Jed Shlackman, LMHC, provides services to clients in the Miami and South Florida area who are seeking to address addiction challenges. Addictions come in many forms, from addiction to substances and drugs to addictions to sex, gambling, food, and the Internet. Anything that gives one a pleasant feeling or relieves one from feeling pain or distress can become an addictive pattern. Overcoming addictions requires a desire to do so and resources to help address the issues that have contributed to the addiction. Here Jed has provided an explanation of his approach to addressing these issues.
Addictions are patterns that have gone out of control - that is, the impulse to engage in the addictive behavior has overpowered the individual's better judgment or concern about consequences of continuing in the addiction. People engage in behaviors for a variety of reasons. Often, behaviors are driven by a desire to get a pleasant feeling or sensation or to relieve an unpleasant feeling or sensation. Thus, emotional or physical pain can foster addiction. Also, a lack of healthy interests, resources, or coping mechanisms that can help a person feel better may leave an opening for addictive tendencies to develop. Biochemical imbalances in the body due to inadequate nutrition, toxic substances and drug exposures, and other stresses can fuel addiction. The addiction exists within the context of a person's life, personality, and living circumstances, and will be best addressed holistically.
Holistic approaches to helping people overcome addiction include providing a positive support system, counseling, spiritual guidance, hypnosis and guided imagery, meditation, energy balancing therapies, nutritional support, and healthy coping skills. The popular phrase "I am an addict" repeated in many support groups is not really true. It is intended to get people to confront their addiction and take responsibility for seeking help, so while it can help people in taking that step it can also become an obstacle to people evolving beyond the addiction if they take the statement literally. "I have been engaged in addictive behaviors" would be a more accurate assessment. Seeing oneself as an addict (or any other narrow self-definition) is a limiting perspective which needs to be transcended. We can access a higher vision of ourselves and our potential and believe that we can align with that healthy version of ourselves. We can learn to be honest with ourselves and face our challenges, understanding that our spiritual essence is much greater than our present limitations. We have all transformed greatly through the course of our lives. We take on and leave behind a variety of patterns and interests as we evolve. Addictions can be left behind as we re-create ourselves and establish a new identity that doesn't include the addiction. The Christian concept of being "born-again" is somewhat analogous to this, but being born again in a psychological context doesn't require joining a religion or taking an oath - it only requires a genuine shift in one's consciousness, which will naturally manifest shifts in one's behavior and lifestyle.
Jed has worked with many people of all ages to help them shift their mental and emotional patterns and transform their lives. If you are struggling with an addiction there is definitely hope for you to become free of it. Addictions are actually common in the human experience - while a majority of the population may display mild or moderate addictive patterns there are some people whose lives become taken over by an addiction. Ideally, one can confront and heal an addictive pattern before it consumes the person's life. Yet, even if it seems an addiction has your life out of control you can still turn things around and find a new direction and purpose in your life. Believe it, and you will achieve it!