Alcoholism and other addictions are significant treatment challenges. The addicted person may think, “How am I going to deal with this pain that’s driving me?” It’s usually not a conscious process. Pain is the driver. As the pain is driving the person, he or she is grappling for a solution. If lucky and living in an enriched environment, an addict has opportunity to treat their dis-ease in life-giving ways. Knowledge is a start. If you have knowledge, you have something to draw on. Some people don’t have a clue how the world works spiritually. They’re groping in the dark.
Not everyone who has a dis-ease turns to an addictive process, substance or behavior. One of my colleagues in the Addiction world, Chana (pronounced “Hana,” like the road to Hana, Hawaii) Carro is a licensed independent Substance Abuse Counselor, with over 24 years’ experience. She calls it “the X factor.” What causes one person to choose a substance or behavior and repeat it over and over again, even when it’s not bringing the desired result? We do know that the pain of being ill-at-ease drives people to try to have some type of relief, whether it’s pleasure, fun or adventure. Addicts will report that they were seeking those things. They were seeking adventure. They were seeking fun. Chana describes, “If you don’t feel sexy, and you’re at the dance and you’re afraid to dance, alcohol can lighten you up. If you feel intimidated and like you’re not so smart and you don’t have a lot of energy, meth can make you feel omnipotent.” Addicts aren’t stupid people who choose a behavior that’s destined to fail from the beginning. They usually stumble on something that works for whatever is causing them distress.
The addict could stumble on any kind of thing besides just drugs and alcohol, because in our complicated world of everything at your fingertips, gambling, sex, video games. There’s a ton of stuff out there. Quite often, people fall into this compulsive behavior because they’re trying to fill a hole in themselves somewhere that needs attention.
Vernon and Louise Taber Barksdale