– John Stiteler MA, LCCT, CNC
Almost all addictions (drugs, sex, food, etc.) follow a similar pattern or cycle. They start with some type of unresolved pain or wound that leads to feelings of shame. No one is able to live with high levels of shame without trying to find a way to cover up that pain. Therefore, we begin to fantasize about a way to escape those shameful feelings. Those fantasies increase into ritualistic behaviors that bring us to a point of acting on our desires. Once an addict enters that ritual phase it is almost a guarantee that he or she will follow through and get drunk, binge eat, or visit that strip club. What happens next? Well, during the acting out period the addict is temporarily relived of the pain. However, it is almost immediately followed by a wave of despair which quickly develops into shame and the whole cycle starts over again.
While it is extremely hard to break this cycle, it can be done! We have found that the most effective treatment is an integrated, holistic approach. Treatment must include counseling to deal with the root issues of pain or trauma. It must also include pain management, relational and spiritual guidance, nutrition, and stress management. Without treating the total person, most addicts will not achieve long term sobriety. The recovery cycle replaces shame with grace. Fantasy is turned into self care and rituals become healthy disciplines. As the addict experiences victory instead of despair he or she feels joy which grows into vision for what their life can become and the positive impact they can have on others.
Over the years we have had the pleasure of walking this path with many different types of addicts. If you are struggling, please allow us the opportunity to come along side and walk the journey of healing with you. You are not alone.