Free consultation

To determine if counseling with J.R. is right for you, request a free phone consultation.

« Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Russian Roulette of Relapse | Main | Core Beliefs »
Friday
Jan102014

Thoughts About "Ism's"

There is an old saying in recovery that goes, “If you take the alcohol out of alcoholism, your left with the ism’s.”

Ism’s in recovery circles is a well-worn concept and the kind of word that you do not need to elaborate upon. It refers to the aftereffects of active addiction that linger long and, if not recognized and worked upon, will remain and trickle down into future generations.

An individual who becomes immersed in addictive behaviors of any kind has the tendency to stop growing. As human beings are multifaceted, this stunted growth takes many forms; mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Think about it, active addiction takes over a person’s life in one way or another and gets in the way of natural development. If you are a heavy drinker from age 20, all life experiences from that point forward are dealt with through the lenses of alcohol. Alcohol both removes you (in a small or large way) from “real” life and it becomes the method by which you cope. In addition, addictive behaviors tend to bring out negative or unhealthy aspects of ourselves (often called “character defects”) and keeps us from fully being present in our lives. As we go along, these ways of thinking, acting and dealing become our “norm.” These are the ism’s.

The removal of the addictive behavior or substance is the first and most important part of recovery, for sure. However, transformation, personality change, growth or maturity does not come automatically and takes great effort and diligence. Those who stop addictive behaviors but do not do the work of change are often called “dry drunks.” This brings us the the quote at the beginning and gives me an opportunity to give examples.

Here is a list of some ism’s; does this sound like anyone you know? Having this cluster of traits is often referred to as King or Queen Baby Syndrome:

 

Immature

Grandiose

Obsessive

Impulsive

Rigid

Demanding

Self-seeking

Resentful

Over-sensitive

Defiant

Controlling

 

I agree, all human beings possess these qualities in varying degrees and they manifest themselves at different times. The difference is that addicts tend to live with these qualities up front and center. If you are a “dry drunk” this  tends to be your personality. You can imagine how this could affect future generations; if you’re raised by this kind of person, you tend to take on these characteristics whether or not you use substances yourself.

I’m sorry, King/Queen Baby?

This is a term referring to people who are on the outside a full grown adult but have the emotional maturity of a teenager.

So if you or someone you love had struggles with addictive behaviors and stopped the behavior, but really didn’t do much more, you may want to consider therapy, talking with a spiritual advisor or participating in recovery. The change may benefit not only you, but future generations to come.

 

 

 

 

References (6)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Eugene J.R. Lombardo LCSW - JR's Thoughts - Thoughts About "Ism's"
  • Response
    Response: trackback
    Eugene J.R. Lombardo LCSW - JR's Thoughts - Thoughts About "Ism's"
  • Response
    Eugene J.R. Lombardo LCSW - JR's Thoughts - Thoughts About "Ism's"
  • Response
    Eugene J.R. Lombardo LCSW - JR's Thoughts - Thoughts About "Ism's"
  • Response
    Eugene J.R. Lombardo LCSW - JR's Thoughts - Thoughts About "Ism's"
  • Response
    Eugene J.R. Lombardo LCSW - JR's Thoughts - Thoughts About "Ism's"

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>