People with addictions, no matter what they’re addicted to, usually lead a very sad, solitary life. They’re intimate with their addiction, rather than with their friends and family.
I know that I usually have beautiful pictures of nature to go with my blog entries, but addiction is not pretty, and it isn’t peaceful. There’s a profound sadness surrounding men and women whose lives eventually become centered on maintaining their addictions. If the addiction continues long enough, only their compulsive behavior is left to keep them company.
I have read a lot of books on addictions through the years, but this is one of the best. It’s written by Craig Nakken. The full title is The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior. I recommend this book all the time to my counseling clients who are either dealing with their own addictions, or with the addictions of loved ones. It explains the developmental process of addiction, and how the addictive part of the personality becomes stronger and more demanding over time. Correspondingly, the sober part becomes smaller and weaker, less able to stop the destruction that ultimately wrecks everything in its path.
I’d like to share a quote from this book. The author states: “We must first understand what all addictions and addictive processes have in common: the out-of-control and aimless searching for wholeness, happiness, and peace through a relationship with an object or event. No matter what the addiction is, every addict engages in a relationship with an object or an event in order to produce a desired mood change, state of intoxication, or trance state.” Addictions come in many forms, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, spending, food, gambling, work, shoplifting, and danger-seeking. It’s the compulsive nature of the activity, more than the activity itself.
If you are traveling the path of addiction, or if a loved one is, please consider reading this book. It’s a very small, easy to read book, but it is an amazingly insightful glimpse into the reality of addiction. I guarantee that you will come away with a much better understanding of the dynamics of this sad way of life. A book alone isn’t enough, but it’s a start. I want to say to anyone struggling — there’s help available. Reach out for it! Don’t try to travel this path alone. Call a therapist. Go to AA, Al-anon, or another appropriate 12 step program. Find some support. You’re worth it!!
Until next time,