What I didn’t understand, when I was in the thick of my addiction was – why I was self destructing? I couldn’t articulate it at the time and it had been something that since my recovery have spent years researching and understanding. The depth of my understanding was also enhanced by my interactions with others. First as a participant of a recovery group for two years and then training to take it over as a facilitator with Relationships Australia. This witness of others articulating their pain and their own unique circumstances helped me to understand myself better and gain insight I would have never known.
The compassion I had always had, for helping other people, amplified. I then started speaking publicly about my journey through the Gambling Impact Society and then my mission became clear. What happened was audiences found the insights I shared about my journey, incredibly relatable to their own pain regardless of what it was. It wasn’t just gamblers I was speaking to, but people in the grip of life struggles, whether they be those in desperate need or those in roles that care for them. My vulnerability gave them a new access to their own life. People found themselves asking the same questions I did. Why am I doing this?? My story helped them with a pathway of new understanding of ones self.
It has become so clear to me that whilst not everyone is addicted to something, there is certainly a massive increase in people young and old, of any sex or race, affected by life struggles and overwhelm. So WHY are we, as a society who have more than any previous generation, become so prone to despair? Unsustainable environments.
Let me explain…
We, as human beings are not designed to live in unsustainable environments long term. These environments can be actual ones, e.g. school, workplace, marriage/relationships and home life or the most dangerous unsustainable environment, can be the one between your ears e.g. self loathing, regret, shame, guilt. It is particularly dangerous because it is not visible to others and it can be easily masked.
Imagine a child who faces relentless bullying day in, day out. They might try to seek help and it doesn’t work. If hope fades and one’s ability to see a way out diminishes, a fundamental shift happens and the body responds by trying to remove the person from their pain in a subconscious, reactive way. Fill in the blank of what that looks like, from self harm or a myriad of addictions to suicide.
A man, caught between being a provider with responsibilities to his family and sacrifices his own personal joy and purpose. He then acts inappropriately both at work and at home. Then he gets held down in shame and regret. Once again a variety of scenarios follows, most of them have negative, because he felt an inescapable pressure to endure an unsustainable environment.
It was 2 years into my recovery when I had the realisation and epiphany that whilst I loved my husband and children on a conscious level, my subconscious was trying desperately to wake me up from the nightmare I was living. Both my internal and external environments were completely unsustainable. My mind was constantly on overdrive, trying to cover up and conceal the damage my addiction had caused or I was completely drowning in regret and shame. I had no mental freedom or peace.
My home environment was completely unstable, with my husband’s depression, my addiction, running our own business, looking after the children and endless fights about money. My subconscious wanted out of the pain, out of this long term unsustainable environment, so my husband’s threats of ‘if you gamble again I will leave you’, were actually the driver NOT the deterrent! I was stunned. My addiction escalated in an attempt to end the marriage, as a way out of pain and I had no idea at the time, that this was happening!
Now this as I said happened 2 years into my recovery and it is the moment of clarity that helped me Transcend Recovery.