When we say we are addicted to misery, it doesn’t mean we enjoy being miserable. It means that we are addicted to a pattern of behaviors we have unconsciously developed to protect ourselves. At some point, possibly early in childhood, our wires got crossed and we ended up with a deeply ingrained pattern of choices, behaviors, or blindness to choices, that do not serve our well-being.
At the center of this pattern of behaviors we find avoidance, self-sabotage and a fear of losing what we have. This pattern may create a fog. In this fog we miss deadlines, waste opportunities, and see no point in accepting help offered to us. On a very basic level, a part of us has given up.
We may have used other addictions or compulsions to create avoidance. These serve the dual purpose of giving us a security blanket which offers comfort and helps us avoid our misery, fear and/or hopelessness. Some of our secondary addictions include excessive use of: food, shopping, illness, work, gambling, sex, exercise, clutter, over spending or being in debt. It may also include over or under use of technology, including: TV, news or game playing.
Other avoidance behaviors include codependence, caretaking, self-abuse, self-denial, sleeping too much or too little, under-earning or addiction to alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine and other chemicals.
We crave avoidance like an alcoholic craves a drink.
We have developed plans that would make our lives better and then suddenly forget or abandon our plan when our pattern of self-sabotage takes over. If this happens many times, we experience a loss of self-trust. As our lives become littered with more failures, we may become convinced that we ourselves are failures.
So, what’s the use?
Here are some good reasons for facing this addiction: Because we were born, our lives have value. We deserve to reclaim our inner, authentic selves. Recovery from other addictions will be successful when the addiction to misery is addressed. We’ll be healthier because as we heal emotionally, our bodies will heal, too. By learning to access and embrace feelings of joy and happiness, we will be blessed with an abundance of intimacy, fulfillment and serenity.
What do we do next?
Even if we can’t fully embrace the Misery concept yet, we can begin by working the Steps – coming to meetings and speaking, listening and sharing, doing readings, being the time keeper, leading meetings and getting a sponsor can all aid our Recovery.
We finally have Hope. Together we can do this. Many have recovered and we can too.
When things start going well, you get afraid.
Then, when people try to help you, they almost always suggest things that make you feel more afraid. Then you have to ignore them or push them away to get relief from the pressure they put on you.
We get it.
Misery Addicts and Self-Sabotagers Anonymous (MASSA) proposes a new possibility for you - a way to feel better without feeling so scared.
You're invited to join in on our online meetings.
Hope to see you there!
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