Setting expectations too high is societies curse, which is why government and partners fail us and media is flooded at this time of year with detox trivia, diet plans and resolutions. Don’t encourage them, be stylish – wait till February – or when you feel you want to, rather than need to just because it’s New Year. January is the time for looking back, not unplanned impulsive action. See where you have gone awry first. Take note of Dickens little orphan boy Pip in Great Expectations, “take nothing on it’s looks; take everything on evidence : there’s no better rule”.
It’s a pity that we take many things on first looks often without resort to reality, living a dream. It’s easy to be optimistically romantic in a club then discover 6 weeks later knee deep in “a relationship” that he’s psychotic, a compulsive liar or an addict. It pays to do detail sooner. Although the Pythons insisted that we look on the bright side of life, optimism is another word for denial so best if you face facts quickly, take everything on evidence and move on. Denial is an unconscious defence mechanism, which is why it’s so rampant, and therefore part of our core survival system.
None of us can survive our lives without a certain amount of denial to keep us in balance, but with denial in regards to addiction, the denial is taken to extreme and since gayers have a habit of breaking conventional bounderies, we are more prone to addiction, because we often have no boundary of when to stop and grow up. We don’t want the party, unconscious spending, cruising addiction and the chems to end – but if we don’t take stock, look back over the year, the end will come sooner than expected.
Why do people deny they need help? There are many reasons for denial in addiction. One reason is that most users don’t like to feel helpless and out of control and ironically, to observers, this is exactly what addicts are portraying. Bob Mandel of the Loving Relationship Training said ” the only guru you need are the results in your life “, but any addict or compulsive user often refuses to face facts, relying instead on the expectation that it will all end with a wave of a magic wand. It won’t. The addict will blame everything and everyone except their own substance abuse for their problems. One of the reason why chems are the lifeboat of the scene is that the chemical dependent may be using drugs or alcohol to cover up numb or unpleasant feelings and by stripping away the denial, the unpleasant feelings will come to the surface. That’s why fear of detox keeps the compulsive user using. The last few weeks will have sorted the men from the boys, top this with office parties and extra socialising in December it’s no wonder we crave a detox, a rest or show the white flag for the New Year. It’s expected now that we slow down and the majority will, but many will be living with a nightmare partner, flatmate or family member with the party still in full swing. If you are – seek help. You may not help the addict but you can stop yourself getting drawn into manipulated guilts, codependency and the false expectation they will wake up and come out of their coma of justification.
While not all substance abusers have suffered past traumas in their lives, an inordinate amount have. Child, sexual & physical abuse is common in the addicted population. For gayers add secrets, withheld emotions, homophobia and shame to the mix. But, no matter what the cause is of the denial, the important part is that the addict ( or anyone close to the addictive person ) confront the defense mechanism head on. This may be by what some addicts describe as “hitting bottom” , job loss, health scare or can come from confrontation with family, friends or through the court systems for possession or drunk driving.
Many times an addict will lose a job, friends or family relationships because of the addiction but still find enablers to supply. Denial in addiction is not a linear course, either. The addict may be in denial at some times, and facing reality at others, so addiction in denial may be fluid especially in the beginning stages of looking at themselves or in recovery. Even for those who are far along the recovery path, falling off the wagon and denial can strike at any time and will need to be overcome once again to get back on track. Linkin Park talked about confronting denial best in their song “Breaking the Habit” when they said, “I’ll paint it on the walls, ’cause I’m the one at fault” in acknowledgement that a habit is indeed a personal disease for which one needs to take responsibility in order to break free.
More people consider REHAB in January than at any other time of year but the real test of whether you are in an addictive compulsive spiral is to stop and see how far you get without your poison be it alcohol, chems, escorts, food, internet or procrastination. Expect nothing and allow yourself to feel anything, even a feeling of surrender and freedom. Bare in mind that there are more compulsive dependents than addicts, but addiction will always grab you by the balls when it goes unobserved – as any crack head or meth abuser will confirm. Best if you observe now, take stock, tell the truth to someone and seek help in the areas that control you.
It’s not about stopping the party it’s about knowing when to leave. Look at your life, check the evidence, own it and then decide what needs changing. Don’t expect someone else to do it for you.
Contact me for specialised 3 hour Coaching Sessions or other support services can be found at http://www.theswarmite.com/urban-addictions Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have regular LGBT meetings in London – check Google for information.
Antidote in London is a free LGBT Drug & Alcohol advisory service : http://www.antidote-lgbt.com/howwecanhelp.htm