Hole in the Soul

Sounds a little ambiguous but it does describe substance addiction and it also offers a short metaphoric statement about what folks of every description are trying to fill with their drug of choice. Ask any substance affected adult and they will agree that as children they thought they were probably at best adopted, or at worst were from another planet.

We often speak of behaviors that are a result of self protective habits in childhood. These thoughts were necessary ideas when we were six years old and down the road the ensuing habits helped us to survive in the jungle in our young minds. What we didn’t understand was that our behaviors, while protecting us from perceived and or actual danger, where actually pushing us further away from healthy socialization and successful integration into society.

Neil Swan, a Nida Notes Contributing Writer states, “Two important risk factors identified as predictors of later drug use are shy behavior described by the teachers as sitting alone, having few friends, and not speaking up in class and aggression, described as fighting with others or breaking rules. Shyness and aggression are types of poor social adaptation distinct from symptoms of anxiety or depression, which is internal feelings, noted the researcher.”( Nida Notes Volume 10, Number 1, January/February 1995).These maladaptive behaviors became entrenched and while children sought to be part of, the hole in they’re souls kept growing as they kept attempting to find ways to fill it up without having to drop protective shells.

When people begin to pull themselves out of unhealthy behaviors,  they are bringing with them the fears, perceptions and behaviors of that terrified child of so long ago. They come to therapy with an adult’s sense that the recovery process could work for them however they haven’t developed a skill set to back it up. There is very little to work with in the beginning as service providers meet them where they are at in their emotional development. The protective habit that created the gaping hole in their souls continues to grow as they continue to use the only thing they know and throw anything into it that might fill it up. Until trust is built and new habits are formed it’s a dangerous waiting game. Just dealing with survival barely keeps them from falling back into that sink hole. Relapse, and in today’s world , death.

Desperation is the hand that opens the door to recovery for the adult. Any assistance offered allows time to create new beliefs about oneself while working  a personal program that finally fills that gaping sinkhole with joy and life and a true sense of being part of the world…..finally.

                                                                                                    Yours in the Morning


Author: shawlj

I am on new ground now, finally free from many decades of ‘taking care of business’. The letters behind my name became an anchor that I have finally broken free from. You have a standing invitation to walk with me here, where the living is easy and uncluttered.

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