When I think about the upcoming workshop I’m holding using Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map process and addictions I honestly wish I could share it with everyone right this minute. I was pretty riled up this weekend about addictions and how they can tear individuals and families apart and all I could think about was this process of flipping everything we know on its head and achieving our goals in a spirit supporting way, decreasing the shame of our human failings and really expressing who we are without any hesitation or censure.
Addictions, which includes alcoholism in my definition, are a part of my past and present, my family and friends history and the shame they engender is overwhelming for most people until they learn that secrets really can kill us and bringing light to the darkness is critical. The more we bring addictions and how they affect us out into the open the faster the shame dissipates however the process of taking those first steps of disclosure can be truly excruciating.
I used to be a therapist and worked with substance abuse and trauma for many years, I’ve seen clients and my father die from it. I watch my husband struggle with it every day and I struggle with my own cravings and addictive tendencies. However I know the freedom that comes from accepting the fact that addictions do not equal loser or failure or forever fucked up and it is enormous. Addiction is a disease which means it can and is cured every single day.
You are not lost forever. You are not worthless and you are not to blame for the addiction itself although you are responsible for managing your behaviors for your sake and for those who love you.
How does this related to Desire Mapping? In every way.
Desire Mapping gives you permission to want what you want without judgement. Well, I want heroin thank you very much and I say that’s perfectly fine! You want it, accept that you want it and then plan for how not to act on that wanting. Once people are past the physical withdrawal it becomes critical to face and learn to handle the psychological components. The Desire Map helps you define, clearly and succinctly how you want to feel and teaches you to achieve your goals from that place, from the place you want to be right now without struggling over how.
No one truly wants to feel numb or hungover, we just want to avoid the emptiness or the anxiety or the hopeless feeling that nothing will ever get better. No one wakes up one day and sets out to burn their lives to the ground leaving a trail of broken promises and hearts behind them.
Addicts in general feel different. They feel odd, out of step, always searching for but never finding “home”, as if they are interacting with the world through a glass wall fearing exposure for the rotten person they believe themselves to be and yet needing to be seen because we all want to belong. Families and loved ones want to feel supportive yet often don’t know how to love the person while still setting and holding boundaries against the harmful behaviors of a person active in their addiction.
What we want as humans in general is to feel accepted, loved, seen with compassion for who we are and encouraged to reach for even more development. What we want is to feel alive, productive and creative and I can tell you that every active addict has a stifled creative nature so large that it must be given a channel for expression or it will continue to turn inward and contribute to the outward destruction.
Desire Mapping says your desire is your fuel. What you want is where you start. We don’t start with I’m going to stay sober forever. We don’t start with I’m leaving if he comes home drunk one more damn time. Those goals are too big and they miss the core of it all, it takes us too far into uncertainty so we say I want to feel in control of my urges today, for this hour, for this minute. I want to feel accepted (which starts from within) and how can I feel it? What does acceptance look like? Is it knowing I want to drink, accepting that the urge is perfectly ok but not acting on it? Is it exploring avenues of creation so that all that energy we’ve been holding back has somewhere safe to go?
What tiny part of myself can I accept right now and then use that to expand to another part and another? Is it possible for me to choose an emotion other than despair and if so what emotion would I like to feel and how do I stay there? Do I even know emotions exist other than happy or sad?How do I get distracted, wander off from that feeling and ease myself back into it time and time again throughout the day/night without feeling like a failure at this too?
Desire Mapping answers those questions in a loving way that still holds you personally responsible for your life. Yes you. No one can change the thoughts but you, no one can make the choices but you and the Desire Map process shows you how. If you can’t come to the workshop in Jan go get the book. If you’re out of money get yourself to the library and read it. Ask questions here with the contact form if you need clarification or visit my Facebook pages here and here where you’ll find art and words and Young Living essential oils.
If you want a workshop held where you live contact me, it might be possible for it to be brought to you, you never know unless you ask right?
In the meantime, just for today, please let yourself off the hook if you’re in addiction or if you love someone who is. You are not a loser if you love an addict. You are not anything that your disease says you are if you’re addicted. You deserve a life free from bondage please give yourself permission to feel happiness and peace. If you can’t feel it, imagine that you can and it will come.
Say to yourself in a mirror, “It’s ok. We’re going to find the answers we need and in this moment I accept you as is, no questions asked.Every day, every minute we get a chance to start over, it’s ok.” Sounds ridiculous but don’t underestimate the power of speaking that out loud even if you don’t believe it and guess what? You deserve to feel good and nothing will change until you make that a priority!
I am starting to think as a culture and a country we are suffering from complicated grief. We don’t seem to get over things anymore much as someone who has been hit time after time by life gets to a place where stuck-ness and sadness and rage become a constant state of existence.
We lack rituals for transitions unless you count sports events and I don’t. We don’t acknowledge that our children going from our laps to their peers hurts. The little girl who you used to take with you everywhere becomes a teen who hates you. It’s temporary but the little girl is gone and you must find something to love in this new creature giving you the finger. Saying goodbye to the younger child can be critical to forming a new relationship with a teen and then an adult and then a newlywed, etc.
Much time when I was still a therapist was spent helping parents acknowledge the sadness underneath their anger. Acknowledging that the 8 year child is gone and missed and this 14 year old isn’t much fun usually shifted everything to more solutions and less complaining. Rituals of saying goodbye and mourning the change helped immensely. Read the rest of this entry