Sunday, March 27, 2016

Addictions other than alcohol

It's a rainy Easter Sunday here.  The rain over the past few days has brought out every new leaf, turning the landscape into a thousand hues of green.  And it has washed away the pine and oak pollen that was coating everything yellow.  All seems refreshed.  And that is what I love about this time of year in the Lowcountry.  It is green and lush and covered with flowers.

Last time I wrote here about getting a new sponsee.  That lasted about two weeks when he decided that he could deal with all of his problems on his own.  It turns out that he is a recovering alcoholic which is okay because certainly most alcoholics are qualified to be in Al-Anon.  Who hasn't been affected by someone else's drinking?  Not many people that I know.

Anyway, what I want to write about here is problems other than alcohol that seem to plague many who are in recovery. Once the drinking stops,  other addictions can be a substitute, such as gambling, eating, or sex.  He happened to be using the latter.

He told me that he had 13th stepped several women in AA.  Then when he was married, he stopped doing that.  But over the last two years, he was finding himself more and more into on line chats and sexting. Needless to say, this brought about more problems in his marriage to an alcoholic.  His wife asked him to move out. And he thought that having a sponsor in Al-Anon would help him with his marriage and in dealing with an alcoholic spouse.

I know that I can't help someone who has an issue outside of Al-Anon.  I suggested that he find a 12 step group that could address his sex addiction.  That wasn't something that he wanted to do because he was still focusing on his wife's drinking.  It was a convoluted situation for sure.  And one that I could not help rectify.

I know from my own experience that getting honest with yourself, admitting that you are wrong and making amends can be so powerful.  So many things that we do in our lives hurt others, cause them to lose trust, and drive people away.  I hope this fellow gets at the root of what drives him to make bad decisions.

"Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to — alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person — you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain. That is why, after the initial euphoria has passed, there is so much unhappiness, so much pain in intimate relationships. They do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you. Every addiction does that. Every addiction reaches a point where it does not work for you anymore, and then you feel the pain more intensely than ever." ~Eckhart Tolle


  1. Ah, Syd. Good to hear your voice again. It has been raining here for three or four days now and the slow, good kind of rain that the earth can absorb and hold. It makes me feel as if all is well, at least for a moment, in my world.

  2. It is sad but a reality in what you say. How many are suffering from other things and use drugs or alcohol to mask those issues. The addictions, no matter what kind can become a symptom of deeper issues that must be addressed at some point.

    Excellent point Syd that we must only deal with what we are capable of doing. Rescuing or coaching in an area in which we have no knowledge or experience can result in harm for both.

  3. Great post. Thanks. I am sad when I think of the guilt and shame that your guy is adding to his burden. And all he has to do is let go. I went through 3-5 addictions until I came to what I call the 2nd recovery--codependency. I think codependency begins when a child learns how to take care of an emotionally needy adult. The child becomes the parent. So we begin very young. Hard to give it up. Such power. I can feel it now and halt it as it is beginning by asking myself "Is my love being returned?".

  4. "Usually we find that we have only worked with the specific addiction. When we only deal with the specific addiction, we tend to switch from one addiction to another or to have "cross-addictions". We must face each of the specific addictions and the underlying addictive process together and separately for recovery to proceed."
    Anne Wilson Schaef

  5. An interesting entry, Syd, and the quote by Tolle is so true. Addiction comes in many forms and is deadly no matter what it is.

  6. Each compulsion begins with torment and finishes with agony. Whatever the substance you are dependent on — liquor, nourishment, legitimate or unlawful medications, or a man — you are utilizing something or some person to conceal your agony. Drug Rehab Winnipeg


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.