Are you the elephant in the room?

Date: 3rd March 2021 Category: Addiction
Are you the elephant in the room? White Elephant

Addiction is difficult for everybody involved. Whether you are suffering yourself, or you have a work colleague, friend or family member who is. Don’t hold back on speaking to them about it. This blog post looks at my own experience and how I didn’t realise that everybody could see I had a problem long before I knew myself.

Throughout my addiction, I thought that I was getting away with what I was doing without anybody knowing. I’ve now been sober for 2 and a half years. I can spot someone under the influence a mile off.

When I look back on my own experience, I think “How or why did more people not speak to me about it?” It was blindingly obvious!

Addiction is one of those taboo subjects that only when the poo hits the fan does anyone say anything. There must have been many occasions when people raised an eyebrow or gave each other THAT look. But it was never spoke of. Nobody said anything to me.

I learnt on my journey of recovery that us addicts live with a distorted perception of the world. I was “in denial” of my issues around drink and drugs yet, I knew deep down there was a problem. I was angry at everything and everyone when actually I was angry with myself. I would take no responsibility for anything and blame everyone around me.

I didn't wake up one morning and think, “I'm going be an addict.” Addiction works in stealth mode and creeps up on you over a period of years, sometimes decades. Our tolerance levels increase gradually, so we do not notice that we are using more or drinking more to achieve the desired effect. We become more reckless. We find excuses and “reasons” for what we are doing to legitimise it and make it normal.

In my previous career (over 20 years in the Catering industry), I think I was asked maybe 3 or 4 times, what was going on with me. I say asked; it was more like indirect subtle comments. Looking back with a sober mind I can see it now. Back then I would not have picked up on it or even listened. At the time, I was an angry person and always on the attack, throwing up smoke screens so that people didn't see the real ME.

Maybe it was that everyone thought someone else had dealt with me. Maybe people just didn’t know how to tackle it. Thankfully, times have changed (or have they?) where employers or managers are able to approach the subject. Is it easier to performance manage someone out rather than sitting down with them and helping them through a tough time?

Companies are more aware nowadays, and some offer support programmes to help their employees. The introduction of better safeguarding and Health & Safety have helped to increase awareness. There is now training and support so people can feel confident in having those difficult conversions.

Families however, are a whole different playing field (or mine field). There is that one family member that plays Switzerland and tries to keep the peace. There are the relatives that ignore it, hoping that it sorts itself out. There are those that do challenge a person's behaviour, normally resulting in arguments and drama. It is not really until again that big bucket of poo and a fan appears that anyone dares take action.

If I been challenged more, or that hand of support offered earlier would I have taken it? Honestly, I do not know.

Once the denial, the lying, the manipulation, the selfishness had got it's teeth stuck in, definitely not. It would have been full defence mode. Before then, maybe. Possibility it would have detoured me from the inevitable end. Maybe I would have been able to sort it out and change that journey. Maybe it actually happened and I ignored.

If you have somebody in your life who needs help. Don’t wait. Act now. Talk to them.Be prepared to have your head bitten off. Be prepared for tears, tantrums and excuses. But remember that the sooner they get the help they need, the better.

Get in touch to find out how you can access support, both as a family and as an individual suffering from addiction. Whether or not you’re interested in hypnotherapy as a treatment for addiction, I can always help signpost you to the addiction services you need.