Monday, October 03, 2011
I am in the process of changing jobs. My new job includes working with individuals addicted to various substances and activities. My job is not only to help them with their addictions, but to work through the core issues that drive the addiction. I have been reminded that most, if not all of us are addicts to something. Whether it's chocolate, alcohol, cocaine, pornography, or Mt. Dew, there are many things that the mind and body can crave and will do anything to seek it out. In the process of working at this new site, myself and a few others are coming up with activities to do as part of a processing group. Below are some of my own thoughts. I began using the principles below and it appeared to be well-received by the members of my work community. Take a look, and tell me what you think.
Working With The Addict Ego-State: A mindful and strength-based approach.
The addict inside of us is egotistical, self-centered, and self-pleasuring. When left uncontrolled, it can run amok within the inter and intrapersonal system. It will begin to engage in activities that the true individual is not accustomed to, nor would normally do. One way of describing this is seeing the addict in a different light. If you were to look at an addict from a developmental standpoint it would appear to be a child. Most people only notice and focus on the negative characteristics, defects, and flaws of the addict. However, though children can be self-centered and egotistical, by nature they can be benevolent, loving, forgiving, and playful. They want and crave to be loved. They want to be special. They already believe that they are special and unique. They are confident. When we look at the addict as a child, we can see that they have many wonderful traits and characteristics. In fact, they are so loving that they are willing and able to accept pain and hurt from others and forgive them of it with a simple “I am sorry.” So, the question is, what would an addict do if he/she could extricate the addict part from themselves, sit it down in front of them, and learn from it. What would they see? How would the addict look, feel, behave, act, etc.?
The addict part inside may not be an addict at all. It may have become one to cover up pain and like a child sought out the first thing it could put into its mouth to pacify it. It might be afraid, just like a child.
Think of how you would take care of a frightened or hurt child…and do it.
Think of the needs of a child…and make it happen.
Help the child be aware of emotions and learn from them. Help the child develop to be strong and depend on others while it learns to depend on itself.
Use mindfulness techniques to train the individual on how to deal with and accept the pain and hurt and emotions that will crop up as the addict portion loses strength.