Addiction

Over the past thirty years I have worked with many people and many forms of addictive patterns and behaviors. Addiction is self-destructive (obvious mostly) but it is fundamentally painful suffering (not so obvious usually). Addictive behaviors are usually planned, meaningful, and non-impulsive. I consider addictions to have a genetic, biological component as well as being heavily influenced by social and environmental factors especially peer groups and rituals. Many people struggling with addictive patterns hold foundational, limiting and sometimes tyranical beliefs about themselves. These highly charged reclusive belief patterns, often organized early in development, live below the level of conscious awareness. So, by definition, these atomic beliefs can operate, with motive force, beyond the reach of conscious awareness. It is at this level that directed therapeutic counselling can have a decisive role. I am an ardent fan of Twelve Step recovery programs. It is my experience that, though these programs may not suit everybody, they do make a powerful contribution, day by day, in the lives of millions of people. Integrating active participation in a recovery program and  counselling can provide a very dynamic and decisive learning and behavioral change platform for those who are curious or feeling stuck.  

Goal is: 

  • appropriate planning
  • action
  • anticipation of harm, danger, hazardous situations

Three Pillars:

  • affect regulation
  • trigger analysis & self-destructive beliefs
  • self-care capacities

Self-Care Capacities:

  • reality-testing (reflective awareness)
  • judgment (anticipation of consequences)
  • control
  • anxiety (as a signal something may be amiss: signal anxiety)
  • ability to draw cause-consequence conclusions and act in own best interest
  • exploration of beliefs about the self through careful study of key, critical and anecdotal life experiences

Good Self-Care Capacities Hedge Against:

  • denial/rejection of danger
  • bravado
  • passive-aggressive behavior
  • counter-phobia (risk-numb; head-long plunge into danger, hazards, self-injurious behavior)
  • pride and overblown self-sufficiency (Bullfrog effect; Icarus effect)
  • destructive self-centerdness (exclusive self focus; very limited, or no, self-other focus)
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