What I learned will blow most of you away. It did me. My last relationship, much to my horror, was with an alcoholic. Did I know it at the time? No! I did not find out about it till we were living together. But I do have to give it to him, he did try to quit. Not the last year though, but prior to that, he tried. The irony, I was trying my best NOT to get involved with an addict because I know I will have to leave them. Cosmic humor...LMFAO! Not!
The thing that tore me up and that I could not wrap my heart or head around was how can someone who loves you (and you KNOW they do) can say and do such mean and hateful things? My ex boyfriend would act like he didn't even say some of the hateful things he did. It was insane! Although this is not easy for me to admit, I am speaking to it to address the shame of being involved with an addict. The courage to put a voice to my experience will hopefully help another. It IS in these instances that not speaking, allows these experiences to continue, because you do feel all alone and feel like you cannot talk to anyone due to the shame and because we all know people naturally judge. No one is immune. The other part of this is that, most of these behaviors I'm talking about, occur behind closed walls...in our homes....away from the doctors, public, experts. Those living behind the closed doors experience this which makes it even more difficult to talk about because the addict often behaves differently in public. It is like living with 2 different people in the same body!
Nevertheless, it wasn't until his death, that I finally understood. I did try asking him while he was alive why he did the things he did and said the things he said, and he could not give me an answer. But I did get the answer after his death. You see, my ex had schizophrenia. He truly did not remember the times of his hateful outbursts. Even though during these episodes. he was walking and talking, it was a different person "in there". Really. No BS. This is hard spiritual truth. There were several events that had happened to me that clarified this as well as things I learned from various people and teachers regarding this subject. Although this schizophrenia realization soothed my heart (it is harsh to hear hateful words from someone who loves you), it blew my mind ('suz the pun).
To me, addiction is what I call self-induced schizophrenia. The addiction serves to disconnect a person from who they truly are. They are not present when engaging in their addiction/behavior (even though they think they are) and they are often angry, depressed or another what is often considered negative emotion. To further this subject, the addiction does not need to be a substance (it is just more easily seen), it can be an emotion. Depression, anger, especially if they are ignored/unresolved, to name the big ones. Anything that serves to help us escape the present (even sex, shopping, food), not that there is anything wrong with getting away from it all at times, but daily? Somebody should be waving the big red flag in front of your face. But that's another subject all together. How many people have the courage to really talk to a friend or tell a friend when they are traveling down the path? I can count only 1 in my life.
The point is WHY and how often are you engaging in the behavior and is it harmful to yourself and/or others? However, the addict cannot often ask this question.
Nevertheless, the more we engage in the behavior that separates us from our true self - the self that is present, and feeling, - the more we widen the gap. And this is the part many of you won't like....other things pop in... No lie! ....Really!.....I'm not joking...... and most often, those things are not nice. As Russell Brand said on his Oprah interview regarding his herion addiction, he knew that "this thing wanted him dead". Anybody who has lived or is living with an addict knows, on a deep level, that there is part of that person that wants them dead....and often succeeds. It is truly a dark force/energy and this is what many, many people do not know. They often think there is no harm in engaging in the destructive behavior and having a little fun. Again, that is a whole other subject.
Now this subject has many, many layers and this is only the tip of the iceberg. But to put this part of the story simply, remember the story of the Good wolf and Bad wolf?
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life... "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
"Which wolf will win?" The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."
Feeding the behavior that serves to only separate yourself from God, yourself or how ever it is your faith has you looking at divinity - this behavior feeds the bad wolf. Behavior that serves to strengthen your well-being, enhance your connection to divinity, God, to keep you truly in touch with who you are, serves to feed the good wolf. Now I know this is very simply put and this issue is anything but simple, but you get the point. The other point is that none of us are immune. We all have the good wolf and bad wolf inside of us.
What can be done? Quite a few things which are too lengthy to discuss here. One underlying theme is that this subject is deeply connected to our spiritual beliefs and development. Additionally, the danger in returning to the addiction and/or destructive behavior is that the relationship has already been set for those who have engaged. The connection has been made. Any engagement, including thought, serves to only strengthen the connection.
The most important thing. Accept ourselves as we are now, including what we think are the good parts and the bad parts and the shame. Ignoring what we don't like doesn't make it go away, it often gives it more power. Knowledge of our bad side, or dark side or the side we wish we didn't have (however you want to view it), gives us power to help know, understand and control ourselves. To know that it is okay to be angry when something we care about is harmed, but it is not wise to take anger out on others (it is our anger, we got angry and it is our responsibility to deal with our anger in a responsible manner). Accept and forgive ourselves as we are, good and not so good. We all make mistakes and that is why we have new days to make a new, to do better and try harder and to forgive ourselves, and others, and for when we thought we could have done better. We all have the good wolf and the bad wolf. Accepting them both but feeding the good, helps us survive.