The stories are many, varied and happen every day:
- A glass of wine has turned into drinking a bottle to take the edge off her day
- Picking up her kids from school, nobody suspects she is high on pain killers
- Using porn compulsively is making him feel isolated and afraid of being discovered
- Facing financial ruin, he is on another shopping spree
- You find marijuana and pills in your teenager’s dresser drawer
Do any of these stories sound familiar? Do you know someone who fits these example? Is your family at a crossroads because you and/or a loved one is no longer a priority as the addiction is running the show?
The feeling of loneliness, isolation and fear you may feel as your happiness and sense of direction in life is being compromised by your own, or a loved ones, consumption or compulsive behavior can be overwhelming.
Substances, legal or illegal, can be addictive, but also behaviors, such as porn, gambling, internet surfing, eating, shopping, work, and even exercise can become problematic, as can any kind of consumption or behavior that has negative consequences in your life. The cycle of addiction is characterized by desire or cravings, which leads to compulsive actions to satisfy the desire. This will persist even in the face of serious and often devastating consequences.
Sex addiction has become popularized as a diagnosis, but we feel that there are many issues connected with labeling sex as an addiction. We have clients who feel that their sexual behaviors are problematic, and/or their behavior has a compulsive component that is interfering with their lives. However, much like food it not the issue in eating disorders, sex is not the issue when clients find their sexual behaviors problematic. The underlying issues include stress, anxiety, relational problems, power dynamics, depression and shame, to mention a few.
You or your family member can get temporary relief by using, but you can’t get lasting satisfaction, or feel deep, meaningful connections with self and others. It is a downward spiral where the longer you, your partner or your child put off addressing the core issues, the more pain, and the more compulsion to use. You seek meaning and intimacy the best way you know how, but just keep feeling empty and alone, while the negative consequences keep growing.
Confronting addiction in yourself or a family member can feel overwhelming, and feelings of guilt, shame and anger are common. We have deep expertise helping clients with these issues, and engage you and your family in the treatment process. As appropriate we also work with treatment centers and consult with other specialists as needed.
We will support you and your family as you face underlying feelings, modify attitudes and behaviors related to addiction, and increase healthy habits and skills. You and your family can work through this difficult time and complex issues with caring and competent support.
Questions for Thought
Below are a few questions that are intended to help you consider your personal situation more closely. If you are ready to improve and live your life to the fullest, we encourage you to contact us to discuss how we can best help.
- How often are illegal drugs used in your house?
- Have you or a family member ever driven a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
- Does your family know about your drug use?
- Has drug use interfered with the ability to work?
- Has drug use in your family led to financial problems?
- Have you ever had to go the hospital because of drug or alcohol use?
- Do you suspect someone in your family is using drugs secretly?