One of the most difficult things we face as addicts can be the judgments of others, especially those who don’t have a personal understanding of addictions and all the elements that can contribute to them. When it comes to judging addicts and addictions, there are some myths we can try to dispel. More understanding can translate to all of us having more compassion and more empathy, which will hopefully help more people feel safe enough to reach out for help.
“Addiction is just an excuse for bad behavior.”
Addicts, like all people, can and do sometimes make excuses for their behavior, but addiction as a whole is much more complicated than that. The manifestations of addiction may include making excuses, just as they may include telling lies, but critics who minimize addiction by saying things like “he’s just making excuses,” or “he’s just lying,” are failing to see all of the other, deeper elements of addiction. These can include the shame, remorse and regret that many addicts feel consumed by, sometimes on a constant basis. Addicts can feel as though their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are out of their control. Their actions are often compulsive, and they may struggle day in and day out to stop. Many addicts feel a constant need to quit, and their relapses can be disheartening and painful. Many addicts are suffering from chronic depression and anxiety, and many of them are suicidal.
“If you can’t quit, you haven’t tried hard enough.”
The majority of our thoughts and behaviors are driven by our subconscious minds, which govern 95% of our daily lives. Because the subconscious stores all of our emotional information, people who have been traumatized and who struggle with mental illness or addiction are operating with unseen forces of pain and instability. The limiting beliefs and self-hatred they have stored in their subconscious are constantly working to sabotage their recovery. Addicts may be trying as hard as they consciously can to quit, but they are up against the powerful self-destructive and self-deprecating programming of their subconscious minds, programming they often aren’t conscious of. In other words, when addicts try to quit, the vast majority of their inner voice’s monologue may be comprised of thoughts like “You can’t quit. You’ll never stay sober. You’re a horrible person. I’m so ashamed, and this hurts so much- don’t you want to drink to take away some of the pain? Just one more time…”
Recovery requires not only trying to abstain from the drug of choice, but also working to heal the wounds of the subconscious mind in order to choose more self-loving, healing thoughts and behaviors. This can be very difficult and can take people years to do, especially when they are suffering from trauma, co-existing addictions and other mental health issues.
The community at Enlightened Solutions has personal experience with addiction. We understand just how hard it can be to feel judged. Call (833) 801-LIVE for support.