Life isn’t easy, is it? In fact, it can be downright difficult at times.
We seem to be on a constant treadmill of working, paying bills and never having enough money - to an abundance of commitments and time constraints.
We also have to deal with, good relationships, bad relationships, stress, depression
and panic – and amongst all that we are trying to find pleasure and value in our lives. This is where a need for immediate results is sought. A quick fix in this environment of “busy” and never-ending responsibilities saves time and allows for recovery before Monday morning comes around again. Or, at least that is the plan!
Firstly, there’ll be something that knocks you off track: You’ll be travelling along the “track of life” until suddenly the wheels come off!
You’ve been constantly rushing around, working against never-ending targets and goals, working to pay your mortgage and juggling family commitments and relationships. Maybe coping with illness and tiredness, trying to find more time, energy and motivation to cope with your day, week, month and year – until you come to the end of your rope and you need a release to continue!
There’ll be a craving for your instrument of release: We all have one!
It could be drinking
, smoking cannabis
or taking harder drugs such as cocaine
. It could also include engaging in activities such as excessive shopping, working long hours, gambling
or engaging in sexual or pornographic activities
that strains relationships. All are pleasurable, all can have negative consequences – whether that’s on your health, your well-being, your finances, your relationships or even your ability to hold down a job, so what drives this urge?
Then there’s what you tell yourself to justify the addiction: These include phrases like -
1. I’m not addicted – I can handle it – it’s not a problem! 2. You don’t know me and what I’ve had to deal with in my life. 3. I control it – it doesn’t control me 4. I deserve a blow- out – I work hard and play hard. 5. It’s nobody’s business but my own, so mind your own business 6. It’s only now and again – nothing major! 7. I’m enjoying myself – everyone else is just being boring (You only live once) 8. It’s not my fault that bad things happen to me – it’s my way of coping with life. 9. Everybody has some sort of addiction – this is mine! 10. You don’t know what you’re talking about This leads to the scene of the crime: - It’s so pleasurable – a total blow- out!
You’re out with your friends- getting drunk, smoking weed, snorting coke – getting “out of it” – behaving in a way that you wouldn’t normally as an employee, parent, adult child, sibling etc. You’re forgetting the “grown-up world” for a short time. The one full of problems, the responsible world that is now long forgotten whilst you reclaim your youth. Whilst you roll back the years where you had no responsibilities, no rent or mortgage to pay, no children to bring up – if only for a short time! And then there’s a very large bump to earth
(Which can include): - 1. A Hangover and ill- health (from prolonged episodes) 2. Trouble with your partner as they were worried or angry and frustrated with you. 3. Return to responsibility which may come all too soon 4. Guilt that you succumbed to the cravings 5. Guilt that you let yourself down 6. Guilt that you let everyone else down 7. Self-annoyance that you invited this judgement from others yourself 8. Feelings of low self – worth Which in turn leads to a need to try harder: -
This need to “make amends” means that you are back to running around like a “headless chicken”. You are (again) working towards the inevitability of mental and physical exhaustion which can only mean one thing – a need to release all that stress and anxiety and a return to the start of the addiction cycle. Or you could be suffering from feelings of depression and lethargy and need something to “get you going again.” The feelings of freedom didn’t last very long, which means that you are already planning and looking forward to the next time.
THIS CYCLE NEEDS TO BE BROKEN! Acknowledgement of how self-destructive this addiction is the first step towards changing things.
Is it an occasional habit or is it a full-blown addiction? The truth is it doesn’t really make a difference as the end result is the same due to the increasing amounts that are required to achieve the same euphoric results. In fact, that same euphoria may never be quite achieved again. The effects are the same on your health and well-being as you are chasing a negative coping mechanism instead of looking for positive ones. The end result of a night of bringing is known, but ignored and minimised, and will be faced (or not) at the time. All that matters is that moment of pleasure. This is where the crucial moment of relapse lies. The knowledge of what will happen is there, but ignored, masked and denied. Instead of “I’m not going to go ahead with this activity as it’s destructive to myself and the people around me will suffer for it” it will be “I am going to go ahead with this activity because all I care about is the pleasure and release that I know it will give me.” The choice has been made – so this is what needs to be worked on to achieve change. Don’t beat yourself up over this: -
Everyone has a story -and everyone has inner struggles at some time or another, that is holding back their happiness and potential. Chances are you can’t tell just by looking at them, just like they may not be able to pick up on how you are feeling about your own life. It is also possible that the thoughts you have about yourself, your achievements and your perception about what people think about you may be distorted. Counselling can help you with this – your counsellor will unpick these incorrect thoughts and help you work through them in a positive way with a view to reducing your negative thoughts. This, in turn, will hopefully alleviate a need to self – medicate with alcohol and drugs and move towards a happier and healthier you. Amanda Wyatt