Eventually the person is fully aware of their addiction and is no longer able to deny it.
‘But since hiding the truth from oneself is no longer as effective, it becomes increasingly important to hide it from other people. Now the addictive behavior becomes more secretive; the person may hide bottles and consciously lie.’
4. Delaying Tactics
‘in virtually ever major addiction, there comes a time when one resolves to master it…[and] decides to quit… Sensing an impending frontal attack upon its addiction, the mind comes up with the most cunning, inventive strategies possible… The mind will suggest, perhaps, that it is not wise to rush into such things.
“I need to think this through and decide carefully when and how to quit and what my reasons and strategies will be.”
The “resolving to resolve” stage can effectively prohibit any real action from taking place for years at a time.
Other procrastinations include looking for an ideal time to stop.
- “I’ll wait until Lent; it would be a good spiritual discipline.”
- “I can’t stop yet because it will make me anxious and irritable for a while, and I have all this important work to attend to.”
- “I’m really not feeling well enough right now.”
- “Maybe I should pray about it and God will show me when and how to quit.”
- “The next time I have a blackout, that will be the sign that it’s time to quit.”
- “What I’ll do is go and drink and drink until I get sick of it, and then I’ll really want to quit.”
- “Well, this is it. I’m going to quit. This is the red-letter day. I’ll have a drink to celebrate.”
5. “I Can’t Handle It”
‘Repeatedly failed resolutions eventually lead to depression and to some kind of admission of defeat… the person simply surrenders to the addiction… If the person is sophisticated in the language of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, she is likely to try to convince herself that this, finally, is the rock-bottom surrender that will somehow save her. But the “higher power” to which she is surrendering is not God; it is the addiction itself.”’
Or, the person may approach it more aggressively and simply say “Who cares? What difference does it make?” and continue on believing there is no longer a reason to stop.”
6. “I Can Handle It”
At some point, the person can find some sense of freedom and control over their addiction. But at some other point in the near distant future, be it a few days or months, the person falls into old patterns. “Everything was going so well, and I Wasn’t even thinking about drinking, but all of a sudden there I was, with a drink in my hand, and I was already feeling high.” At this point, “I am free” becomes “I can handle it.” They begin to believe that they can engage in this behavior without being “addicted to it.”
- “I’m moderating it.”
- “No more than three snorts a day.”
- “I only drink on social occasions where it would be embarrassing to say no.”
- “I only have on drink before supper.”
- “I take a pill or two only on weekends.”
- “It’s not the occasional beer that gets me in trouble, it’s the hard stuff.”
At this point, the person completely gives up and “without even the wil to resist, the use of the chemical increases dramatically, further impairing judgment.” The rationalizations change and take on new forms.
- “If I could just get a hundred thousand dollars, my life would be different.”
- “I’m going to leave everything and start life all over again in another country.”
- “If it weren’t for my boss treating me the way he did, I wouldn’t be in this state. He doesn’t deserve to live.”
- “It’s a lousy, rotten world anyway. Who cares what I do? I’ll show them I’m somebody.”
The final component/pattern of addiction is when the people in the addicted person’s life begin to “collude” or enable the addicted person. This well-known as “codependency.” “Ironically,” May says, “it is the most sympathetic, compassionate, loving persons in the addict’s social circle that are most likely to fall into such collusion.”
May even admits, professional medical or psychological helpers are by no means immune to this problem.
Physicians may prescribe other drugs to help people quit the primary chemical, thus producing multiple chemical addictions.
‘Psychotherapeutic help may prolong the addictive behavior while therapist and client spend months or years trying to uncover nonexistent childhood experiences to explain the addiction. It as if the therapist teaches the addicted person to think, “I have become addicted because of some personality defect or old psychological trauma. I must spend months, perhaps years, trying to identify and solve my psychological problems (and while all this goes on, I have an excuse to keep on being addicted).”’