Having treated various forms of addiction within my coaching programs, I realised that just because someone has quit drugs, alcohol or any other manner of addiction, it doesn’t mean the mindset that drove someone to a particular habit disappears with the abstinence of a substance/focus. It is a common mistake to assume that the mindset that triggered an addiction disappears with the removal of the substance or focus of a particular addictive emotional need.
It can actually intensify once the substance or habit is removed and the effort of will power has to be constantly applied. This can last weeks, months and even years.
Whenever we hear the word addiction, we normally always think of drugs, alcohol or some other substance abuse but addictions can be anything with an emotional attachment. For example someone may feel the need to always be in a relationship, constantly have something wrong with them, constantly need attention. These are used to satisfy emotional addictions and they can be very powerful.
Regardless of the addiction, it starts with a mindset of pain, fear, loss or deficiency and this same thought pattern can continue to exist beyond the separation of a formed habit. This is why it can easily jump onto another addiction. The woman with an eating disorder that continues into
extreme exercise or perhaps a businessman working long hours to create a external perception of success and attention drifting into romantic affairs for yet more attention and excitement.
What are the signs that the addictive behaviour still exists beyond the habit?
Here are some examples:
The drug addict that still blames family, friends or someone else for their habit or how their life has turned out.
Someone that has switched to a recognised destructive addiction into one that is fooling the person into believing they are now pursuing a healthy one. Such as the eating disorder example and extreme exercise.
The alcoholic that blames genetics as a safety net to allow a remission into drink when things get tough.
There are of course hundreds of examples but very few emotional addictions that fuel them. It is a real act of courage to look at ourselves with total honesty, with real self enquiry, which is why as I have previously said the courage of responsibility is the hardest of them all. So many want to keep hold of their judgement, excuses, condemnation yet fail to see all they are doing by looking out with this clouded vision is seeing their own reflection.
Alexandra Chamberlain says
Fantastic article Simon and wholly agree and understand from my own first hand knowledge of addiction with shopping and previously alcohol. Breaking the addiction and replacing it with something healthy in a balanced moderate approach is the way forward as is understanding and accepting your triggers of what may bring on a relapse! An addictive personality will be with you for life, it is just understanding how best to manage it in a balanced way. Xxx
Simon Lee says
Thank you Alex. Your comment is much appreciated. Well done for moving beyond the habits! All the best.
kathleen morphew says
WOW this is a good one, I personally know a lot of people with addictions and it is not Drugs……
Very good blog…..