Do you struggle with any kind of addiction? Well, I should say, what is your addiction? Everyone has one. Each addiction is held to society’s standards which they live in. For example, here in America, overworking is praised while in other mature countries, it’s looked down upon as it makes you unproductive. Some addictions are needed parts of life. Like food. Sobriety isn’t starving yourself to death. So, how do you define Sobriety in human needs addiction? We follow an acronym “S.A.F.E.S.”
Secret, Abusive, Feelings, and Empty
Is it a secret? So, are you in the closet eating a doughnut? Are you hiding your financials from your SO because you are spending that money on sketchy massage places? How about other things? How about eating out to hide those emotions? If you can’t tell your SO, accountability partners, etc… It might be a good idea to leave it alone. I know it’s a hard concept because it’s simple.
This one is really important. Is it abusive? Is the intent of eating xyz to damage you? To feed some core emotion? Is your long showers really good for you? How about buying that on amazon? Drinking that drink? How is it abusive to yourself? At first it’s hard to see if something is abusive to yourself. So, it’s important to look at your behavior in your addiction to see if it is. Sometimes we will take naturally happening items and say its abusive. For example, when a guy sees a woman and thinks she is attractive and focuses on what he sees as attractive. This is natural. Men are designed to see sexual compatibility. Now, if he takes it to the next level and starts the chase while being married, that is more abusive. At the end of that road is just pain and loneliness.
Another example would be politics. I spoke with a young lady who didn’t know if playing a black character in a game was racist. She spent hours and ended up crying in a corner. This is self-abuse. This was not a safe line of thinking for her. Abuse can come in many forms and each addiction has it’s own structure.
Feelings and abusive oftentimes go hand in hand. For example, when I am depressed, I will go out and eat. This is abusive to my finances and my body. However, it helps the depressive state I am feeling. Instead of addressing the feelings, I am masking my feelings. I have seen people drugs, sex, alcohol, and more. If you find yourself wanting to hide away from what you are feeling, what you are doing might not be safe. It’s always better to address the feelings instead of masking them. A bandaid can’t fix a broken arm.
Masking your feelings will leave you empty. If you start feeling emptiness and or loneliness, it’s time to pull back and ask yourself if what you are doing is part of S.A.F.E.S. or not. That loneliness will eat you alive and leave you in a space where you can’t see yourself anymore. Over time, you can start seeing additional issues crop up to hide the issues that you are using to mask. That emptiness is destructive.
I have added Shame to Overeater’s anonymous. Shame can come in healthy and toxic forms. If you are feeling a sense of worthlessness, self-hate and more. It’s time to run. Run as fast as you can. Call your accountability partner. Call upon your higher power. Do something. you are not what your mind is telling you at this point. You have entered the results of the unsafe cycle. What you are doing or going to do will bring you down and more than likely lead to a full relapse.
Just imagine a safe and each action you take should go through that safe. If you have more than one issue, like myself, it’s best to have a few of these safes. Don’t let the secret control what you do. Avoid self-abuse. It’s not ok to mask the emotions for too long as it brings emptiness and breath toxic shame into your life. Keep a sticky note with “S.A.F.E.S.” in your car, on the monitor of your computer. The refrigerator at the house. The candy jar, and any other place that you might find yourself doing actions outside of the safes.