(Part II excerpt from interview with Lewis Finch)
Addiction is “cunning, baffling and powerful” (https://www.aa.org/).
A helpful reminder for those of you who know someone in the throes of addiction is, “you did not cause it, you cannot cure it, and you cannot control it” (https://al-anon.org/). Whether the problem is addiction or co-addiction (codependency), the struggle is real and prevalent in our society. You are not alone in the struggle and you don’t have to be alone in the recovery.
Lewis says: “People who are addicts are experts at these three things: lying, minimizing, and manipulating. They lose empathy for those they hurt or put in jeopardy. While they think they are fooling others, they are mostly fooling themselves.”
How do you know if you are falling into addiction driven by EGO? Here are a few things to look for:
· Irritability – easily frustrated with others.
· Impatience – blaming, attacking others when they are not doing exactly what you want them to do when you want them to do it.
· Picking fights, arguing having a short fuse.
· Isolation – feeling it is just better to be alone than to try to cope with people. The danger of this behavior is it can lead to suicide from the deep despair addiction and isolation brings.
· Excessive behaviors you cannot stop.
· Hiding, lying and manipulating people, places and things to get the next fix.
There is no cure for the out of control EGO.
In the place of a cure, you make a recovery plan and you work your plan for the rest of your life. Moreover, many addicts have tried to quit by will power or “white knuckling it,” but will power cannot hold steady under the pressure of a habit that wants you back. A plan for sobriety that you work consistently with others can be powerful and effective. Meanwhile, when you are working your plan, the EGO will scream at you because it does not want to be humble or honest. I will give you an out or cause you to make an exception. It will tell you to give in: drink just one more time, explode in anger one more time, break your promise one more time…then you will feel better. Can you recognize the lie in that?
Lewis had an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Whereas, your addiction might be something less obvious and be more socially accepted, such as working late, anger, stress or even being extra busy. The root of addiction is the same – the out of control EGO. The sooner you realize the world is not just about you, the sooner you can take steps to get the help, support and freedom that you need. Above all, I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to end up like Lewis did. These are trying times to say the least and EGO addiction is tricky. If you think you may be struggling with drugs or alcohol you may want to reach out to a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist or to someone who can help you make the necessary steps toward recovery. Keep in mind, addiction is about more than drinking and drugs. It’s about anything that gives you a false perception that you – your EGO – is the center of the universe and that your destructive behavior won’t really impact those around you.
Welwynn Outpatient Center
Lewis runs Welwynn Outpatient Center, a successful business helping others recover from addiction. However, if you asked him, he would tell you that every person who reaches out to Welwynn actually helps him continue his walk of sobriety. Lewis is living in chapter 5 and the people around him help him to continue to choose to live in chapter 5 – what about you?
My Life Poem
Chapter 1 of My Life
I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in.
I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It still takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place! But it isn’t my fault. And it still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It’s a habit! My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down a different street.
― Portia Nelson, author
What chapter do you see yourself in?