Connection: The Anecdote to Addiction and Depression
As addiction and depression rates continually surpass record numbers year after year, experts in the field, and concerned loved ones, have begun to question the treatment methods and theories around the diseases. There is hardly any question that the current solution of punishment, whether it’s imprisonment, isolation, financial burdens, or lingering ultimatums, is not the answer to helping people get their lives back.
The solution, or anecdote, is by no means a novel idea for those who have worked through Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous and similar programs. The anecdote creates or reestablishes connections with family, friends, community, and the inner self. The importance of physical and emotional connection is frequently overlooked. Despite recent social trends that celebrate staunch self-reliance, we are hardwired for existing as a tribe.
Humans are born on account of connection and depend on it for survival, health, and happiness. Looking back at our ancestors, isolation or exile was synonymous with death. While the threat is not nearly as severe in our current time, there is still a biological need deep within our existence for belonging. When this need is not met, whether as a child or an adult, it opens the door for problems to arise, and we often seek out comfort in unhealthy methods.
Even though connection is a fundamental need, many people are hindered from establishing authentic bonds with others, and themselves, due to trauma, instability in their childhood, or various other causes. During our school years (and even afterward), we learn to read, write, solve intricate and complex problems, and many of us have taken a general course in health. Still, we are typically not educated on our human needs, especially the vital importance and impacts of connecting with others.
Mindful Living Group values this essential element. The staff is meticulously trained and knowledgeable in their approach to addiction. Through empathy, compassion, community, and education, they are eager to assist you in taking your life back so that you may experience oneness with yourself and others.
Healing, Recovery, And Connecting With Your Authentic Self
Contrary to the belief that has been held for the past few decades, addiction is not a disease caused by substances. Addiction is a symptom of social and inner disconnection.
Disconnection is typically the result of trauma. Renowned Canadian physician Gabor Maté explains the impact of trauma on a person is less the external event that took place, but rather what occurred in the psyche. Maté states,
“when psychological trauma happens, our psyches become more rigid and harder and less flexible.”
The ability to connect with others and with ourselves becomes impaired. We may become overly cautious, avoid vulnerability, and create a façade to make our authenticity out of fear of rejection and emotional pain.
Reconnecting with yourself is possible and required to heal and recover from addiction. It is imperative to take note that intellectual discovery and understanding of trauma alone is not enough to fully heal. The process will have grueling days where you have to work through the pain, the discomfort, but the transformation, in the end, is like no other. To heal is to become whole again.
You will no longer be several versions of yourself, all of which are defensive and restlessly seeking to self-soothe pain through methods that create more harm long-term. To heal is to want no longer to hide from yourself and others behind substances, sex, thrill, or danger. You are no longer people pleasing in hopes of acceptance; instead, you walk confidently in yourself, knowing your needs, wants, values, and the love you bring into the lives of others.
How, Then, are Connections Made?
There is a widespread and harmful misconception that connection is earned by being good enough. However, connection is developed through willingness, authenticity, and vulnerability. Intentions to heal and create relationships allow you to actively generate core changes within yourself. As you forge and restore connections with others, your inner connection deepens, allowing for continued emotional healing.
Vulnerability often gets shut out by people who have experienced trauma, abuse, and rejection. Avoidance of openness creates a cycle of reduced ability for establishing genuine, deep connections and increases isolation, often leading to depression, increased substance abuse, and the possibility of additional mental and physical health issues. We must be willing to be vulnerable with ourselves and others, even when it’s uncomfortable. Connections are built when we show up for others, for ourselves, when we reach out and become an active part of our community, family, and groups.
Connection, Addiction, And Depression At Mindful Living Group
Mindful Living Group believes in the healing power that community brings when people come together for a common cause. Support groups or group therapy are frequently recommended for individuals working to overcome an addiction or battling depression. Initially, it may feel uncomfortable or evoke feelings of anxiety, all of which are understandable and sensible. Partaking in groups opens doors to opportunities, networks, and resources that could benefit your recovery.
Apart from support groups, therapeutic methods such as Somatic Experiencing, Yoga, EMDR, Brainspotting, Family and Individual Therapy are esteemed practices to approach the healing process and reconnect with your authentic emotional and physical self.
A component of recovery that plays a prominent role in group therapy (as well as individual therapy), and extends into sustaining healthy relationships is accountability. It is essential to acknowledge that accountability is not, and never should be, equated to judgment or shame. Accountability is accepting responsibility for our actions and their impacts on our lives and the lives of the people around us. Support groups help hold the members accountable for their actions and behaviors while offering support and motivation to continue on the path of recovery.
Mindfulness practice is an invaluable resource and coping technique for those in recovery. The therapists and counselors at Mindful Living Group can guide you in practicing mindfulness and teach strategies that can be used outside of groups, events, or retreats. The utilization of mindfulness enables you to accept the thoughts that come to mind, increases compassion with yourself and others, teaches you to remain present and refrain from judgments, and much more.
The Benefits Of Connection
Stress is generally reported as one of the most common triggers for cravings (“an unrelenting urge, desire or yearning”). Stress exists as both physical and emotional tension. It is the body’s way of signaling challenge, demand, need, or danger. Prolonged stress creates dysfunction in our nervous system and has the ability to trigger our fight or flight response when it is not required. Stress is not just the panicked feeling you get when there are too many projects to finish for work, your boss is asking when they will be complete, and there never seems to be enough time in the day.
Stress can be the tight feeling in your stomach when your body is hungry; feelings of being overwhelmed in a crowded place; agitation that arises when you didn’t get enough sleep; or feelings of loss of control or worthlessness when a situation triggers unresolved trauma emotions. Healthy, positive social connections are one of the most significant buffers against life stressors. Support networks reduce feelings of isolation and offer a safe place for problem-solving, motivation to do better, and encouragement.
The toll addiction and depression may cause on the body should not be casually overlooked. Research has found a link between loneliness and health conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, and poor immune function. Additionally, these are commonly associated with heightened stress levels, which is frequently another symptom related to addiction and depression. Increased social connection has significantly shown an increase in health. One theory is because emotional needs are met, and the individual is happier, they are more likely to care for their health more – better diet, increased exercise, and exposure to sunshine (vitamin D).
Connection motivates you to take back your life, face the pain and stick to the path of recovery. Relapse may happen but does not warrant harsh self-talk or punishing behavior. In the event of a backslide, what is essential is your accountability. Admission to a group, a therapist, or a trusted confidant strengthens trust, connection and provides an opportunity for further guidance and healing. Support groups offer a chance to create authentic relationships, learn how to be vulnerable, and be loved and accepted for who you are as a person.
Kintsugi, a Japanese art form, and Zen Buddhist philosophy, demonstrates the value and strength that connection plays in our lives. The process of kintsugi repairs broken ceramics with a mixture of lacquer, powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Once repaired, the item is proudly displayed in the home. Moreover, we can visualize the connections and reconnections we create in life (and in ourselves) similarly, considering that they are often more substantial when we forge them.
Get Connected With Mindful Living Group
Taking the first steps into recovery might feel overwhelming, the team with Mindful Living Group is ready to stand by your side and guide you through this transformational period. Contact us today if you are ready to reconnect with yourself, rebuild relationships with loved ones, be part of a community of healing, love, and embrace all you are.