Can Envy Contribute to Addiction and Mental Illness?

We know that our addictions are often the coping mechanisms we develop to deal with intense pain, but we don’t always explore in depth what those sources of pain are for us. We feel deep sadness and fear that contribute not only to our addictions but also to our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, but where do our sadness and fear come from? For many of us, perhaps more of us than would care to admit it, our pain comes from feeling inadequate and inferior compared to other people. We feel envious of others and easily threatened by them. Sometimes when we’re compelled to turn to our drug of choice, an addictive substance, behavior or relationship, it is our envy we’re most trying to escape feeling. It hurts to feel bitterness, resentment and hatred towards people who have what we crave for ourselves. It hurts to see other people happy when we’re suffering. It’s hard to be happy for people when inside we’re feeling so much anguish, so much disappointment in ourselves, so much shame, regret and self-hatred. Envy can be a major catalyst for our mental and emotional imbalance as well as for our addictions. The pain we feel from envy can easily contribute to our mental illnesses, and we often will use our drugs of choice to make ourselves feel better, to temporarily distract ourselves from how bad we feel about ourselves, and to try and escape the pain of our low self-esteem and insecurity.

When we see others excelling in their respective fields, accomplishing goals, and achieving the same things we want for ourselves, we can start to resent their happiness and success and begrudge them their blessings instead of focusing on how we can manifest those blessings for ourselves. This tendency of ours is a total misuse of our energy. It keeps us locked in negative thought patterns of comparing ourselves to other people, competing with them, feeling threatened by them, and feeling as though we have to outshine them. It keeps us focused on other people rather than on ourselves, and it keeps us from healing our insecurities.

What we often don’t realize is that this is an abundant world we’re living in. There is an abundance of talent, gifts and strengths, and each of us is blessed with a unique combination of them. There is an abundance of love and support available to each of us. We’re not actually in competition with one another. We each are special and unique, incomparable and irreplaceable. The more we grow in self-love, the more we stop feeding our fears of inadequacy and inferiority, the more we can heal ourselves from within, making recovery possible for us.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.