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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

6 Tips on Healing Addiction and Trauma



Humans innately need to be connected to someone or something.

Believe it or not "being connected" is our life blood.We invest increasing amounts effort in forming and maintaining connections with ourselves, someone else or groups. Our connections, who and what we think we belong to, increasingly define our identity, happiness, fulfillment and status.


Without connection in our lives or when we feel disconnected for whatever reason, we experience a deep sense of emptiness, fear, loss and alone. We, as humans, are innately driven toward connecting to, someone else, groups or to community in order to enhance our well being and balance. When our perception is that we are disconnected from ourselves, our family, a group, a community or society emptiness sets in. When the feeling of connected vanishes due to a hurtful situations, painful experience or traumatic event our worth, esteem and feeling of fulfillment evaporates. Without connection our self-confidence dwindles, fears increase, negative thoughts surge and anxiety surfaces which leads us to believe we are unwanted and not good enough. 

Once emptiness emerges, a we feel a strong powerful eruption of a need to seek a replacement for the connection lost. No matter what, no matter how long it takes or what the consequences are we seek it. Even if it is toxic to us. Due to deep feeling of loss, we will attach to a replacement because it gives us a "new sense of connection", good, bad or indifferent. 

The substitute connection to something or someone takes away our thoughts of feeling empty and disconnected. There are others replacements sought such as inappropriate behaviors, false emotions, objects or negative and self-defeating thoughts.

The Result of Emptiness

An initial outgrowth of perceived emptiness is disconnection anxiety. Disconnection anxiety is a term used to describe intense hurtful feelings when a person is unable to connect with a feeling of self, a feeling of being part of a family or a group, being an integral aspect of the community or of value to society. 

This disconnection anxiety becomes increasingly prevalent with addition of more and more personal losses. Also there are issues that arise such as:

+ Tension                                                         + Fears

+ Confusion                                                     + Feeling less than

+ Surfacing of negative beliefs                        + Loss of feelings of worth 

+ Feeling of a loss of freedom                         + Feeling a loss of uniqueness

+ Feelings of discomfort                                  + Feeling disconnected from everyone 
                                                                             and everything


6 Tips on Assessing if You're Prone to Develop an Addiction  

If you suspect you may be experiencing an unhealthy level of anxiety or low self-worth associated with loss of connection with yourself or others, you might consider the following these tips to determine if you might be prone to form an unhealthy or addictive connection to something or someone.

1. Importance 

How important has the need to be connected to something become your sense of self-worth? Does you need to fill an emptiness due to a significant loss or trauma? Do you gauge “self-importance” by how much you are connected to someone or something even if the connection is harmful? Is the connection you turned to stopping you from doing other things that are healthy? Maybe your priorities have become skewed. Be sure to check where your self-worth is coming from.  

2. Reward Response

Does being connected to someone or something make you feel better or more in control? Does not being “a part of” make you feel worse? Be aware that you can sense a positive “payoff” even if you are excessively connected to something unhealthily. Do you connect to anything just to feel in control even if you are not? Impulsive connections just to get a reward rush can obscure the activity negative consequences.

3. Frequency

Do you find yourself interacting with unhealthy connections more often and for longer periods of time? If you feel compelled to always say “Just a little more,” carving out more and more space in your life for these unhealthy connections. The major question becomes, are you spending more time forming an unhealthy relationship? What other important, healthy, fulfilling or meaningful connections are you excluding or diminishing? Check to see if you are lying to yourself more than not.

4. Refraining
  
Do you feel anxious, afraid or excessively worried if you cannot participate in your unhealthy connection or even the thought of not doing it? One way to gauge how important your unhealthy connection is or the degree of toxicity it holds is when you consider doing without it. The higher the level of denial, fear, anxiety or pain you anticipate, the stronger the hold unhealthy connection has over you and the more you feel a loss of control. The more you stay in denial the more your unhealthy connection becomes.

5. Distraction 

Has the excessive focus and involvement with your unhealthy connection disrupted your life and relationships, causing interpersonal or personal conflicts over your unhealthy relationships?

6. Reverting 

Do you often say to yourself “I am going to invest less of my time in my unhealthy connection” only to turn around, defend it, spending more time or repeat the same thing over and over. This is an indication that the unhealthy connection you are involved with has become an addiction. Your attempt to fill your emptiness has now become toxic and can cause real damage to yourself, relationships, career and your physical, emotional and mental health.

Additional Tips on How to Change

If you are unable to follow the 6 tips above here are 2 rather simple tips. The first tip is to avoiding the possibility of seeking an unhealthy behavior, emotion, object, relationship, substance or thought to fill a feeling of emptiness is by forming a solid connection to yourself first. 

Second is to just reach out. Form a significant connection with someone else, a family member, a group or to someone in your community. If you do it will reduce the possibility of filling that hole with someone or something unhealthy that could turn out to be very toxic in the long run. 

Afterthoughts

Try working on identifying all the connections you lost and rebuffing your past hurts which made you experience anger, emptiness, feel less than or not good enough. Counter those effects of painful situations by recognizing them and then stop using them as a reason not to be involved with yourself and others. 

Ultimately, you have the power and control to determine what connections are good and healthy for you, and which are just not. You have the ability to produce a community of supportive connections that will add joy, , connectedness, happiness and content in the long-term. Being connected to yourself and others is what fills you with value, fulfillment and health.   

         Coach Bill
                                          

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