The world of addiction is a lonely place in which to abide, and the very nature of addiction dictates that the addict’s life be shrouded in secrecy. An addict often feels a mixture of shame, embarrassment, confusion, and judgment, and he does not know what to do with all of those emotions.
And with a mixture of so many feelings, there is usually an inherent need to protect oneself – beginning with one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Over time, thoughts become fantasies, fantasies become actions, and actions become patterns. An individual who lives his life allowing those patterns to dictate aspects of his life is known as an addict.
By the time an addict finds the strength to ask for help, he is, at the very least, concerned about the patterns that he has developed. And at the very most, he is at the point of openly admitting that he is an addict. No matter his level of self-awareness, though, there will undoubtedly be a long history of secrecy to explore.
Two insidious qualities of addiction that pose significant challenges to holistic living are: dishonesty and isolation. The addiction lies to the addict, the addict lies to himself, the addict lies to others. Keep in mind that under the umbrella of general lies abides: half-truths, deceptions, and lies through omission. Some people make lying an absolute artform. But you should know that if you make it a practice to dance on the border of truth and lies, freedom from addiction will always elude you. And keep in mind that if you choose to live your life as a lie (whether you are lying to yourself and/or others), emotional isolation will always be an issue.
Moreso than with the non-addict, there is a public side of an addict, and a private side of an addict. The private side grows frustrated by having been suppressed for so long in the darkness, and eventually convinces the addict to “act out.” Out of shame, the addict will declare that this side of himself must never be expressed again. So, he engages in the act of suppressing, once again. With everything in his being, he tries to ignore this side of himself. Eventually he acts out again, though, and the cycle continues. All of this occurs in secrecy and in isolation (at least from the world at large).
Finding a safe place to explore one’s issues is an important part of working through addiction.
You have to identify your triggers and learn to address your emotional needs before you get into “addictive mode.” Isolation is like fuel to the flame of addiction. So, if you are struggling with addictive behaviors, it is important to find a space where you can express even the deepest parts of yourself. And when you find that place, be prepared to be forthcoming. Doing this takes time, of course, but you should be cognizant of the fact that being open and honest are absolutely required if you want to come out on the other side of addiction.