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How Addiction Affects Our Instincts

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Addiction, just like depression, can totally interfere with the normal functioning of our instincts. Whereas we naturally would work in our best interests, addiction can cause us to instinctively work against ourselves. We become self-destructive. Our instincts for self-preservation go out the window. Our main focus is not on our health and well-being but on getting our fix and holding onto the high. We aren’t self-protective. We don’t care for ourselves. Our relationships with ourselves suffer.

Addiction and depression can completely alter our perception of ourselves. We can become self-hating. We drown in feelings of shame and regret. We create a self-image based on self-rejection rather than self-love, and we build our lives around this image. We don’t feel deserving of love, kindness or respect, so we settle for relationships that reflect back to us our feelings of insecurity and unworthiness. We don’t feel we deserve forgiveness for our past mistakes and wrongs, so we are constantly berating, belittling and judging ourselves. We deny ourselves our own compassion and understanding. We become our own harshest critics. We seem to become proponents for our own demise rather than our success. We compete with other people and never feel like we measure up.

Having such a skewed sense of self can impact how we view the world. Sometimes we feel like the whole world, and the people in it, are out to get us. We feel powerless over the circumstances and events in our lives. We feel like the victims in our own narratives. We blame other people for our pain, and we struggle to take personal responsibility. Addiction can weaken our ability to look at ourselves objectively, to be courageous in our self-inventory, and to stay strong in our quest to improve ourselves. We can become self-pitying, negative and pessimistic.

When our perception of ourselves and the world is so tainted by addiction, it can negatively impact our instincts. We don’t have the normal instincts to want to be happy, to want to heal, to want to contribute to the world, to want to design a life we’re happy with. Our instincts aren’t to grow, learn, improve, build or succeed. Instead, we are self-deprecating, and our instincts are to hide away, to isolate ourselves, to retreat inward, to avoid people. We instinctively put ourselves down and hold ourselves back. We put ourselves in harm’s way. We take chances with our safety. We self-harm. We even contemplate suicide. Addiction and depression have a way of manipulating our instincts to deepen our dependence on the substances, behaviors and emotions we’ve been clinging to. Working to heal from our addictions means understanding our instincts and working to return them back to a healthier state.

The holistic treatment programs at Enlightened Solutions will help you to heal, mind, body and spirit. Call (833) 801-LIVE today.

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