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Addictions and the Swing from Good to Bad

I was talking to someone in the middle of an addiction cycle. I said, “The issue is that when you finally have the thing you want, you feel REALLY REALLY GOOD, but then you don’t have it so you feel REALLY REALLY BAD. The really bad part is so painful, you then begin searching for the REALLY GOOD part with a fervor.” And on it goes.

It’s like the cycle of abuse. It’s really good, everyone is getting along, you are hitting all green lights, on a high and nothing else compares but then suddenly it’s really bad. Unbearably bad, gut wrenching, can’t stop crying kind of bad. This puts you back into the desperate craving for the really good again without really acknowledging the cycle.

It’s a trick. Good bad ping pong.

Can you imagine anything so dire that it would even create situations where you are suffering intensely so that you abandon all logic and go get a hit? It has to be really bad so that you can have an excuse. The kids will suffer! I can’t get a divorce!

Alcohol, relationships, food, work, anxiety, shopping. We’ve all been there. Retail therapy, you call it. I deserve it, you say. This time it will be different, you lie. The relationship has changed. He’s changed. He learned and he’s finally apologizing. REALLY GOOD. Apologies after indiscretions feel really good.

But then he didn’t really mean it. REALLY REALLY BAD. Down again looking for a hit.

A healed life doesn’t have such high highs and low lows but that’s what so lovely about it. You aren’t anxiously anticipating when the good thing will end. You aren’t desperate all the time with a rapid heart rate. Human beings grow inside of stability, not chaos. When you stop swinging, you feel the nourishing things around you like the richness of a quiet afternoon or the way your feet hit the ground when you are running or the satisfaction of having a pound of ground beef in the freezer for tacos. YOU CAN FINALLY THINK STRAIGHT. You walk a little lighter because the ball is off your foot. Free at last! Free at last!

But you’ll never grow your wings until you stop being tricked by good bad ping pong.

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Free Clear Mind Therapy provides in-person therapy in Fishers & Indianapolis and online therapy across Indiana. Specializing in anxiety therapy for teens, adults, and kids.

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