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Understanding and treating Addiction as a Dis-ease

Addiction, Addiction should not be judged as a problem of willpower, misconduct, or any other unscientific diagnosis. The problem must be accepted for what it is a bio-psychosocial disease with a strong genetic influence, obvious signs and symptoms, a natural progression and a fatal outcome if not treated (see http://physiciansnews.com/commentary/298wp.html). Apart from being one of the oldest maladies to inflict the human race, it is probably the cause of more illness in our society than any other agent. Quite often each individual addiction in a person's life-beingness, such as: alcoholism, drug addiction, food addiction, gambling addiction, sexual addiction, love and relationship addiction, nicotine and work addiction, are understood and seen reflected in a similar way to the branches of a tree; the roots of which have become divided or split.

The tree above, which came from Broadway Lodge (a facility which treats addiction in the South West of England, and which is illustrated by Terry Kellogg), gives an example of the different manifestation of addictions, that arise through abandonment and injury during the early stages of life, which is where the origins of Shame comes into being; in most cases due to the wounding which has taken place in the family/social/community environment during the early childhood years, and sometimes through being exposed to trauma in adult life.

The tree diagram above does not consider the genetic inheritance of addictive genes that cause disease, and neither does it take into account the ancestral patterns from within the family history or social influence, which are inherited unconsciously. It is also known that Co-dependency, which means a loss of the original self within a person, and Soul Loss (a loss of vital life-force energy and enthusiasm for living, see the page on 'Shamanism' for more about this), is known as a cultural phenomena related to addiction and trauma, because the condition is so widespread within modern society.

Over the past 20 years, medical professionals from within the field of recovery from addiction and substance abuse in the United States, identify Shame and Co-dependency, as a variety of compulsive/obsessive manifestations within the internal environment of the individual that are responses to the condition called Soul Loss, for which, there is little awareness concerning medical diagnosis relating to its origins, usually, the symptoms are unidentified. Soul Loss is also visible in a person through different types of unconsciousness with reference to addiction, and is why alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, work, exercise, nicotine, compulsive sex, violence, crime, food, money ect, are used to try and fill the tears and splits in the soul as a way to medicate the internal pain, thus trying to establish a feeling of wholeness and perception of life in a normal way.

Co-dependency: The dis-ease Co-dependency is primarily a response to childhood trauma and abandonment. Co-dependency is the development of a false self, which emerges as a survival mechanism, because a person has not been allowed to be themselves in childhood, or/and because they have not been given the parenting they needed whilst growing up such as having their emotional feelings, and needs denied. Shame is at the root of this condition; shame being at the root of every addiction. A person who is co-dependent, may have both addictive and destructive relationships in adult life, quite often living in isolation or be compulsively addicted to people, and either functioning as second best, or as needing to control and dominate. Quite often too, because of the abandonment and rejection from the childhood years, there can in some cases also be extreme rigidity, controlling and aggression present, which comes from the false/co-dependent self's defence mechanisms, as well as the inherited trauma from parents of care-givers. This is called carried or induced shame.

Addiction and Co-dependency is a very wide-spread problem in society. It has been estimated that one out of three families will have a member or members, who are addicted to some substance, or who engage in addictive relationships. Research has shown that because many people die as the result of their addiction, the disease can be passed down to future generations, within different time spans, unknowingly via the genetic life stream (ancestrally), because the future generations to come, are bonded to their ancestors, and addiction is a phenomenon which constantly repeats itself.

Soul Loss: one of the most common forms of Soul Loss has been identified in soldiers who have returned from the battle-field, from which Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is present. By contrast, a person or persons who have been exposed to active addiction, or violence or both over a period of time whether it be in childhood or adult hood, can also exhibit similar symptoms, known to the medical profession who treat PTSD victims. Those who are exposed to the fall out from addiction in adulthood, can actually take on the patterns and behaviour themselves, if left untreated, dealing with life via anger and rage and by addictive means and thus becoming addicted themselves. Another response to Soul Loss is long term depression and suicidal tendencies. The chart at the top of the page mentions the term 'Division', in the internal environment of the individual. This division is caused by a person's true or authentic self splitting in early life through the impact of the trauma, and as a way to survive. A manifestation of this then becomes apparent in adults and children, who cannot function as individuals, because they are overwhelmed by the trauma and issues which they are carrying that don't belong to them, that may have become autonomous once the shame has been internalised and the creation of a the false self or co-dependent self has taken place.

