Please say something about addictions. I think I see one occurring in our family..

by Rod Smith

Three questions to ask to establish the presence of an addiction:

1. Are there physical symptoms related to the behavior or to the absence of the behavior (cravings, ideation, longing, preoccupation)?
2. Is there loss, or threatened loss, of close relationships (breakups of marriage or friendships) as a direct result of the behavior?
3. Has there been a loss of face or position in a community (job loss, police intervention, credit issues, repossession of a car) as a result of the behavior?

While the three as above are a guide, there are other symptoms?

1. Lying (covering) about the behavior through excuses or downright lies.
2. Expecting others to lie and cover the behavior (for instance a spouse and children are drawn into the behavior and the behavior becomes a family secret – even if “don’t tell” is not used).
3. Expecting others to show their love by expressing understanding and tolerance for the behavior.

It is important to see the subtle pull the (growing) addiction has on ALL of the members of the family or community. People assume roles according to the call of the addiction (gambling, alcohol, sex, drugs, porn) and non-addicts start (often unaware of their behavior) to align themselves with the addict in ways that perpetrate the behavior. For instance, a wife who rejects the abuse of alcohol, and who is generally a truthful person, will call the husband in sick and say he has a fever when in fact he is too drunk to work.

Addictions are often family issues revealed in the person who is “acting out.”

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