The Connection Lost with Addiction
By Z Zoccolante
As humans, we are designed for connection. We seek it out. Alone and isolated we usually don’t do well. If we can’t find connection in relationships with other humans we seek it elsewhere – pets, inanimate objects to fill our homes. And always addictions.
Our favorite addictions don’t magically appear in a vacuum. There are reasons the addictions exists. Usually, there’s pain or some uncomfortable emotion that we’re trying to cover, hide, or pretend isn’t there.
But the underlying factor is that we want connection with something and we’ll use what is available.
Enter addiction of any kind. No one’s little kid dream is to ruin their lives and hurt other people with an addiction. Yet it happens every day. It’s not because we’re stupid and set out to destroy. Instead, the addiction served a purpose, at first.
But the longer we numb out or shut down with this addiction it begins to show its ugly side. By then we’re hooked. We’ve found our connection with this drug, alcohol, sex, love, or food. We choose the one that makes the most sense to our lives or circumstances, and then it sucks us into its tornado.
Often we can romanticize the addiction and tell our own personal “battle stories” of the times such and such happened, and how fun was it when dah dah dah. But if we fast-forward the tape it’s not so fun in the next frames when we’re hurting ourselves and those who love us.
Addictions seedy underbelly is that it forces us to become its slave and when we’re a slave to anything we are not free. Addiction causes us to disconnect from people around us and from ourselves.
I can remember having conversations that felt as though I were running in every single lane on the track. I’d be having a conversation in the living room while other me’s were in the refrigerator, sorting through the cabinets, throwing up in the bathroom upstairs, in my car driving to the grocery store for more binge foods, etc. etc.
All these me’s running all these laps was exhausting. The worst part was that I was disconnected from the person right in front of me cause I was so caught up with my own crap and all the things swirling in my head.
Addiction also disconnects us from ourselves. We lose our ability to be able to feel and sit with our emotions. We don’t hang out in our bodies. We spent all our time in our heads or numbing out.
As humans, we’re designed for connection – healthy, loving, kind. We are designed to share laughter and life experience and to be present for it all with each other. Addiction robs us of the experience of life, of being present for our own lives and with those who love us.
Here’s one thing that you can do. Figure out what you are seeking when the urge to numb out arises. Do you need to be heard? Do you need love, support, safety, connection, acceptance? What is it you need?
Then see if you can find some safe way to begin to meet those needs for yourself in small ways.
We are the only person who is with ourselves all the time so become your best friend, not someone you hate.
Seek out support in forms of groups, sponsors, therapy, treatment programs.
Love yourself fiercely. And even if you don’t believe in God, pray – it opens up space to be able to create something different.
Focus on the feeling you want to have – relief. Start there and eventually move to the end goal – freedom, joy, happiness.
With Love and Aloha,