Society and Addiction: Over the past 50 years, there has been significant progress in human consciousness concerning emotional and spiritual growth and well-being. The well known Psychologist Carl Jung spoke of a 'Collective Consciousness' amongst all things on earth: animals, people, trees, plants, water, rocks and the spirits who reside in nature. If we look at the impact that addiction is having on society collectively, then there are whole areas of the collective human psyche in the West, which are dysfunctional and diseased. An extension and reflection of this, is the on-going destruction of the natural environment and the pollution found in towns and cities because of the drive for material security. What human beings do to themselves, is seen reflected in nature and visa-versa.

Old establishment rules and modes of parenting that don't work any more, taught parents and children that it was wrong to show or express emotions. What we now see as a response to this, is disease and premature death. This belief has been carried forward through distorted forms of religious teaching and the ways in which people are taught to live, as well as poor parenting and education. We need only look at the indigenous communities around the world to witness the impact that these events have had over the past 200 years.

Young People and Alcoholism There is a great concern about the vulnerability of teenager's and the use of alcohol. We live in a society, which is highly supportive of Alcoholism and other forms of Addiction, as seen through the mentality in the media, which projects on to society how the requirements for social acceptability, and masculinity in particular be portrayed through being a heavy or regular drinker. Science has many years ago, stated that within the human population, there are 40% of human beings, who are highly sensitive individuals, both men and women, who are vulnerable to toxic (alcohol) chemical and biological agents as seen within and throughout society. Of these 40% many are amongst the peoples' who live close to nature. It is true to the greater extent that diseases such as alcoholism is damaging the lives of young people, especially in the West. Many children and teenagers in-particular, inherit what is called 'Learned Behaviour' from parents and the society in which they live, as a form of social and cultural integration and acceptance, in the transition between teenage years and adulthood because there are no rites of passage any more. If this is considered in addition to the genetic inheritance of the disease, then the facts are startling. However, not all children or adults  who are raised in an addictive family turn to alcohol or substance abuse.  They may alternatively, be be addicted to avoidance, depression, crime, spending,  gambling, exercise, working, anger and relationships. In addition, there is also the prospect of developing  thought and feelings addictions.

Addiction and Childhood Abandonment: Decades ago, there was a belief system within society, that children were born out of Original Sin, and that in order to make them pure again, they needed to be punished and disciplined (see Alice Miller: For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child Rearing and the Roots of Violence). Apart from this belief being held by certain individuals within the Church, it also filtered into the education system, which was under the rule of the domain of the church, and therefore, to a certain extent the parenting which was administered to children was dominated by this kind of belief system.

Social Science and Psychology tells us today, that when children are not accepted and loved, they become abandoned. This can either be in infancy, throughout the course of the childhood years, or whilst it is still in the womb. When there is no love and acceptance given to the infant, which is a natural requirement for children and infants so that they can grow healthy and whole as individuals, what happens is that they grow up with a distorted perception of themselves and of life.

When the abandonment has taken place because the parents are preoccupied with alcohol or other forms of addiction such as relationship, religious, activity (exercise), or work addiction, or because the the children have been abused sexually and/or physically, quite often the same seeds are sewn in the children, so that not only do many follow the same pathway as their care-givers, but they can also turn to substance abuse and physical and sexual abuse in their teens and adult years, as an unconscious substitute and response for the love and nurturing which was not given to them as children, as an attempt to feel whole, loved and accepted. This is called the repetition compulsion.

This can be a way to cope with the deep, deep pain surrounding the early rejection and abandonment. Another very common response to childhood abandonment seen in adolescents and teenagers is rage, excessive anger, violence (domestic violence in adult life), suicidal tendencies, chronic depression, isolation and suicide.

