Addiction is rooted in fear, anxiety and self-doubt. From the core of our fear stems a flawed belief system that tells us that we are not good enough, not lovable and certainly misunderstood. Alcoholic Anonymous refers to this as the spiritually rooted disease - "The feeling of being alone in the midst of a crowed, of feeling unloved in the middle of your loving family and the belief that no one could possibly understand how you feel because no one could have ever felt this way". It is from this foundation that all our behaviors, addictions and problems stem.
When we grow up viewing the world and perceiving events through the lenses of fear, doubt and anxiety we develop a complex system of faulty beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and emotions. These all inevitably trigger behavioral coping mechanisms that ultimately lead us to abusing substances and alcohol and to developing other phones rocess addictions - we believe we have found the answer and "cure" to the root cause of our mj. It is this exact process that drives tremendous amounts of shame - our "shame-based identity" becoming the Siamese twin of our "addict identity".
As we grow we experience the very things we fear - rejection, abandonment, humiliation. These experiences cause us to feel shamed. We believe there must be something wrong with us. As we try to navigate the world with our underlying sense of anxiety we develop feelings of shame as our belief grows that we are somehow different and just cant cope as normal people do. As our self-esteem keeps plummeting and our experiences of failure starts to rise we experience shame. This shame becomes debilitating - this shame feels like death and so we start to run - we do whatever it takes to avoid this feeling and anything that could possibly threaten us - shame to us is like death and so we hide it away.
Unfortunately the very defenses we develop to combat our shame generally lead us to feeling more shame - a self inflicted shame. We have inappropriate sexual relationships, we have outbursts of rage and hurt the very people we love, we try to manage our lives and our addictions but keep failing, we develop these personalities driven by arrogance and grandiosity trying to portray something we are not - this very pattern just reinforces all of our flawed beliefs we have developed about ourselves and the world around us.
Here are some characteristics of this shame we are talking about:
Shames lives and breeds in silence - we cannot and will not talk about it.
Shame systematically shuts down every thought of value, worth and dignity.
Shame robs us of being able to be authentic - our lives become a carefully orchestrated show hiding what we don't want people to see about us.
Shame projects judgement onto all that is good and denies us the ability to trust that good things are possible.
Shame shouts loudest in our silence so we do everything we can to busy ourselves often creating chaos in order to avoid having to deal with the feeling of shame.
Shame says we are destined to be alone so we try to be everything for everyone desperately clinging onto the people in our lives even when they are toxic and damaging to us.
The only way to combat Shame is to allow ourselves to experience it - we have to feel the pain and hurt, we have to allow ourselves the time to heal and we have to identify what the patterns of behaviors, thoughts and triggers are for our shame. In order to do this we have to talk about it.