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…True or false?

While scientists tell us we can become addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, compulsive hoarding, food, emotions, sports, etc, etc….here is the key:

Any addiction – whether it’s cigarettes, anger, alcohol, violence, depression, indecision, compulsions, etc – is only ever filling in for something else.

Every addiction is a solution, in *some* way.

It’s a solution to deal with some other problem, whether that’s coping with self-esteem issues, grief, guilt, unresolved trauma, worthiness, acceptance, depression, etc.

Now, remember back to one of these situations, a time when you felt triggered, felt the need to indulge the addiction, and you did go ahead and drink, or use.

In this state, what positive feelings are there now, as a result of indulging the habit, that weren’t there before? e.g. “I’m important”, “I’m lovable”, “I’m acceptable”, “I’m good enough”, “I matter”, “What I say/do/feel matters”, or maybe something more personal to you.

So if this scenario helps you feel (e.g.) good enough again, then it’s pointing us to self-esteem issues about not feeling good enough generally, do you see?

So the substance is the way to achieve these feelings, you don’t otherwise have.

These would be a starting point for therapy sessions, for example.

Now, what situations have told you you’re not good enough?

Is that *really* true about the situation? Or is that just one interpretation out of many possible interpretations?

Seeking professional therapeutic help in a rehab environment for all these underlying beliefs and traumas that these questions point you to, is the way to deal with addiction at the core.

Be sure your clinic is aware of these subtle, yet crucial distinctions.

About the author

Dr Conroy

Dr Steve Conroy is the clinical lead for Abbeycare Scotland and is responsible for delivering primary care drug and alcohol services to people with addiction problems in one of Scotland's largest Health Board areas. He is active in research in addictions and has been invited to speak at conferences both in the UK and abroad. Read more about Dr Conroy on LinkedIn


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