Addiction is so pervasive and all-consuming that it dominates our thoughts, emotions and behaviors until our lives are totally overtaken. One of the most destructive effects it can have is eradicating our sense of compassion and empathy. We become so consumed, obsessed even, with the subject of our addictions that we lose our connection to our souls, to our sense of morality, to other people. We’re only concerned with how we can maintain our high. Other people’s needs, concerns and wellbeing become less and less of a priority to us. The more our addiction takes hold of our lives, especially when we’re struggling to keep up with its demands, our lives become increasingly unmanageable and dysfunctional. We have less energy for caring about other people, for being a supportive or consistent friend, for being there for our families.
Addiction can remove our empathy and make us apathetic because our focus is now squarely on maintaining and preserving our high. It can make us insensitive, self-absorbed and selfish because our priorities have changed drastically in order to keep our addiction fed and satiated. We start to lose our connection to our own values. We start doing things we’re ashamed of but feel less remorse. We feel less regret for our mistakes. We’re able to treat our loved ones with indifference and nonchalance. Their feelings recede in importance for us.
Addiction, like any other traumatic experience, can cause us to develop a resentment and bitterness about our struggles, our addictions, our lives. We can have a chip on our shoulder, feeling as though the world is out to get us. We see ourselves as victims, as being powerless, as having bad luck in life. We think it’s our lot in life to struggle, to be addicts, to be crushed by painful life experiences. The more this resentment festers, the more it can develop into an apathy that can make us separate from other people and isolate ourselves. We start to see other people, and the world, through a lens of bitterness, anger and mistrust. We don’t see other people as our allies. We don’t want to accept their support when they offer it. We reject people and any connection they might want with us, because our addictions have made us build walls around our hearts to try and protect ourselves, distance ourselves, to separate and disconnect. Recovering from our addictions means reconnecting with our inner selves, with the authentic, true parts of ourselves that are filled with love, empathy and compassion.
At Vista Taos, we work with you to heal mind, body and spirit for a strong foundation for a successful recovery. Call (575) 613-4810 for more information on our treatment programs.