Recognize addiction by its definition
The most generally accepted definition of addiction in the treatment and medical community is “continued use in spite of negative consequences.” The reason this designation has been given is to point out the leading indicator of those suffering with the addictive behaviors and compulsive disorders; and that is denial. It is my intention in this article to point out negative consequences of the different types of addictive behaviors and compulsive disorders. In doing so, this gives us the opportunity to examine our own actions, as well as heighten our awareness of those around us.
There are certainly different levels of addictions; we have used the term in this column “soft addictions” and “hard addictions.” The consequences for the hard addictions have wide-sweeping impacts. The families, employers, co-workers, and many times innocent bystanders get caught in the dragnet of hard addictions. Try finding somebody who hasn’t been in some way affected by addiction, then let me know when you find one.
Soft addictions, however, the consequences are mainly directed at the person in question. Typically, the soft-addictions person appears to have life pretty much all together. This person may simply being addicted to being lazy. They will sit around every chance they get, doing very little physical exercise, if any. Their body over time begins to suffer the negative fallout and breaks down earlier than it should. Sloth is a very common form of dependence that typically goes untreated.
With the computer age well in hand, obsessive and compulsive use of the internet and our wireless devices has taken over the lives of many. I have already written a blog on this called “Beyond the Big Five.” The typical results from seeking the brain reward chemicals from our electronics is that we become very removed from social interaction. The instant gratification we receive temporarily relieves the need for companionship. Like all addictions, however, our tolerance grows and we seek more and more gratification from the virtual reality we have created.
Food addiction is a very complicated subject, and even more complicated to evaluate. There are those for whom food takes on the form of a hard addiction. For some, it is clear that the negative consequences of obesity signals the need for treatment; however, many of us can have less damaging addictive traits surrounding our food. I have noticed in my life that when I overindulge in sugars, that my mental and spiritual connection are diminished. This is clearly a negative consequence in my life, yet some days I will still partake in this behavior. Although the softer food addiction still has many adverse effects on our lives, they are nonetheless obstacles to experiencing joy in its fullest form.
The sex addict who fathers eight children with eight different women, all the while being married to the same person over the entire time, is suffering the consequences of addiction and at the same time causing a giant ripple of destruction in the lives of all the people involved. The “hot” school teacher who knows full well that having any relationship with a student, let alone a sexual one, and proceeds to do so without regard for “what is true,” will experience the wrath of negative consequences sooner or later. We have seen this countless times, so much so that we don’t even seem to be upset by it anymore, unless of course the teacher isn’t “hot” or a female.
The “lighter” side of sex addiction is pornography. This, very much like the internet addiction, is a compulsion of solitude. The effect this has on a person can be seen in their outward body, as well as their social interaction. Any meaningful relationship becomes compromised at some point. Trust boundaries are trampled on and self-esteem issues abound for those involved with the porn addict. Without treatment, this person ends up leading a very lonely life.
As with all addictions and compulsive disorders, denial is the obstacle to recovery. In many cases, not only is the addict in denial, but the family members will be as well. Our society has one major addiction that most of us indulge in, that is the reliance upon a belief that we don’t need help from anyone. “We can do it ourselves” we say, without having the first clue where to turn.
The definition of denial is the refusal to accept what is true. Truth as we all know comes in many flavors. The truth we are talking about here is what is observably true. It is fairly safe to say that given the information in today’s society, if a person gets caught driving while intoxicated one time. they made a huge mistake and showed terrible judgment. If that same person then repeats that behavior and has a second offense, they have crossed the line into addiction. The non-addicted person who gets a DUI never makes that mistake again.
“The truth will set you free” it is said, and recovery from all types of addiction require it. We must tell truth about our self to our self We then should tell the truth to our self about someone else. Once we get to this point, we will then be willing to tell the truth about our self to another. When we get to a higher place of evolution, we will begin to tell the truth about another to that other, and this is service to humanity. At this point, we begin to tell the truth to everyone about everything. This is how the world evolves. This is how we create peace on earth and goodwill towards men.
(Kevin McCormack is a Conversations with God Life Coach, a Spiritual helper on www.changingchange.net, and an Addictions recovery advisor. You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@theglobalconversation.com)