Abandonment is not necessarily due to the fact that the parenting has been bad (although this is very common where substance abuse and physical and sexual abuse has been present during the childhood years), but there may have also been other factors, which have contributed to the abandonment/survival, such as War, Suicide, Mental Illness, Divorce and the Premature Death or Loss of a Parent, Family Member or Relative.

Cigarettes Smoking and Addiction: There have been fierce debates in both the media and in society, concerning the dangers of addictive cigarette smoking. It has been suggested by a number of organisations who's work is primarily suicide prevention, that cigarette smoking is a form of covert suicide. There are also many difficult questions being asked about the effects of cigarette smoking on children, and the harm that it does. In 1996 a survey was carried out by The Royal College of Surgeons in London, concerning children and passive smoking. It had concluded, at the end of 1996, that 17,000 children under the age of five, were admitted to hospital through smoke related illness.

Healing and Forgiveness: Studies into dysfunctional family systems and people who were raised with active addiction and physical and sexual abuse, show that many are amongst a high percentage of society, whose lives have been seriously effected by the nature of the circumstances that were encountered in early life, are highly succeptable and vulnerable to stress related diseases and emotional illness, than people who were raised by care-givers who were able to meet their needs and love them unconditionally.

During the absorption process and internalisation of shame by the children via the addicted person/s and in some cases also the 'extreme' circumstances, these events become stored in the body during the early years, simply because feelings and emotions have been suppressed because they cannot be processed at such a young age.

A response to this in later life is chronic fatigue, depression, heart problems, cancer, stroke, joint problems and sensory impairment. In men, quite often fertility problems may occur and in women, reproduction difficulties, which may extend into the endocrine system. Physicians who are familiar with the recovery process for people who come from addicted and dysfunctional families, speak about the importance of body work, in which inherited emotional patterns and traumas that are stored in the body, can be released and cleared away. These include: anger, fear, resentment, insecurity, rigidity and suppressed rage, to help heal issues related to low self worth and self esteem.

The process of releasing old and stored up rage and anger in a safe and nurturing environment works parallel to healing, cleaning and clearing the body, grieving and forgiveness. Protecting the parents or institution as well as intellectualising, minimising and denying the reality of early experiences and the impact which they had, by trying to forgive without doing the release work, only constitutes to the further development of a false or co-dependent self and the continuity of any addiction, and will ultimately block the grieving and healing process, and contribute to the onset of disease. The length and process of releasing, grieving and healing, depends on the nature and extent of the suppressed feelings and experiences within the individual and the kind of help and support available.

The Philip Lynott Councelling Centre: Philip Parris Lynott, former lead singer with the Rock Band Thin Lizzy, who died on the 4th of January 1986 as a direct result of Drug Addiction and Alcoholism. In 2005 Philip made contact from the Spirit side of Life, with Helen Terry, a Medium who lives in the city of Bath in the United Kingdom. Since that time, Phil has been Helen's Guide and Inspiration in putting together a centre in Dublin, Ireland, which was Phil's home town, to help people who were Raped and Sexually Abused as Children, and who have turned to Drug Addiction and Alcoholism as a way of coping with both the past experiences and the trauma in adult life. The Motto for the project is: "No One Has to Die Because of What Happened to Them". For further information about the project, please click on the link at the top of this page.

12 Step Recovery Programmes: The 12 step recovery programmes are self help groups which are found in each country throughout the world. It is considered that the 12 steps have been the greatest gift to Humanity in the 20th Century. Their primary purpose is to address addiction and diseases of lifestyle issues, and help people who attend the meetings to get their lives back in order, by sharing their common problem with each other. The structure of the 12 steps has been put together from an Ocean of Ancient Philosophy and Wisdom from the Major Spiritual Traditions of the World, such as Buddhism and Hinduism to Judaism and Christianity for example. The 12 step programmes have helped millions and millions of people throughout the world to heal and change their lives, and are heralded as one of the most effective way for people to recover from the effects of an addictive illness.

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