I believe a common denominator underlying addiction is either the loss of or lack of ever establishing good physiological self-regulation. This impairment sets the stage for addiction vulnerability, makes treatment difficult and once abstinence is established, leaves the addict vulnerable to relapse.
I will break my lifelong pattern of secrecy and silence. I will blow the whistle on denial.
The denial network in many individuals and families is intricate and far-reaching. People in their desperation to put forth the best possible face to the outside world often will covertly cover up painful realities. These realities can include addiction, sexual problems, lack of true intimacy and, in some cases, out and out contempt for one another.
After his second day in the intravenous treatment program, Jerry was surprised and delighted by his progress: “I have been through detox four other times, and I feel as clear now as I ever did after 30 days! My mind is quiet, I can think clearly and I am not craving a drink or a toke.” Partway through the program, to augment the IV, we gave him oral supplements, which he has continued.
When you’re all alone in the dark you can either close your eyes and go to sleep or look for the light.
I entered the department store and tried my best to look like a real shopper. Something told me they were watching me. Maybe it was just my drug-induced paranoia, I told myself, half-convincingly. I picked up a pair of slacks, folding them neatly over my arm.
When I tell people what I do for a living – therapy with substance-abusing individuals and their families – people often have two reactions: First, they get uncomfortable and self-conscious and might say something like, “Oh boy, I’d better watch myself!” And you can almost see the whirling time travel in their minds, searching for what I may have noticed about them, counting the drinks they might've had in front of me. I used to find it kind of funny and I'd joke about changing my profession for the sake of dinner party conversation just to make people less nervous. But over time, I realized just how much this reaction is about the true shame, embarrassment and stigma our society has about addiction.