Two days into the New Year at work and it seems the weight of the place has gotten heavier. Already we had to give notice to one of our clients that was ignoring our rules and basically a whirling dervish in stirring up chaos. The biggest challenge of working with addicts is that they tend to have the emotional maturity of the age when they began to use drugs or alcohol. Arrested development happens because the substance abuse discontinues the mental and emotional growth. The outcome is highly skilled manipulators, which most addicts are, who act the like teenagers at best. Rule violation is what teenagers do as part of the individualization. That doesn’t work in a treatment program where rules provide the necessary structure to make people feel safe.
This may be much more then you want to know about my work but there is some insight that can be gained from those who struggle with addiction. Who of us isn’t struggling with leaving old limiting or destructive habits behind? Addiction comes also in the form of smoking, medications, sugar, eating, shopping, exercise, cleaning, seeking control, and people pleasing. Anything we do because of habit or compulsively in order to feel ok is an addiction.
Yes I did list people pleasing because many people bend over backwards for the approval of others often because they don’t feel ok about themselves. Approval seekers are often in denial of this need but with even a little closer look they see their compulsive desire to be ok in the eyes of others. Many people spend their lives seeking the approval of their parents. Good luck on that one if they come from critical, abusive or controlling families.
Like the addict we too sometimes struggle with being direct or honest with our communications. We may have found in our lives that manipulating others has worked better than asking for what we want. Also the need for control over others may be something we attempt to do to settle down the chaos of our own mind.
My invitation to you is to become aware of where you act compulsively, where habit drives you to do things just to feel ok. The goal of just feeling ok may be settling for much less than you desire or deserve. When you see something about yourself you need to change, make a plan and see how well you succeed. If bringing about the change you desire is not working, seek out supportive friends or support groups. If you still feel stuck your best bet is to engage in coaching or counseling where professionals can teach you ways to get past whatever barriers are in your way.
The most important thing is to first be aware or conscious of how you get in your own way. Once you are aware you can explore other choices.
I offer coaching service by email and phone. If I can help get you headed in the right way contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Please join me in protesting the War in Afghanistan. We have the right president in office now to bring about real changes but we have to speak up and let what we want be known or it will never happen.
Letter #14 to our President
Dear President Obama,
We all recognize that for the world to change we need to let our voices be heard. Your election was the first step in us speaking up and we all celebrated together. That night of your election will long be remembered as historic.
After one year, you are off to a positive start despite great odds in favor or keeping things just as they are. The forces for the status quo are huge. Yet we the people are very unsettled because the majority of us are not the major beneficiaries of the way things are now. So the call is to speak up, to advocate for real change not just symbolic.
The change many of us want to bring about is to end the tired solution of war. Building a bigger war in Afghanistan is the old way, the way of the big stick, the way of the ego’s need for control and power. Please change course now.
Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.
You can send President Obama an email at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact