In this episode of “Beyond Addiction”, we explore the "Observable Behaviors" and the ways in which they manifest into using drugs and alcohol, scheming and manipulating, and finding ways to get more.
“Beyond Addiction” is a podcast dedicated to sharing an innovative perspective on addiction and recovery. In this series, we discuss an innovative, “inside out” approach to recovery.
In the third episode, "The Observable Behavior of Addiction", Kat and Barnett from Gulf Breeze Recovery, a non-12 step holistic drug and alcohol rehab in Florida, continue their discussion about addiction, moving from a conversation about the progression that addiction takes, using the metaphor of a plant, underneath the soil in the form of internal unrest. The internal unrest makes the soil fertile for the roots of addiction that comprise primarily of insecurity, trauma, depression, and anxiety. Now Barnett and Kat talk about the ways in which observable behaviors spring for and grow into the things that people begin to notice about the actions of the addicted individual. Actions that comprise of the using itself, whether it be drugs or alcohol or, in many cases, a combination of both. In this way, individuals who began drinking or taking prescribed narcotics end up trying heroin, and even fentanyl, or people who started smoking marijuana end up in a state of alcoholism. Concurrent with using are scheming and manipulating to hide the growth in substance use, needing to find new ways to get more result in financial problems, absenteeism at work and at home, and more.
Once the components of internal unrest are in place the observable behavior begins to be seen.
The fertile soil of addiction represents an “outside in” misunderstanding that makes a person particularly susceptible to addiction. This misunderstanding happens when we attribute our feelings and our experience of life to people, places, things and situations outside of ourselves. The individual susceptible to becoming addicted usually encounters a substance in an innocent attempt to simply feel better and when it works the cycle begins with finding more to relieve more negative feelings. This then results in the observable behavior that is common before people realize it's even taking place, the persons behavior has changed and then even more negative consequences occur and so on.
"A person who is addicted needs shame like a person dying of thirst needs saltwater."
We use the simple plant analogy to simplify the complicated issue of addiction.
When an individual suspects he is acting out of character or perhaps an individual is confronted by a friend, employer, or a loved one he begins to initiate defensive mechanisms in order to rationalize or deflect interference. This mechanism may be more on the sub conscious level. This is especially true at the stage where the negative feelings associated with the substance use, such as shame, are even stronger than the original feelings that initiated the internal unrest to begin with.
So the cycle of using becomes even stronger under the influence of feelings that are subversive to peace and serenity such as those associated with shame, until the drug seems like the only solution to escaping the negative feelings that is left.
In addition, this predisposes the individual to a cycle of self condemnation which makes the problem even worse.
Often, for people in addiction and their close associates and family members, this behavior observed on a regular basis becomes overlooked. As Barnett says: "The abnormal becomes normal." This "overlooking" adds a layer of denial which is "an addiction trap." and feeds the egoistic sense of separation that an individual feels from any future solution.
This "ego" self creates a victim identity which serves as a self protection mechanism against the actual solution to the individuals problem and from his sense of well being and innate health and personal resilience.
It's important to understand that this is an innocent process, and not a reflection of who the individual really is. We are not the sum of what we have done or what has been done to us. The good news is, once this is realized as a misunderstanding, our process of insight can begin to take the blinders placed by the ego off of the individual who then begins to see clearly again from a place of reality. We can clearly see why treating the behaviors rarely have any lasting effect on the individual who is in addiction. Addiction does not originate at the level of the using and associated behaviors and ceasing these behaviors is not the solution. The solution exists within the internal source of peace, power, and personal authority. That's why one of the guests at Gulf Breeze recovery calls us "Gulf Breeze Re-Discovery." We rediscover the location of our eternal "Yes" to life, and it's within each of our guests. This is especially true when they find out what happiness really is, not the obtainment of material things and the ability to sustain pleasurable circumstances, but from the abundance of peace and serenity that is obtained from within.
In this episode:
"The Observable Behavior of Addiction"
Barnett and Kat discuss the observable behaviors of addiction that grow out of the fertile soil that must be present for the roots of addiction to take hold. The fertile soil represents the internal unrest manifest in insecurity, depression, trauma, anxiety, and boredom and the belief that something outside of ourselves can be responsible for feelings of happiness and peace, and for the feeling of completion and validation within ourselves.
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