“Under every addiction is a truly gifted person struggling to BECOME.” – Sandy Walker
I got this insight one night as I was working with a person struggling with addiction. We (as a society) tend to judge those who are “addicts”. I’ve sat with grieving family members as they ask, “Why can’t he/she just STOP?! This addiction is tearing up our family.” Yes, it is. Addiction is a very painful thing to deal with – whether you are the person struggling with addiction or whether you are the loved one.
Many of us, facing holiday gatherings, will encounter friends or family members who use a substance or a compulsive behavior to help them cope. Before you turn a critical eye on them, I’d like to reframe the picture for you.
Here is an individual who is truly gifted. They’ve been sent here to earth to accomplish a mission. They carry answers inside of them that someone needs. But somehow, they didn’t get what they needed when they needed it. They WANT to contribute to society, to their family, to the world – to BE who they were made to be. But they hurt a lot inside … though they may never show it. They are scared. They have been rejected one too many times by people who should have been there for them. And often they’ve just given up on themselves. They’ve never been convinced that they are LOVED, that they are WORTHY, that they MATTER.
Something deep inside is missing or broken and it’s so deep that they can’t tell you what it is most of the time. They don’t understand it either. So not only are THEY struggling, they also have to deal with the shame they feel of letting down those they love. They see the looks, they know what you’re thinking, they hear it in your tone of voice or the way you ignore them. They are very, very sensitive to the way others treat them.
The holidays can be very hard for people who are struggling with addiction. Give them a break. Look at them differently this year. Give them space to grow and become. Be part of the solution by believing in them. They could use a friend. ♥