Men in Balance
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Is it time you dealt with your addiction?

Are you addicted? To alcohol? To drugs? To work? To sex? Do you have an addictive personality? Is there alcohol or other addiction in your family? Do you know the warning signs of addiction?

Most of the experts I’ve talked to say that addiction is a form of spiritual deficit. That idea hit me hard when I first heard it, but I believe it is true. When we are not spiritually healthy, we seek to fill the emptiness inside with something that is not healthy. Alcohol or drugs is often our first choice, but sex or work or other things can come into play as well.

The sad thing is most of us do not deal with our addiction because we don’t know its source. We don’t understand ourselves well enough to know what we are craving. But our “drug“ of choice seems to fill that void for the moment or at least cover it up.

Alcohol is probably the most common form of addiction in our society. It is available everywhere. It is easy to get access to. And it is so socially acceptable, even encouraged. However, if you talk to members of AA, they will tell you that it is insipid and it ruins lives, marriages and especially relationships. Alcoholics tend to burn bridges like they were matches and rarely look back at the carnage they’ve left behind. 

Most alcoholics I have talked to, believe every day is their last day to drink. However, willpower and genetics override that lofty wish. 

As for yourself, you may be the life of the party, the last one to leave, the one who takes everyone else home and still not see yourself as alcoholic. You may be functioning on the job pretty well, you may have a fine family and a lot of status, but you can still be no more than a professional drunk.

It’s important to know the warning signs of alcoholism. The most obvious is that it interferes with your daily life. Or it becomes an obsession in your daily life. You seem to always need a drink and you go to great lengths to make sure one is available. You hide alcohol in places no one else will find, but that you can get to readily.

If your addiction is to work, it can be equally destructive. It kills relationships, takes you out of circulation with your family, keeps you at a distance emotionally – – and still doesn’t fill the void that you have inside. In our survey a high percentage of men said they thoroughly enjoyed their work and forget about time when they are working. But a fair number also admitted that they are workaholics and can’t seem to pull themselves away from the job. They miss their children’s performances, sporting events, family gatherings, etc. and they justify it in the name of work demands.

If you have received feedback from your spouse that you are working too much you should pay attention. That is a plea for intimacy from you. And work is interfering with that intimacy. 

It is easy to justify working long hours as a way of providing well for your family. Something to be commended. However, the destruction caused can be as bad or worse than any other type of addiction.

What do I do?

Obviously, the first step is to admit you are an addict and seek some help. That is the first step in AA and it is the only route to sobriety. If you’re not already familiar with the 12 step program, look it up and buy some AA literature or go to a meeting. You’re find open minded, non-judgmental people interested in your recovery. And they’ll hold you accountable. If you think you can do this by yourself, that is not likely. Part of the therapy is admitting your weakness to yourself and others. (There are also support groups for sex and other addictions.)

 The encouraging news is that millions of people have cured their addiction by getting to the source of it. This may involve counseling, attending addiction meetings, group therapy or other techniques. It is a sobering requirement, if you’ll excuse the pun. But it is the only route to true contentment.

If you think you are suffering from some form of addiction, or if others have expressed a concern, take this feedback as a warning sign. Get help while you can. I personally have witnessed careers, businesses, marriages, family relationships be decimated by addiction. At a minimum, look up some of the resources available on our website or talk to someone who has been through rehabilitation. 

Don’t risk your future. Get help now.