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Addiction is often described as being a disease of disconnection. What do we mean by this? When we are disconnected from our inner selves, from our intuition, from our purpose, we suffer a great deal. We struggle with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. We believe the worst about ourselves and develop limiting beliefs about ourselves and the world. We are deeply insecure and self-hating. We feel totally disconnected from our higher power and from the people we care about. Our addictions are the unhealthy coping mechanisms we develop to try to deal with our pain. The pain we feel from our disconnection can be severe. We can turn to addictive substances, relationships and behaviors in order to try and escape that pain. What causes this disconnection, and how can it lead to addiction?

Often when we are traumatized, the sheer shock and pain of our trauma causes us to want to block out parts of ourselves. We suppress memories. We reject entire elements of who we are. We try as hard as we can to forget anything at all related to our trauma. The problem is our trauma is a part of us. Unless we confront it, its pain will continue to fester within us, growing stronger, more destructive, and more debilitating over time. We want to disconnect from the parts of us that are suffering. We want to disconnect from anything and anyone that reminds us of our pain. We want to numb ourselves and avoid our pain as much as possible. This causes us to disconnect from our emotions, especially the most difficult ones, such as our sadness, grief, fear and shame. We don’t confront our thoughts and feelings head on. We run from them and try to hide from them. This disconnection brings us further and further away from our true selves, causing us even more unhappiness in the process.

When we’re in deep emotional pain, we tend to isolate and separate ourselves from the people who care about us. We’re ashamed of our addictions and mental health issues. We’re afraid of being judged, criticized, shunned and rejected. We want to be left alone with our bad habits. When we disconnect from the people in our lives, we tend to become even more sad and afraid. Our feelings of loneliness and hopelessness worsen. We turn to our addictions for comfort and solace.

When we look at addiction as a form of disconnection, it’s easy to see just how the ways in which we disconnect in our lives could lead to developing addictive patterns. The solution, therefore, is to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones as much as possible as part of our healing.

The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and the feelings of hopelessness and disconnection that come with it. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.