New Perspective on Addiction

Addiction is not the problem...disconnection is the problem, connection is the solution.

The real problem

Fundamentally, I view our struggles not as mental disorders but rather as relational wounds. For many of us, these wounds didn't occur in our adult life but rather in our early childhood. But understanding our childhood can be very difficult. I liken it to walking into a movie halfway in and trying to understand what all you missed. For so many, there were no distinct memories of abuse, trauma, or chaos in the family. If you relate to this, then you are not alone in trying to understand what happened. In fact, it can be very shaming in the sense that you don't have any specific thing / event to tie your addiction / struggle too. For others, there was overt abuse, and that brings its own set of challenges and pain. Regardless, part of counseling is to make sense of your story so that you can understand your life story accurately. The goal is to name not blame. It is too look graciously at oneself and your past. 

It is relationship that heals us. It is learning a new set of language, tools, and approach to doing relationship that allows us to enter into healing. The goal is to never "try" harder. Rather, it is more letting go and than anything. That is a great paradox in recovery.  

Addiction...part of the story but not the whole story

What if we could live in a community where there was no judgment? What if we could be surrounded by people that would not label us as such and such? What if we could walk into a room of 50 people that knew every detail of our story and accept us just as we are in that moment?  There is a place for naming our struggles because it helps us name the problem.
We have to remember though that these names don't define us. These names are not our essence. I love a quote by Brennan Manning which says, "I'm Brennan. I'm an alcoholic. How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the story of my life. But it is not the whole story."

We are more than a label because a label doesn't do justice to our story and our humanness. I have been refreshed by the approach used in Emotionally Focused Therapy that we see people in a non-pathologizing way. This means that we first see the person not the problem or diagnosis. Otherwise, the relationship could end up not being safe. Certainly, there is a place to talk about the struggles and all that comes with it. It is important to name the problem but it doesn't have to end there. The main thing is that we can't lose sight of who we are and whose we are.

I believe this is a general truth in life. It is connection over correction.