Addicts are attracted to chaos. Although we crave stability, many of us find it extremely uncomfortable. Despite what we believe to be the case, we find chaos and lack of control normal, because it reflects the conditions in which we grew up: lack of autonomy, capricious decisions and behavior by others, and no stable foundations for our lives.
Who’s running the show?
Whether we came from dysfunctional families where complete chaos was the norm or equally dysfunctional roots where all the reins were held by others, the effects are the same. As kids and in adulthood we continually tried/try to gain control of our lives by controlling others or by acting out. By attempting to control others we unconsciously create the familiar conditions of our childhood in an adult setting. By acting out, we stifle our lack of control beneath drugs, eating, sex, shopping or what have you. In either case — usually, both — we are attempting to control feelings and/or situations that we find uncomfortable or intolerable.
That may seem like a silly question. It’s when you take a drink, or shoot up, or buy something you can’t afford, or patronize a sex worker, or begin doing for your addict (or kid) things that they need to be doing for themselves.
Well, sorta. How about if a drinker starts hanging around the local bar with his or her old drinking buddies, talking the same trash, acting out in all the old ways except taking a drink? What if, instead of cruising, a sex addict hangs out in the mall checking out all the girls walking by–or, instead of that, watches porn for an hour? Continue reading →
“The ‘freedom’ to define our own addictive pattern could not be used in a self-serving way. Our addictions are a reality that persists regardless of any short-sighted, convenient definition. If we were leaving out of our personal definition some behavior that was addictive, it would certainly pull us back into the pattern again.”
Social occasions that involve people in recovery—especially early recovery—can pose some perplexing problems for the hosts. On one hand, a host who is aware of a guest’s need to avoid mood-altering substances may wish to do what is possible to keep from exposing them to temptation. On the other hand, social drinking is a part of everyday American culture. Most social gatherings involve some drinking by some of the guests. A host may be at a loss as to how she ought to deal with guests in recovery — especially those only a short way along on their journey.