Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bruce's Lecture


Intensity addicts commonly wind up with satiation as the counteraction to their chemical highs. Addicts live an "all or nothing" kind of life. This is certainly true for Ben, who does not know how to moderate himself, but will learn. Ben knows, now, only two ways to live: either full-out pedal-to-the-metal or completely numb.

In order to block the pain of early trauma, people like Ben stuff themselves with various substances and/like to engage in activities to the point of numbness. They are trying to obliterate shameful, painful emotions over which they have no other control. Some of these compulsively excessive behaviors are overeating, sleeping, television, shopping, reading, electronic gaming, Internet use (sometimes sexual, but not always), and using depressive drugs such as alcohol.

When Ben comes home from work, he lifts weights and runs like a demon. He lifts for at least an hour and runs and hour every day. He also practices the martial arts. It takes his mind off the intensity the experiences on his shift. But his demon workouts also maintain a sustenance level of adrenaline, endorphins, and serotonin, which sustain his high. The excessive workout routine makes him feel strong enough to protect himself in the intense and dangerous environment he has created in which he feels safe and calm. But after he works out, he uses numbing as a depressant drug.

Ben is basically creating a chemical cocktail in his brain so that he can sleep and 'relax." But, because of the high emotional and neurological levels that he has created for himself, he isn't able to come down without the aid of some satiating drug. Ben's drug is pot. For some it could be sex. He smokes a joint or two every night. Even though he is a health nut, he justifies smoking dope by saying he is not "out of control" and it helps him relax. So Ben is alternately living in two extremes: fear/danger/intensity or satiety/numbness.

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