Access Consciousness® is full of incredibly brilliant people who are taking their expertise in a multitude of areas, using the Access Consciousness® tools, and creating new paradigms and approaches that far surpass “the state of the art” in many areas and professions.
One of these is Marilyn Bradford, MSSW, who has decades of experience in working with issues of addiction and recovery. She added the tools of Access Consciousness® to her psychotherapy practice in Austin, TX, and has found her results have improved dramatically. She is co-creator, with Access Founder Gary Douglas, of Right Recovery for You, which uses the Access Consciousness® tools to put an end to addictions of all kinds.
Access Consciousness® has a different point of view on just about everything, and addiction and recovery is no exception.
Here is some wisdom from Bradford on what addiction really is, as well as some tips to assist you in dealing with it.
While many people look at the addictive substance—the drugs, the alcohol, the gambling—as the problem, Bradford has a different take on what addiction really is. “I look at addiction as a place where people can go to disappear,” she says. “It’s never about what the target of the addiction is, it’s about how the person uses the substance or behavior.”
Addiction, in Bradford’s experience, is “a place where people can get relief from feelings of being overwhelmed, from the pain of judging themselves, from the feelings of not fitting in and of not knowing how to handle the awarenesses they don’t want to have. This flight from self and awareness is really the core of addiction and is more important than how the addiction shows up.”
- A sense that the person is not really present with you. They always seem a bit distracted, often because they’re thinking about their addiction and when they can justify doing it again.
- There’s a compulsive, “I-have-no-choice” component to their behavior. Essentially, they have denied who they truly are (infinite being) and have made someone or something outside of themselves more powerful and an absolute necessity in their lives.
- There is always a reason or justification, no matter how insane, for their behavior. This looks like, “I drank because,” “I had to work on Christmas because,” “I just criticize you because…”
- They will always choose their behavior over you. “Addicts live in their own encapsulated universes. They have their own reality, their own rules, and you are not actually included. No one and nothing else actually matters. You only exist to an addict as an object in their fantasy world.”
The above is “one of the hardest concepts for people to grasp,” Bradford notes. “Addicts can seem like caring people, and they may be if and when they let go of their addiction, but until then, it is them and their drug of choice against the world.”
- Addicts do not know how to receive, except from their drug of choice.
“I’ve had clients tell me that the only thing that gives them comfort is when they are feeling ‘wrong,’ when they have a cigarette, or when they are spending money.
“When you try to give to an addict, it is either rejected with anger or it is taken in, more is asked for, and no matter what you give it is never enough.”
- Addicts have a sense or belief that they are inherently wrong. This may be part of what they’re escaping from. It may show up as extreme defensiveness or an adamant insistence that they are right.
- Some lack of social and/or coping skills. While feeling uncomfortable around other people is not enough to say someone has an addiction, the feeling of not fitting in and their differentness being wrong often fuels that desire to escape.
“Addicts are rarely ‘easy’ in this world. Spontaneity, real relaxation, joy (not mania) are rarely present for addicts,” Bradford has observed.
Is some of this is starting to look familiar, even though you don’t have a problem with alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or anything else commonly labeled as an addiction? Awareness is the first step in changing anything, and Access Consciousness® has lots of tools that can change anything in your life that you’d like to change.
Sometimes the behavior of addiction can be present even without drug or alcohol problems. If that applies to you, you might consider some addictions Bradford has identified that are often over-looked. They include perfectionism, being right, being wrong, judgment or criticism, being a victim, being addicted to polarity and to this reality.
How would you identify these less common kinds of addiction? Bradford has suggestions about what they would look like. Perfectionism is the addiction to being perfect, which can never be achieved. You can’t leave for the party because your hair isn’t exactly right, for example, and your hair is never exactly right.
Someone addicted to being right is unable to tolerate criticism of any kind. Bradford worked with a child who was having trouble in school because she couldn’t tolerate hearing that she was inaccurate about anything. This creates confusion in those around the person because they are so convincing about being right, that the others begin to doubt themselves.
Someone addicted to being wrong can be frustrating to those around them because nothing you do or say can convince them otherwise. Nothing you can do or say about anything they’ve accomplished or been has any effect on them.
The addiction to criticism or judgment shows up as the addict only being okay if they are judging someone. The person they judge can be others, or it can be themselves. The addiction to judgment shows up both ways. The insanity in dealing with this kind of addict is that there is nothing you can do to overcome their judgment or criticism because it’s not about what they’re criticizing or judging—it’s about their addiction to the process of judging.
The addiction to being a workaholic often goes unnoticed in our society, where working and making money are valued as a good thing. If you live with someone who meets the characteristics of addiction as listed above, you might ask yourself if their addiction is to work.
If you find yourself living with any kind of addict, you could also ask yourself if you’re addicted to “helping” others. Bradford has a caution just for you: “Remember,” she says, “You are not helping others if you are keeping them from having the consequences of what they have chosen or created.”
More information about Bradford’s work in facilitating others to recover from addictions, obvious and otherwise, is available at www.marilynbradford.accessconsciousness.com