Over time, addicts become isolated.
Their friends and relatives watch and usually try to help. That helping may take the form of strategically placing books around the house for them to notice and read. It may mean reminding them continually (also known as nagging) about what their behavior is doing to them or others. It can even mean taking an attitude of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and picking up a drug of choice yourself just to get by.
An earmark of addicted defensiveness is the attitude of "the best defense is a good offense." Compulsive people are pros at turning the tables and making their behavior someone else's fault. Over time, those same helpers begin to wonder if they truly are to blame. They feel confused and alienated from the one they love.
Ultimately, in an act of self-preservation, loved ones give up on the addict. One at a time, they stop calling or talking or watching as the addict spirals to a bottom he may or may not ever hit. Addicts comfort themselves with thoughts like, “I didn’t need them anyway, I can do it myself.” or “I’ll show them.” As they go for the next fix to feel better right now.
If they haven’t crossed over the line into true addiction yet, they may be able to pull themselves out of it. However, by the time an addict has tried and failed more than twice, it’s pretty safe to assume that if they could’ve quit on their own, they’d have done it by now.
In 12-step rooms, an oft-quoted slogan is "We're only as sick as our secrets."
What secrets are you keeping that are getting in the way of living your dreams? What do you wish someone knew about you but you haven't dared speak of it for fear of judgement, criticism or condemnation?
Journal about it and share here.
Kim Halsey is a human resource professional and executive coach who helps people overcome life damaging habits, restore important relationships, and live their dreams without drama.