The 'Why' Behind Addiction: Unresolved Events From The Past

By Gillian Burdett

May 23, 2018

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Your personality, values, strengths and weaknesses are a melding of genetics and experiences. You may be able to identify traumatic events — the untimely loss of a loved one, physical or verbal abuse, bearing witness to a horrifying incident — that changed who you are and how you interact with the world.

Buried wounds

Less easy to identify are past wrongs, rejections, betrayals and disappointments that formed your self-concept. You may think you have put them aside. You may have even forgotten them, but they lay buried within the composition of who you are and can, subconsciously, affect your behavior.

Unhealed wounds may lay buried beneath years of living, but they do seep to the surface, often outside your awareness, raising feelings of unease, anxiety, depression and even despair. That buried history molds your sense of self. A steady drip of hurt instills self-doubt that can waylay your sense of purpose and forward movement as your energy is all directed towards simply maintaining a sense of normalcy.

A symptom of unresolved issues

Substance abuse may be a symptom of this internal dissonance just as a fever is a symptom of infection. There is a chasm separating how you exist from who you think you should be, and it takes external comforts to close that gap. Alcohol and drugs, for a while, may allow you to feel right again - feel at peace. However, when using becomes a compulsion, your problem becomes your dependency that masks the underlying infection.

Societal beliefs about addiction that hamper recovery

Furthering the self-doubt is the stigma. Many in society cast alcohol and drug addiction as a moral failing, not a symptom of deeper wounds. Others cast it as a disease that cannot be cured, only managed. This leaves users facing a lifelong battle.

Beyond Management: Curing addition

A cure requires rooting out the underlying causes of substance abuse. In your quest to reclaim your life, you must identify and reconcile your relationship with events in your history that block your ability to thrive. This requires an individualized, holistic approach — individualized, because your history is unique, and holistic, because addiction affects mind, body and spirit. All three must be tended to. Programs such as the ones offered at Passages Malibu will help you uncover the causes of your addiction and flush them out into the light where you can finally put an end to their power. You once had a sense of purpose, goals and dreams, but lost that sense as life wore you down. However, you can regain your purpose; you can again have hope, once you reconcile that clash between your injured self and the self you know you can be.

The news and editorial staffs of K-earth 101 had no role in this post's preparation.