What is addiction? Addiction is defined in the Cambridge English dictionary, as an inability to stop doing or using something that is harmful. Addiction can take on many forms and come in many disguises. In today’s world there are ampul things to be addicted to from food to sex, substances, television, Netflix, and social media distraction addiction. The list goes on, but really, what is in the root of addiction? Why do people resort to a compulsive behavior and use and abuse to the detriment of themselves, despite their potential awareness of its consequences and affects?
I ‘ve learned a lot about addiction, mainly due to my own personal experience of it. In my experience, I’ve never met an addict who hasn’t suffered and endured an abusive, traumatic childhood. Knowing this, I ‘ve come to conclude, based on my personal experience, that addiction is rooted in trauma and abuse, be it emotional, physical, sexual or mental. Where there is toxic family dysfunction there is also trauma. It therefore, makes sense to me that adults who have suffered some form of childhood abuse find it normal to live in extreme fear, sadness, hopelessness, shame and guilt since these were the emotions cultivated during childhood. This is all they knew, and growing up we reenact our family dynamic, hence, reliving our childhood trauma over and over again. The pain of this is unbearable, which is why we resort to numbing tactics. Here in this pain is where unhealthy habits become compulsive habits and where compulsivity becomes something out of our control. Here, is where addiction takes root.
Until the trauma is healed, there can be no change. Change however, is absolutely possible. For those who feel totally lost and hopeless, there is hope. This is certain. There are many ways trauma can be dealt with often in the form of EMDR therapy along with working a 12 step program. The combination of both recovery treatments have shown massive transformation and have had affects of long term sobriety for many.
For those of us who know addiction, also know that the opposite of addiction is connection. Coming home to ourselves and re connecting to our true nature is just one of the promises recovery offers. This can never be done alone though, and that is where connection with others is paramount if we should desire to get well. Isolation is the opposite of connection and therefore the enemy of addiction.
Healing is possible and there is hope for everyone, providing that they seek it. There is a saying that I’ve always loved and it goes something like this: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”