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How Normalizing Addiction Detracts From Our Healing

Sometimes one of the ways in which we cope with our addictions is to normalize them and treat them as if they are acceptable, reasonable parts of our lives that we can treat normally. We normalize everything we go through as if it’s not problematic. We tell ourselves that the struggles we’re going through are just how life is, full of difficulty and pain and that we shouldn’t make a big deal about it, complain about it, or draw attention to it. We convince ourselves that it’s normal to suffer. We tell ourselves that because addiction runs in the family and/or is rampant in our communities, it’s totally normal for us to experience what so many of our family and community members have. We tell ourselves we’re strong for pushing through our pain, rather than making the necessary changes to be happy and at peace. The problem with normalizing our addictions lies in how desensitized we become to them. We start to forget just how much pain we’re actually in. We come to accept our suffering, and we make the choice to try and get over it and push through it, often sweeping it under the rug and treating it as if it’s nothing when in fact it’s everything.

When we normalize our struggles with addiction, we take our focus and energy away from healing and recovery. We don’t give thought to how we can address the multiple layers of mental and emotional distress we’re coping with. We don’t honor ourselves or our pain when we try to pretend we’re not suffering. We don’t allow ourselves to move through our difficulties when we avoid the truth of just how challenging they’ve become. We often try to pretend as though we’re fine to keep people from worrying about us. We don’t want their concern or their judgment. We also deny our problems with addiction to ourselves because we’re not ready to face the truth within ourselves about just how far we’ve fallen and how much work we have to do to get better. We’re afraid to do the work, so we normalize things as they are instead.

The pain we experience as part of our addictions is something so many of us can relate to. It’s a common and natural part of life for us as recovering addicts. When we normalize our pain, though, we’re not trying to gain a deeper understanding of it. We’re not looking for solutions or seeking out healing. The normalization of our addictions can, in fact, be another way in which we use denial and avoidance as coping mechanisms, and it can be another form of escapism. We want to really face our addictions head-on and take stock of just how powerful they are, without normalizing them and making light of them.

The caring, compassionate staff of The Guest House is here to support you as you start your journey to recovery and healing. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.