When you are emotionally overwhelmed and do not know how to manage those feelings, addictive behavior can be the result. Those of us with addictive tendencies are lacking healthy ways to deal with life’s many stressors. Most of the time the deeper meaning of our substance addiction is that we are simply trying to survive and immediate escape, relief, and pleasure are always necessary. The “numbed-out” state that follows helps us manage in the short run, but destroys all our long-term goals and our quality of life. Furthermore, the pattern of destructive behaviors that follows can destroy our family bonds, friendships, and careers, setting a pattern in motion toward life’s “bottom,” where behaviors we thought we’d never engage become fair game, e.g., other addictions and criminal behavior.
Unfortunately, we do not truly register the devastating effects of our destructive behavior on our loved ones; nor do we register the shame we are always seeking to avoid. This combination only brings about more shame. Everyone, including the addicted individual, is suffering. Feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment can cause deep anxiety as well as depression, and we can even become physically ill as a result. Addiction takes a heavy mental, physical, and spiritual toll on everyone involved.
Having an addiction certainly does not define your morality or strength of character. In fact, some studies argue that addiction is not a choice, but rather a hereditary condition with neurological components, and should be treated as such. A Step Forward’s caring team of experts and paraprofessionals can help you discover the ability you already have to overcome your addiction, and live a clean and sober lifestyle with a joy and capacity that far surpasses the “quick fix” brought on by substances.
Working with one of our therapists will help you:
• Learn how to eliminate reckless and extreme emotional behaviors
• Develop resilience to handle life’s ups and downs
• Overcome shame
• Discover your ability to stay present in the face of stress
• Discover your interest in building community
• Move away from isolation
• Build a strong support team with facilitators and peers
• Develop new communication skills and enhance self-esteem
• Identify your triggers
• Discover your ability to manage high risk situations
• Where indicated, participate in supportive family counseling
• Where indicated, receive evaluation of co-existing conditions such as anxiety, depression, and other addictions
• Identify your natural striving and ability to create a successful life