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DP as an addiction, not as an anxiety.

2010 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  person3
"Addiction is a dependence, on a behavior or substance, that a person is powerless to stop."

(source for quote)

...where did this start for me? I think it started with OCD and magical thinking. I was SO SICK of bad things happening, ie things not going my way, or life being boring, or someone not liking me, or not getting a material item i wanted ( material items were a big deal- i desparately wanted approval and from certain crowds, so i needed the material goods. I didn't understand real friendship; i craved power, so I didn't just make friends...I had to re-invent myself to make the RIGHT friends)...I was also so afraid of losing something, such as losing the house to a fire, or one of my parents dying (I literally was scared to death my mom would die for- get this- the reason that at age 12 I didn't want to go buy my own "feminine products"...yeah I guess you can say I have a hard time in the love and quality time department, more concerned about getting my needs met and using people for those needs; trying to be self sufficient.)

lack of faith in things working out, lack of faith and trust in others to get what they needed for me (like being randomly locked out of the house because no one was there to unlock the door, at ages 8 to 10 or so), getting yelled at for random reasons, etc. Man life was unpleasant. So I had two objectives.

A) do everything by myself if possible
B) make no mistakes the first time because if something bad happens no one will be there to back me up. They weren't there before, not at home, not in summer camp, not in school. Assholes everywhere, scared little kid.


How the hell do I prevent anything bad from ever happening in the future? I started obsessing. If I left the door opened at a 45 degree angle rather than 30 degrees, if I entered a room with my right foot, if I didn't think a certain thought...then nothing bad would happen.

Sounds a lot like ocd. Addiction to the ocd behavior, which would later help pique my interest in marijuana use, as I heard it alleviated OCD symptoms. (didn't work TOO well i guess...)


but it made me think about addiction.

addiction is, in my eyes, a way of CONTROLLING how you feel and when you will feel it. You do a ritual or have a behavior or take a drug or develop a habit that will a) provide release and sometimes pleasure b) alleviate anxiety, and c) most importantly, change reality for you when you can't change reality.

Alcoholics and drug users and overeaters and the OCD kid all have the same thing with different symptoms.

Why am I posting this in the main DP board then?

Because we are addicted to FEELINGS. We are addicted to controlling and directing WHEN to feel WHAT emotion or WHEN to have WHAT element of reality go OUR way. We may be emotionally numb now (at least some of us), but it's not because we're incapable of feeling. It's that we've spent so long trying to control which feelings to have instead of letting things take their course in life, that, as Janine pointed out in her little boy post (hehe...) we are actually still trying to control and force feelings and it's not working for us anymore. We've been doing this a long time, addicted to this practice, that like alcohol, the substance has a different effect after a while.

We are addicted to the placement and timing of feelings and events and emotions not JUST to feel good (that's only a tiny part ), but to avoid feeling BAD at the wrong time. Sometimes we wanted to feel bad. But on our own terms. We wanted to feel bad in a way we could indulge in and control. We basically wanted to get something for ourselves out of every emotion. To compensate for feeling bad, since we believe we are OWED a life of not feeling bad, we try to get something good from it.

Or when we want to feel good, we control when that comes. Keep it in measured doses.

I'm starting to understand, at least intellectually, what Janine meant by surviving one's own feelings. The addict rations out his day of this behavior or that substance to alter his moods, that way he knows what is going to come up and not get any more unpleasant surprises.

(My addictive personality is so bad that sometimes I would rather feel BAD on hydrocodones than NOT SO BAD sober, because I can engineer the downward spiral on the hydros and it's more FUN.)

I won't get too preachy about this but going to AA meetings has really been an amazing help for me, although i'm not FEELING great now I am starting to understand a lot of things. AA is not really about getting one sober to me, it's a program like any other 12 step program that will help someone when they're willing to admit that their own plans aren't working and that they are ready to surrender and change.

The reason why I wanted to mention addiction, AA, etc, is that I really found a lot of benefit by viewing my DP from the stance of an addiction disorder rather than an anxiety disorder. It made me realize that I wasn't the victim of some random flying saucers of panic. It made me see my own devious part in it...oh no, I wans't a victim at all, I was ENGINEERING it. Because it was addiction. The addiction itself I could be a victim of, but my giving into it and going down that path was my own work.

I think that a lot of us, somewhere in the backs of our brains, secretly (even secret from ourselves), WANT the anxiety and panic. Why? Because then we can say "oh, look, this is anxiety and panic, it must be subdued by (this) or (that)", AND because if we blame it on anxiety and panic we don't have to admit to ourselves that we have a problem with SOME form of addiction. (when I say addiction, I mean ANY kind of behavior that helps one deviate from reality, from one's own feelings, from the truths in one's life, etc. from accepting reality as it is. this doesn't have to be the use of chemicals. It can be the use of psychological defenses like denial.)

Yes, part of our "OH MY GOD I'M SO SCARED WHAT IS HAPPENING" is something we WANT! As long as we are swimming in fear, we don't have to face CHANGING our addictive patterns/mindsets/behaviors. it keeps us BUSY to stay in panic.

Oh of course you don't want to FEEL that way, no, not on the surface. But you would probably rather feel that way than surrender all your manipulations, addictions, denials, half-truths, ideals. You would rather feel this craziness than stop doing what you are doing in life.

So I really think we should start looking at this as an addiction-based disorder, an addiction to molding reality to our needs. I think that some research on addiction and recovery from addiction would be helpful in making sense of some of our behaviors. I think that a lot of beleifs that a typical drug/alcoholic mindset has are EXACTLY like ours.

It was so funny...I was so angry and in my own head during one of the AA meetings, that I couldn't concentrate on what was going on. And then I realized that half the people that had spoken during the meeting had said something about being too much in their own head. It made me realize that I was just like them with different symptoms. Or, another time I was beating myself up over something, obsessing over it, and ruminating over it. And someone said to me "that is an alcoholic trait." and it clicked and disappeared. A ha, I thought. That makes total sense. The soloution I was trying to find in my head would have never come...the thing I was upset over didn't matter, it was the FACT that I was obsessing over it, was creating a need for me to somehow escape addiction mindset!

anyway just some thoughts.
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I have nothing to add to this thread, I just wanted to say that after reading you're post alot of things that didn't make sense, now seem clear. I also always "knew" that there were many many underlying problems that I was terrified of facing. My mentality is such that I would rather be on the verge of insanity than stare truth in the face and take stock of my life and the direction I'm heading in.

It seems as if I'm on the extreme side of the addictive personality. I use music, movies, books, and other material distractions to conciously create very precise emotions. Because I'm such a pessimistic person these emotions are often negative but I would rather be depressed on my own terms than try to make my life better. My fear is such that even now as I type this I DON'T want to let go of this emotional dynamic. The world is just too scary to face without my continual quest to alter my reality to what suits me. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get out of this cycle but I wanted to thank you for you're insights. It gives me alot more to think about, but perhaps now my own analysis will be more constructive.
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