Addiction attacks every part of what Freud called our “mental apparatus.” These attacks, however often seem to be in two primary areas: the will, which is our capacity to choose and direct our behaviour, and self-esteem, which is the respect and value with which we view ourselves. Addiction splits the will in two, one part desiring freedom and the other desiring only to continue with the addictive behaviour. This internal inconsistency begins to erode the person’s self-esteem.
The greatest damage to self-esteem, however, comes from repeated failures at trying to change addictive behaviour; even when there is clarity as to what needs to change, the addictive cycle continues. This leads to feelings of being out of control.
I have found that in working with male and female clients experiencing the effects of addiction, that at these moments of confusion and chaos there is often something that has been missed or ignored in the person’s life. Often something that has been waiting to be witnessed in some way. This may be a traumatic event or memory that the individual had no option of dealing with, or working through at that time, leading to it being pushed out of consciousness and repressed.
I have found in working with clients with addiction issues, that once this experience has been given a space and the underlying painful emotions are felt, a new-found sense of feeling back in control and wholeness within their lives begins to emerge.
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