reality 3If you are like most addicts, you are unaware of parts of yourself, including your feelings. Without that self-knowledge, you misperceive your own reality. (Patrick Carnes)

Our feelings and emotions have a great guiding purpose in our life, if we lose contact with them or misperceive them we get lost quickly. It isn’t easy creating an addiction. We may quickly fall in love with our drug of choice but to create and maintain an addictive lifestyle requires the creation of numerous supporting and sustaining elements. We do, after all, have to live with ourselves and in doing that, we find a little misperceived reality very, very helpful. When we are doing something that we believe to be morally wrong, we must rearrange our values and beliefs to accommodate the behavior.

That presents a reality about recovery. Just as addiction is created and maintained by a number of dysfuctions, the antidote is not just one pill, but a cocktail of skills, understanding, behaviors and attitudes that the addict must assemble and gather.

Take Victim Stance for example. When we are the victim, justification and rationalization are being manufactured by the barrel by our addict emotional management system. We develop the ability to turn most any situation to the slant that we are being mistreated. When we are the victim of this poor treatment we feel deserving of what ever we want. (That would be entitlement.)

Rule number two of the Rules of Recovery, requires us to stop believing our own BS. Apply the rule whenever the urge to play the victim card rises within you.

Perhaps one of the dearest misperceivings and incidentally, one of the hardest for the addict to recognize, is the voracious desire to control. We want to control what others are thinking, doing and saying. There is just no end to what we want to control. We sanctimoniously feel we do know best, while those we love and live with feel manipulated, used, unheard, diminished, and unloved. Then we are just flabbergasted that our relationships don’t seem to be going very well.

Perhaps the most damaging of our misperceived realities is our addict voice (something we often speak of as denial). We believe his half truth, self-serving lies. The addict voice sustains our addict reality and allows us to follow the behaviors of our compulsion. Learning to recognize our addict voice and turning it off is a prerequisite for developing healthy emotional management.