Progressive transformations of personal character and relationships are central themes within narratives of addiction and addiction recovery. Entrapment within the self and its eroding effects on personal character are endemic features of addiction. Such entrapment goes by many names (narcissism, selfishness, self-centeredness), all reflecting a reordering of one’s needs and desires that morphs into near-total self-absorption—an entire orientation of being that shapes how we face the world and process reality. How one perceives, feels, thinks, judges, and acts are all transformed within this ever-shrinking capsule of self and the dominating self-drug relationship. The loss of control and creeping fear of impending insanity within the addiction experience require extreme defensive adaptations (the masks of addiction). Common among these defense mechanisms are distortions of reality (e.g., problem minimization and denial), elaborate rationalizations, overcompensation, increased grandiosity and arrogance, projection of blame on others, constant resentments (envy/ jealousy/ anger), narrow-mindedness, black-white / either-or… Continue reading

The First Step To Heal: The Power in Powerlessness – By Tommy Rosen

The first step in 12-step programs reads approximately as follows: “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.” The wisdom expressed in this step is amazingly powerful and transformative for everybody, not just those who struggle with acute addiction. All human beings are subject to the human condition, which includes a lot of struggle and suffering along with the joy of being alive.  Let’s take a deeper look at the messages this step provides. We are dealing here with two concepts: powerlessness and unmanageability. The unmanageability is a feeling that comes when everything seems overwhelming and out of control. Most people in recovery can relate to this terrible feeling, which almost always seems to accompany acute addiction. Admitting powerlessness is not something we love to do and yet, it is the cornerstone of a life of acceptance and humility. To admit one’s powerlessness… Continue reading