It has been awhile since my last blog as recently I have been overwhelmed trying to help my clients who seem to be struggling with a number of issues but there are two in particular keeping my practice so busy: Infidelity and Addiction. During the unraveling process of seeking: “just what is really going on”, I have come to the conclusion that addiction and infidelity are parallel processes. I might even suggest that these processes are just another example of co-dependent behavior.Co-dependents are always looking “externally” for a quick short cut to feel good “internally”. But rather than confuse all of these issues any further, I think it best to employ a visual metaphor, so I am going to propose that you rent or download a wonderful thriller film from the 1980‘s. Yes, now may be the time to give yourself a little scare of the frightening and often inapparent consequences of acting on our feelings rather than processing them and then if need be, letting them go.
If you have never seen the film, Fatal Attraction ,you really need to watch it as a reminder of the ……….hidden dangers of succumbing to seduction.
And by the way, seduction doesn’t have to be an illicit affair, it can be the seduction of losing yourself to the temporary oblivion of getting high or engaging in any other pleasurable behavior offering instant gratification with potentially destructive consequences. So for those of you in recovery, I want you to start thinking of your Drug of Choice as Glenn Close, metaphorically speaking
So a quick recap ( sorry to give the plot away for those who never saw the film) in sum: Michael Douglas, a happily married father with a wife,child and a couple of pets develops an attraction for a sexy new colleague in the office played by Glenn Close. Working late together one evening, one thing leads to another as it often does. After a wild crazy night of uninhibited latin dancing they engage in hot and dangerous sex. Old Mike can’t believe how great he feels; yes he has a new spring in his step , Oh the joys of infatuation: the oxytocin, the phenylethylamine, the norepinephrine, all those wonderful chemicals that are hard wired into our brains to entice us to sexually reproduce. Not only does he revel in these pleasurable seductive brain chemicals but he has a new belief in himself as a guy who can still pull hot chics! Mike feels great replaying their passionate encounters in his mind until …. ….sexy Glenn starts to obsessively call his office and next thing you know she is turning up in his reception area and dropping by his family home to meet with his wife and daughter. Poor old Mike, he just did not understand the choice he was making and Guess what …? Not only is Glenn pregnant; she is crazy! She attempts to kidnap his kid, destroy his family and she even boils his pet bunny. Mike’s having made the choice to act on his feelings of attraction to Glenn created consequences and in the end, because it is Hollywood, either Glenn or Mike will have to die . You will have to rent the movie to find out and hopefully unlike most of us, you are not one of those silly people who needs to learn everything the hard way. Believe me when I say there are many bunny boilers out there, sending you messages by text or on facebook right now. BE AFRAID
And just like Glenn Close, the road to addiction is a “Fatal Attraction”. It starts off with so much pleasure and as it progresses it begins to interfere with important work and personal relationships. Sooner or later, if you dont find a way to stop it, it will destroy your family and ultimately pop up with a butcher knife and try to kill you.
So remember our goal in therapy is to always separate feelings from behaviors. Just because you feel like doing something, you ideally should make a choice rationally rather than impulsively.
Remember LIFE is determined by 4 things:
- Genetics, as in our DNA
- The Environment into which we are born,
- OUR CHOICES
So like many things that feel good, you may need to recognize that your drug of choice or the hot colleague in the office, seductively whispering in your ear offering you an instant escape from a sometime mundane or painful reality may not be the best way to feel better. You will need to develop some new coping tools that don’t have painful consequences. Because our choices define us, when you allow yourself to respond emotionally and act out what you are feeling. you may be making a choice that will alter the course of your life.