as you photo by Kristen Handfield Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada http://sassmuffin.deviantart.com/

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