My name is Bradley and I’m a registered member of the British Association of Counsellors & Psychotherapist (MBACP). I specialise in Addiction Counselling & Therapy, working out of offices in the areas of Brighton and Maidstone. I have worked in the field of addiction involving substance use and mis-use for over 19 years now and have had my own personal experience of addiction myself.
“Addiction” is a loaded term. It is as unhelpful as it is helpful. Some (and maybe you’re one of those people? And that’s ok, that’s fine) baulk at the idea of being labelled as an “addict”. And who could blame them? Certainly not me!
The wisest definition of the most efficacious use of the term came from a seminar hosted at the Hilton Hotel in Knightsbridge (of course!) by Lee Fitzgerald, (a stunningly attractive American lady – an ex-addict herself – although she would use the Anonymous concept of “addict” rather than “Ex-addict”, who runs multiple treatment and recovery centres in America from Florida Beach to the deserts of Arizona at eye wateringly expensive prices making her easily as wealthy as she is stunningly attractive) came from a seasoned old hand who had served time at her majestys pleasure in more than one establishment and had been volunteering for the prison charity “RAPT” – The Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust.
He insisted that it was only the addict themselves who had the right to call themselves an addict. If they used the term and were happy being so defined then that was fine, he opined. And I whole-heartedly agreed with him then and still do to this day. Never a wiser word said at that weekend workshop than by that man. I do hope he is reading this now, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see his humble soulful eyes light up in recognition of his words being seen as wise and worthy pearls of wisdom for the lost to find their way by.
He is a regular at the “old man of the rooms” Robert Lefevre’s psychodrama workshops in Knightsbridge, another man whose work and words and deeds have saved many a drowning man from the crushing storms of addictions icy grip.
As a quote I like (which is why it’s featured on one of the pages on this site) says;
“I used to think an addict was someone who lived in a squat or a back alley covered in lice and sores until I became one”
You don’t have to think of yourself as an addict to be one. And nor do you have to adopt the term as the only way to either describe yourself nor to set yourself up for the journey to freedom from it. If anyone tells you you do I would encourage you to walk away from them if that is not the way you see yourself or your existential condition or position in life. My only word of caution would be, are you sure you’re not pushing help away as you fear losing your habit or current lifestyle? This is variously known as “protecting the source” or plain old straightforward “denial”.
Addiction is, as addiction does, not as it is taught or proselytised by the many preachers and teachers who populate our addiction and treatment landscape as numerously as the false prophets and messiahs who drew crowds in the Holy lands before, during, and after Jesus’ time.
Addiction can be seen as a habit we persist with long after the joy of using has gone and as such can be seen as a behavioural pattern we seek to change. Do not be put off by the label “addict”. If it offends or irritates you cast it aside. The name is nothing compared to the pain it is now bringing. I seek to work with people coming to see me to find the roots of the beginnings of the belief system that described the habit as a valuable, life affirming, meaningful one to indulge in. Through the therapeutic enquiry and journey these old patterns of thinking, believing and emotional attachment to dysfunctional behaviours can be overhauled, repaired, and replaced with authentic ones that have always been there but have never been fully engaged with.
In my work with you I would encourage you to address your issues using counselling and self analysis, as I did many years ago and continue to do so to this day, willingly and happily, to eventually arrive in a place where you feel able to lead a fulfilling, happy life free of the obsessive compulsion to continually alter your consciousness for reasons that have remained elusive, mysterious and baffling for far too long and that haunts and hampers far too many of us.
If you would like to make a change in your life reach out and take this first step on the all important journey of self discovery and leave those old redundant practices that feature too prominently in your life, behind.