Treating addiction has become a huge business. Rehabs that actually work translate into customers that don’t need to return and a lot less revenue. Addiction takes many forms, such as:
- Alcohol dependency
- Drug abuse
- Clinging to toxic relationships
- Overeating or compulsive dieting
- Compulsively using electronics
Until healthcare professionals are trained to recognize functional addiction, and our healthcare system adopts an integrative approach that includes vocational rehabilitation, the cost of treatment and insurance will continue to rise.
Technically, there is no cure for addiction, because it leaves one with an eternal vulnerability toward succumbing yet once more. However, it is possible to figure out its triggers, dynamics, and underlying causes, and to develop routines, alternate coping mechanisms, and tools that make using unappealing and unacceptable…. Or not!
At its core, addiction is a spiritual disconnection. It is life destroying, not life affirming. It is self, not community.
Lack of sleep, the rapid pace of communication and change, less exposure to nature, less working with one’s hands, and economic uncertainty can contribute to this disconnection and serve as triggers.
Addiction, the subconscious saboteur
Addiction, “cunning, baffling, and powerful,” stunts emotional and spiritual growth. Sometimes, addicts have not learned how to detect, let alone feel, their feelings, and addiction enables them to avoid uncomfortable feelings. Addiction can also stem from the subconscious desire to self-destruct. And sometimes, addictions develop as an attempt to:
- Soothe symptoms from mental illness, such as depression
- Cope with processing challenges such as attention deficit disorder
- Numb the effects or after effects of trauma
- Deal with the hopelessness of chronic poverty
Pain and denial
Addiction feeds on pain. The addict subconsciously creates pain, so that he or she has a need to feed that pain, soothe that pain, with the addiction.
Addicts live in denial and rationalize their addiction so that they don’t have to let go of it. There is no logic with an addict, and circumstances or others are always at fault.
Author John Bradshaw on compulsivity
Where there is disconnection, there is compulsivity.
- “The common root of every addiction is compulsivity understood as addictiveness.”
- “Addictiveness is the inner emptiness we try to fill up with any mood-altering behavior.”
- “Healing the unresolved grief resulting from abandonment is the way to heal compulsivity.”
Alternate coping mechanisms
There are oodles of alternate coping mechanisms, but habit is everything, and establishing new routines takes time. Most addicts need a lot of support when attempting to switch from “using” to using alternate coping mechanisms, such as meditation, journaling, prayer, exercise, walking, deep breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, seeking out a fellow recovering addict, or attending a support group.
Using healthy coping mechanisms can calm one down enough to identify feelings, which is the first step in learning how to process them. Learning how to feel one’s feelings takes time too. Once an addicts stops using and begins owning their actions, they become open to spiritual healing, self-knowledge, maturity, and grit.
Establishing support systems helps recovering addicts too. The Internet makes it easy to find meet-ups, churches, temples, support groups, and more. And there’s always volunteering. You might not get paid to volunteer, but while volunteering, you don’t have a chance to spend money either!
Seriously, volunteering can enable you to:
- Shift your focus away from yourself
- Help out your community
- Get involved in a cause you are passionate about
- Help you polish skills, such as graphic design, professional writing, event planning, videography, and fund raising