Alcoholics and addicts do not want to face the reality of their situations. They live in fear, which they often cover up with false bravado, anger and abusive behavior. They feel guilty and ashamed, so they often blame other people and situations for their situations, leaving them with a "victim mentality." They hurt the people they love most by pushing them away. As their disease progresses, they lose friends, and often their family members end up turning their backs on them in a frustrated state of hopelessness and despair. Isolation is the result.
Denial is the No. 1 symptom of addiction. The complex mechanisms of the brain can cause individuals to rationalize their alcoholic behavior and drug-induced thinking and devise all kinds of falsehoods. Addiction creates a web of deception and chaos, which is one of the primary causes of isolation. Isolation can be a primary reason as to why an addict reaches their bottom; they cut out any healthy connections with others, due to feelings of victimization and shame about their addictive behavior whatever that may be, sex, drinking, drugs, etc.
Addiction is not only a physical but a mental disease. It is literally a state of discomfort: dis-ease. People can recover from all aspects of addiction and learn to live healthy, productive lives. They are not doomed for a lifetime of feeling "different" or depressed, or like everything in their lives is unmanageable. They can leave behind the isolation that results from denial, guilt and shame and move forward in becoming content, contributing members of society. There's an old saying in AA, "Let us love you until you learn to love yourself." This concept of "immediate acceptance from others" has been healing addicts and alcoholics since the start of 12 step programs. It is a crucial part of recovery for many who seek self-love and healing on their journey into sobriety.
Addiction Is A Disease That Affects Loved Ones
While active in their disease, alcoholics and addicts sometimes have the mistaken notion that they are not hurting anyone but themselves. They feel they are alone and nobody understands the pain they're going through. On the contrary, friends and family deeply experience the hurtful affects when someone they love suffers from addiction.
Friends and family often become part of the web of deceit, enabling the addict and allowing the addiction to continue without even realizing it. They make excuses for the addict’s behavior. They tell lies to doctors, employers, neighbors and mutual acquaintances. They cover up the truth because they think they can help the addict to control the problem. By providing shelter, giving money, playing a role in hiding the truth and making idle threats, they end up allowing the addict to continue in a downward spiral and never hit a bottom, this is also known as loving the addict to death.
At Anaheim Lighthouse, we encourage our clients and their families to work together in recovery. We want to provide a pathway out of isolation and into the world of peaceful sober living and self acceptance. Nobody has to do this alone. Let us love you until you learn to love yourself.