Sanctuary and Serenity

Week 1 – Addictive Personality

Posted on: March 26, 2010


Nearly all people have a desire to feel happy and have peace of mind and soul.
Natural cycle…after happiness leaves us, we feel sad and or a slight sense of mourning.  This cycle is not one we can control.
Addiction is an attempt to try and control this natural cycle; to control and fulfill a desire for happiness.
Addiction is a progressive process; no clear beginning towards some end point.
All addicts engage in a relationship with an object or an event to produce a desired mood change, state of intoxication, or a trance state.

The alcoholic experiences a mood change while drinking at the neighborhood bar.

The food addict experiences a mood change by bingeing or starving.
The addictive gambler experiences a mood change by placing bets on football games and then watching the action on tv.
The shoplifter experiences a mood change when stealing clothing from a department store.
The sex addict experiences a mood change while browsing in a pornographic bookstore.
The addictive spender experiences a mood change by going on a shopping spree.
The workaholic experiences a mood change by staying at work to accomplish another task even though he or she is needed at home.

Types of Highs:
(1) Arousal: Comes from amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, and the first few drinks of alcohol, behaviors of gambling, sexually acting out, spending, and/or stealing.  Causes sensations of intense, raw, unchecked power and gives feelings of being untouchable and all-powerful.  It speaks directly to the drive for power.  Addicts return to the object to get more power and eventually become dependent upon it.

(2) Satiation: comes from heroin, alcohol, marijuana, valium, and behaviors like overeating, watching tv, playing slot machines.  Gives feelings of being full, complete and beyond pain.  Numbs sensations of pain or distress.
(3) Fantasy:  Is part of all addictions…denial believing something that is not.

A state in which the addict feels a sense of detachment, or a state of separation from his/her physical surroundings.  One can live in two worlds simultaneously, one can float between real world and addictive world w/o anyone knowing.  Allows addict to detach from the pain, guilt, and shame they feel, which makes it attractive.  The addict becomes dependent on being in a trance state, which is part of the progression of the addictive process.
The addict uses the trance state as an answer to his/her problems, but in fact causes more problems because it continues to take until there is no more to give.  The addict’s attraction to the trance-like sensations is a natural desire for transcendence to contact and live within spiritual principles.  It is a desire for them to reconnect with the divine.  The sensations of the trance produces feelings that a connection has taken place.  A true spiritual experience gives one increased meaning and the skills to connect with meaning again, with healing and compassion.  After experiencing the addictive trance, people are left with feelings of pain and anxiety, which is what people are trying to escape.  This is partly why addiction is defined as a spiritual illness.  Addiction is an illness in which people believe in and seek spiritual connection through objects and behaviors that can only produce temporary sensations.  If this connection is attempted long enough, feelings of hopelessness, fear and grieving will further alienate the addict from spirituality and humanity.
Extending the Addiction Field.

Core similarities of addiction:

(1) Acting out: takes place when an addict engages in addictive behavior.  By acting out the addict creates different feelings.  The addict creates an illusion of being in control through acting out.  The trance created by acting out is described by addicts as a time in which they feel alive and complete.  This is true in the earlier stages of the addictive process.

(2) Nuturing through avoidance: Addicts keep delaying life issues as a way of nuturing themselves.   Avoiding reality and responsibility by the addictive use of objects is an ineffective way of self-nuturing.  When one is practicing their addiction they are not dealing with their real issues.
Emotional Logic:
Addiction begins as an emotional illusion.  “I want what I want and I want it now.”  Emotional needs feel very urgent and compulsive.  Emotional logic works to satisfy this urgency even if not in a person’s best interest.  The gambler says he is done gambling for the week, but while looking at the racing form, he starts to hear emotional logic say “why didn’t I see this before” “I’d be crazy if I miss this opportunity”.  Addiction involves the need to have emotional needs met and emotional pressures relieved.  Emotional logic pits the addict against him/herself.  Emotional logic is cunning, baffling and powerful.  Addiction is more than a relationship of convenience.  We manipulate objects for our own convenience to make our lives easier and more comfortable.  In normal people there is no emotional bonding.  To addicts these relationships become more and more important until the addictive relationship becomes the most important and the addict feels his needs are getting met through this relationship.  Addiction is a pathological love and trust relationship with an object or event..  To be pathological is to deviate from a healthy or normal condition (abnormal).  All objects have a normal, socially acceptable funciton.  The addict forms a relationship with the object in hopes of getting his needs met.  Addiction is not reaching out.  The healthy way of nuturing ourselves is by reaching out.  The addict withdraws from others, isolating.  When the addict hurts he reaches out for the object instead of a friend or family.  This mood change created by acting out gives the illusion that the need has been met.
How Addicts Treat Themselves and Others:
We normally manipulate objects for our pleasure to make life easier.  Addicts also use this style of relating to objects  in their interactions with people, one dimensional objects, to manipulate as well.  For example, the  sex addict sees people as sexual objects first and people second.  People soon tire of this and distance themselves from the addict.  The addict also treats himself as an object, which creates much stress.

Objects are predictable.  Addicts begin to trust the mood change caused by their addiction to an object because it is predictable.  This is the seductive part of the addiction.  People are not always predictable.
Misplaced priorities.  Practicing addicts always want to be first and demand to come first.  Their wants become all-important.  For the practicing addict, objects come first, people second.  All people want fulfillment and are looking for relationships to give us this.  Addiction is a relationship problem.  It is a destructive but committed relationship.  In the beginning addiction is an attempt to emotionally fulfill oneself, a normal process gone awry.

When Addictive Relationships Are Formed:
1. Retirement … many elderly people form addictive relationships with tv, alcohol,  drugs
2. loss of a loved one
3. loss of status
4. loss of ideals or dreams
5. loss of friendship
6. move to a new community
7. leaving ones family
Seductiveness in Addiction
The addictive relationship is attractive because of the mood change it produces.  It works every time.  Human relationships cannot guarantee the same.  The addictive process is very seductive.  Addiction is a process of buying into false and empty promises; false promise of relief, false promise of emotional security, false sense of fulfillment, false sense of intimacy with the world.

Intensity versus intimacy.
Acting out is a very intense experience because it goes against yourself.  Adolescents good example of intensity versus intimacy “totally in love”  Intimacy is something that is slowly built over time.  Adolescents & addicts have trouble seeing beyond the moment.

Objects and Events that Become Addicting
The addictive potential of an object or event is it’s ability to produce a positive and pleasurable mood change.   The availability of an object also helps determine whether people will choose that form of addiction.  People with addictive type personalities find it easy to switch addictions.  The addict sees the world in a different perspective than normal people.  That is why it is important for them to attend self-help meetings on a regular basis.  Recovery is the continued acceptance of your addiction and the ongoing  monitoring of the addictive personality in whatever form it may take.

~This set of information is sent to us from Jerry, from his group.
Thank you!!

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