Author: Ann Schiebert
Types of Reality Distortion Systems
I’m Not an Addict cont’d
Addiction and Intimacy
If one is addicted to a behavior or substance, that is the PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP! If one thinks that he/she is so special that the addict will put away their addiction in favor of the relationship, you will be most disappointed. That belief comes from the Codependency Reality Distortion System that will be discussed in upcoming posts. For the active addict, there is a compulsion to do/partake of whatever is the subject of their addiction. If one is with an alcoholic, for example, one might believe that going to the bar for fun and drinks is a bonding experience. It is, but NOT with you. The alcoholic is bonding with his/her drug of choice and simply bringing you along!
Addictions preclude intimacy. One cannot be close to someone who has obsessions and compulsions to practice their addiction. While people are NOT responsible for having an addiction, they ARE responsible for the management of their behaviors and use.
If one is seeking intimacy, it will NOT be found with an addict until the addict has been in recovery for more than a year. The beliefs, denial, and behaviors of the, “I’m Not an Addict,” RDS, often are initially charming, plausible, and fun. This is the illusion that is part of addiction. Addictions are debilitating
How can those who love an addict assist them in getting treatment so they will move from the RDS that keeps them practicing their addictive behaviors, to a Reality Clarity System in which they eventually see their addictive behaviors as self-harm?
Lecturing, nagging, shaming, begging, bribing, monitoring the practice of the addiction only serve to provide the addict another reason to imbibe. Setting limits that will be kept provides the addict with the opportunity to hit a bottom so that he/she will realize that, indeed, their behavior is causing chaos, and harming themselves and others.
I cannot tell if my spouse’s behavior is addiction or OCD (perpetually collecting and organizing data; not being able to let go of clutter – used to be purchasing electronics; obsessing over topics) or both. And if it is both, would the RCS be different? It’s hard to know because it looks somewhat different from my dad’s alcohol addiction behavior. Is addiction a subset of OCD?
“Addictions preclude intimacy.” This and the following statement are a watershed. My tears are flowing and flowing. This is the pain I have felt all these years. Loneliness, transparent, invisible, in a different reality. But it went unnoticed – I have never been aware of this relational effect of addiction so clearly. I wish I heard these words sooner. Then I could have understood the seat of my anguish. The focus I think is usually on one of the parties – usually the addict. These statements speak to the relational quality of addiction.