In this episode of “Beyond Addiction” we look at where addiction takes root.
“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 pilot episode, "The Genesis of Addiction", Kat and Barnett from Gulf Breeze Recovery, a non-12 step holistic drug and alcohol rehab in Florida, talk about the components necessary for addiction to "blossom" by using the metaphor of a simple plant.
Everything above the soil represents the observable behaviors that accompany addiction—the things you can see on the surface. When a plant grows, you will probably start to see things above the surface like a stem and leaves. When an addiction grows, you will likely start to see things above the surface like increased using, lying, manipulation and a diminished ability to handle responsibilities. The roots represent various factors that can cause internal unrest and precede addiction. Just like roots are growing under the surface before we ever see a plant, factors like trauma, anxiety, insecurity and depression are growing under the surface before the addiction itself sees the light of day. 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. No matter how the addiction manifests or what the preceding elements may be, this misunderstanding is what allows the addiction to really grow.
It's a simple analogy used to look at an extremely complicated issue in a simple way.
The first thing we learn from Barnett and Kat: the addicted individual is not broken or bad.
As Barnett points out:
"...addiction is usually nothing more than an innocent attempt to feel better, or even normal...."
If we step back, we can see that an addicted individual is not setting out to hurt themselves and their loved ones. They are simply trying to feel okay. But, with their innocent misunderstanding, they are looking in the wrong place. When we are convinced that we must look outside for what is only available within us, we set the stage for addiction.
In this episode:
"The Genesis of Addiction"
Barnett and Kat point out the outside-in nature of our cultural programming, that something outside of ourselves can affect our internal wellbeing.
This is where the soil is fertile for addiction—the innocent misunderstanding of where our happiness comes from.