By: Lianne Johnson, LPC
Sitting with someone in the throws of an addiction causes my soul to ache. The reality of many who struggle with an addiction is this: they desire to be free from their addiction is, yet they literally feel chained to their addiction – unable to get away. And no matter what special techniques I use as a counselor, or what their family does or doesn’t do, they will remain chained until they alone choose to risk leaving their addiction in order to learn what life would be like without their addiction. For those of us caring for a person with an addiction, this truth is hard for us to accept.
It is hard for us to except that no matter what we do, what we say, or how we act, we have no control over freeing the one we care for who is being tormented by their addiction.
Often as I sit with individuals they are in the midst of fighting to be freed from their addiction. I see sitting before me a soul in torment. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word torment as, “1) the infliction of torture, 2) extreme pain or anguish of body or mind.” I believe using the word torment to describe the experience of the addicted fighting to break free from their addiction is fitting.
The Apostle Paul expresses this idea of the tormented soul in Romans 7, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
I found this picture in Google images. This picture depicts for me what I perceive the life of an addict to be as they fight to be freed
from their addiction.
The face on the far left is the side of the addict that rages inside of them and wants the rush and momentary fulfillment that their addiction provides to them. The face on the far right is the face the addict has once they have succumbed to the allurement of their addiction – they are tired, sad, and feel shame over what they have done. The middle face represents the small pockets of time they feel human, free, and love themselves (to an extent). This is the face they get to experience the least, yet long to experience the most.
Patrick Carnes describes the cycle of addiction this way:
Family Wounds / Life Wounds
An addict spends so much time in the cycle Carnes depicts above, that they are virtually unable to live their life. They are continuously moving through the cycle. Once an addiction takes root into someone’s life it has power and control, but it doesn’t have to remain that way.
Freedom from the bondage and torment of their addiction is possible.
I have listed some resources regarding addiction and healing from addiction on our resources page. Take a look if you are in need of some help/knowledge. If you’d rather talk to a live person give us a call. We’d be happy to help you find the help you need. Avenues main number is 314-529-1391. Our email is: [email protected].