The Inner Emptiness Of Addicts And How To Fill It

How To Fill The Inner Emptiness Of Addiction - PhysicianHealthProgramPeople who have never had a problem with addiction often find it hard to understand what makes addicts chase after drugs, alcohol or any other mind-altering substance. The disease of addiction starts long before the person picks up a drink or a drug. It starts with an inner emptiness that feels like it can’t be filled.

Triggers Of Inner Emptiness

For different people, this may be triggered by different problems. Shy people may wish to be less introverted or inhibited. Overachievers may wish for the energy to keep working or studying long after fatigue sets in. People who are in physical or emotional pain may wish for relief from endless discomfort. Most people feel the urge to escape from reality or at least to distort it from time to time.

The heart of the problem of addiction is a desperate belief that something outside yourself will make everything better. If you have this hole in your heart, you may work tirelessly to fill it until you find what works. You may turn to anything from street drugs to prescription drugs to alcohol to exercise to sex to food. The more obsessive your relationship is with the substance or behavior you turn to, the more likely the substance or behavior is a problem and not a solution.

Emptiness Leading To Relapse

The depth of the emptiness is often the cause of relapse after long-term sobriety. Staying away from the substance is important, but you have to get in touch with why you are reaching for a chemical or behavior in the first place.

Letting go of drugs or any other addictive behavior is like closing the door to the only thing that has worked to bring you comfort and ease the hurt. It can be very painful and trigger a deep sense of loss. Giving up the source of addiction is the first step. But it has to be quickly followed with understanding why you turned to addictive behavior when you are hurting. To recover, you have to learn how to fill your inner emptiness in healthy ways.

If you try to give up drugs or alcohol or any other addiction without help, you are likely to experience a sense of panic. You may even try to substitute whatever you were addicted to with something else that is equally addicting. For example, someone who gives up drinking alcohol may suddenly turn into an overeater instead. Someone may give up drugs only to become addicted to sex. These people are still trying to cover up their inner emptiness.

Addiction is addiction no matter what you are addicted to. Recovery from addiction begins with giving up the substance or behavior, but it needs to progress from there with getting in touch with your addictive nature, which is all about why you turn to something outside yourself to ease your pain.

Learning To Fill The Emptiness

To stay sober, you have to learn to cope with life’s pain and challenges in healthy ways. That starts with learning to trust and respect yourself. Sobriety involves learning to experience all your feelings, good and bad, rather than run from them. You are strong enough to go through the pain. You can learn to accept and love yourself no matter what you do.

What should you do about the emptiness? Start by acknowledging that you are feeling empty or hurt. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Give yourself a pat on the back for feeling your feelings without turning to chemicals or unhealthy behaviors. Try journaling about your feelings. Remember to write down everything you did right in a 24-hour period. If you are feeling empty or hurt or alone, participate in support groups and share your feelings with others, who will in turn share their solutions.

Some people find comfort in practicing mediation, deep breathing or other spiritual practices. Whatever your beliefs, sitting in silence can help you get in touch with your innermost feelings and thoughts. Everything you need to get well is there within you. You are enough today. You can learn to fill that inner emptiness with self-love, self-acceptance and self-respect. You don’t have to turn to a drink, a drug or substitute addiction.

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