Well, before I reveal the answer to that question let’s review what I like to call the addiction equation. Family dysfunctions causing emotional pain + low level of self-esteem and emotional coping skills + learned addictive behavior from surroundings, friends, and/ or family = ADDICTION! Take note, that the emotional pain caused by family dysfunctions such as abuse, control, part-time parenting, and rejection is the root cause or catalyst. However, if one is subjected to those patterns, it is not a forgone conclusion that they will develop an addiction. Certainly, there are some people who experience physical, verbal, sexual abuse, and many other dysfunctional patterns that manage to lead perfectly, healthy, happy lives which are free of addiction. And, I would also venture to say that many of those same people have been subjected to examples of addictive behavior by their friends and/or family as well! So, why do these individuals opt “to just say no?” The answer is a high level of self-esteem and coping skills. If you can deal effectively with dysfunctional behavior by speaking your will and liberating yourself from it, then there really isn’t a need to numb emotional pain that doesn’t exist!
Now, at this point in the juncture, you’re probably wondering how you can increase your level of coping skills, so let’s break it down. First, we need to define the word cope. Cope; to deal successfully with a difficult problem or situation. Therefore, increasing your coping skills translates into improving your ability to deal with a difficult problem. But, what exactly does it mean to deal with a problem successfully? As a hypothetical example, let’s say that you have suffered from a verbally abusive parent. To deal with that particular situation successfully, would you just ignore their comments and try to brush them aside (avoid confrontation,) or would you put a stop to the abuse by speaking your will and saying “I’m not going to take it anymore,” in a calm confident manner of course. If it’s the former, that’s not going to get the job done because you are still, in essence, undermining your self-respect by allowing such behavior – whether you ignore it or not. Remember, addiction recovery requires empowerment. Therefore, the later is the appropriate response. When faced with the above types of dysfunctional situation most people experience a separation of the mind and heart. In other words, when the heart dominates we live with the illusion that it’s our family and it’s ok for them to subject us to abuse and mistreatment. When the mind dominates, we make emotion our enemy, and we become consumed with the fear of internal and emotional growth which results in low self-esteem and self-blame. This can result in and endless cycle of mentally wanting to change but fearing it emotionally. Hence, the addiction trap begins! Therefore, if you want to free yourself from addiction your going to have to liberate yourself from dysfunctional behavior and empower yourself to grow spiritually and emotionally.
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