Substance abuse greatly impacts those afflicted with the disease. People’s belief systems are dictated by self-judgment. Self-recrimination is familiar to many. Remorse, shame and guilt are dominating forces that drive people to drink/drug etc. to avoid facing these feelings. My practice is filled with clients who utilize substances and/or develop eating disorders/sex addiction, shopping addiction, gambling addiction, gaming addiction, work holism, etc. It serves to ward off experiencing those uncomfortable emotions toward the self. However, eventually the compulsive behavior backfires and becomes the driving force of survival, feeding the negative feelings even more.
Recently, one of my clients casually mentioned that his physician told him he needed to stop drinking. His response to me was that he could not stop his daily intake of alcohol. He was perplexed by his inability to stop. He was a prominent attorney, well respected among his peers. He was a family man, loved by his wife and children. This was a man who appeared “normal”. He was able to control every facet in his life. He led an active social life, had many friends. He traveled the world doing speaking engagements. From an outsider looking at him, he had the perfect life: Reputation, financial success and outgoing personality. Yet here he was baffled that he could not stop drinking. Originally he had started seeing me for therapy for clinical depression stemming from unresolved childhood issues. His parents had divorced when he was a child and his father was an alcoholic. By the time my client was in his mid twenties, his father died of cirrhosis of the liver. My client was following a similar path to the man he vowed he would never become. That is a familial pattern of addiction.
If you or a loved one is suffering, please contact me at 561-714-1028.