From Emptiness To Addiction – The Road Trip

How Did We Get From One Place To Another?

If we were to travel from Los Angeles to, lets say, New York, we would definitely be able to map out the departure, the destination and most importantly the arrival at that destination. In other words, we should be able to trace the journey it took to get from one place to another. We would have to start at LAX International airport in Los Angeles (maybe Bob Hope for you Burbank fans), probably a layover somewhere like Atlanta, Baltimore possibly Newark, New Jersey. Whatever the case, we would ultimately land at either JFK or La Guardia in New York City. Once again the point is knowing how we got from one place to another, plain and simple.

We would, in fact, understand the journey we just set out on. We took a trip and that trip started in Los Angeles and concluded in New York when we arrived. We understood everything about that trip. But, what about the trip from emptiness to addiction – how did we get there?

Traveling The Roads From Emptiness To Addiction

It would be an understatement to say that we are ALL guilty of self-destruction or self-sabotage in some way, shape or form, that has ultimately affected our lives in one way or the other. If this does not apply to you, then leave now and consider yourself either “lucky” or “ignorant to knowing” that this truth simply doesn’t apply to you. The truth is, none of us are exempt. As a matter of fact, I believe that wisdom can only truly be gained two ways. The first way is God given and the second is learning from your mistakes, which equates to God given insight anyways, to be able to learn from your mistakes and turn those mistakes into a wealth of knowledge. We all have empty places in our lives. Many of us just choose to ignore it rather than face it.

So why is it that we find ourselves so empty that it seems as though drugs or alcohol can seemingly be the one thing to fill the void. More importantly, why do we buy this lie knowing good and well that it is not the truth, but we buy the lie anyway? Why is it easier to buy the lie than to search for the truth? Why are we empty inside? What’s missing? What’s been missing for sometime now?

Let’s look at some possible roads we have traveled with this emptiness that has ultimately led us into a place where we actually believe that the alcohol or drugs (the addiction) could, and would, fill the void of that emptiness or would somehow just magically make things go away or get better.

Childhood Issues – We Have All Had Them!

Many things happened when we were children, or youth, and we have to stop and think real good about these things sometimes for answers about what’s going on today. Many things have happened to us that we preferred to just tuck away and forget about. But these things have gone no where; they are just not in sight, but they are there.

I don’t know anyone else’s story except my own. I don’t know if it happened to you when you were 5 years old, or 7 years old, maybe 11 or even 15. I’m not sure what it was maybe physical abuse or possibly verbal abuse. It could have very well been sexual abuse from someone or molestation or even rape that was the offense. And they got away with it. Someone didn’t believe you when you told them what happened, could have very well been your own mother or father who didn’t believe your story when you told them.

Could have been someone very close to you that damaged you as a child. Could have been something a little more digestible like lack of affection, never gave you praise for your accomplishments, never showed up for anything at school to support you or never told you the words, “I love you”. Possibly never received a hug or a kiss from mom or dad. The list goes on and the point is this…we have never had any closure to ANY of this, so we go on pretending everything is OK. Even worse, we begin to accept this as ‘normal’ when in fact it is anything but that. We are now dealing with a damaged child within us and we don’t even know it yet.

Took The Child Into The Teenage Years – We All Did This Too!

Since the child has continued to grow, so has the depth of the unresolved issues or hurt (which we now call ‘damage’). It is just tucked away real good, but it is still present. It is important to understand the relationship that the teenager still has with the child. The child may have never had a voice or was never heard as a child. Now the child is growing physically. Unless something drastic or tragic happens, such as a life changing accident, the physical body will continue to mature, through puberty and into adulthood. That will not change. However, the psychological growth, or the mentality, has in many ways been affected by traumatic situations as we reviewed in the above paragraph.

Unless there is a ‘debriefing’ or ‘closure’ process to these traumatic events, the mind psychologically is affected and for a better term, it is ‘stunted’. Although other areas of the person psyche will continue to develop, those other areas of damage will continue to be obstacles. The result is the teenager will become rebellious, act out or, in worse case, even self-hurt. These are just a few of a long list, but you should get the point. The teenager is growing into a big child, and the child that had no voice is now the teenager that is acting out instead of talking about it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. If no closure has been reached, the child continues to grow.

The Child Time Travels To Adulthood – The Danger Zone

As the years go by with no closure being reached the child continues to act out but now as an adult, who as an adult, has responsibilities of making adult decisions. This is where the conflict comes in because the adult now has that emptiness that has become unidentifiable and the voice of the child becomes prominent in the decision-making. Quick example of what that looks like is this:

You need to go to the store to get more alcohol, but the adult in you realizes that you are too lit (drunk or high) to drive. The child in you, however, says, “oh its just up the street, you can make it, the police won’t catch you!” Your adult reasoning sounds like, “man you should just walk to the store if you need to go that bad, because you might get in a wreck!” But, the child replies, “man by the time you walk your buzz will be gone, your friends will leave and it will take too long to walk anyway!” So, you listen to the child in you.

That trip to the store was cut short because you didn’t see that STOP sign (being drunk and all) and T-Boned that vehicle.

Ultimately this childish decision to drive regardless of the circumstances ended up costing you your freedom, your license and your vehicle all in one shot. Does the story sound familiar to anybody? Or at least similar? It was the child that caused this havoc, but it was the adult who made the decision to listen. Make sense??

Realizing The Adult Damage Done From The Empty Child

There’s a million and 1 stories like this. We all have our own. Although our emptiness comes from many situations, circumstances and events that have taken place in our lives the one thing that remains similar in us all is that we have taken the child with us into our adult life and are oblivious to the realization that they (he or she, the child) are still there, now controlling our lives with the adolescent behavior that we should have left behind a long time ago.

But how could we leave a child behind? Wouldn’t that be like child abandonment or child neglect? If we just left them behind? Stay with me… I’m going somewhere with this.

We actually do not have to leave the child behind because the child is us. And the child can live with us. The child just needs someone to go inside and tell them, “It’s OK, I got this…you can rest now!” In other words, the adult needs to step up and say to self, “Hey guess what kiddo? We are gonna do something different from what we have been doing, because playing on the playground all day and taking our chances at life just to avoid the emptiness is not working!”

The emptiness must be confronted, not consoled by our addiction. Our addiction is just one form of escaping our reality. That reality is rooted deep into many previous years before, where no closure was insight or available.

We have to go inside of our self, grab that child inside of us and tell them “I know you got a bad deal when you were young, I know you deserved love instead of abuse, I know there was a family out there who would have loved you, I know you didn’t deserve to be treated like that…but it’s OK now because I am going to take care of us.”

You see, if we don’t go inside and get that child, he or she will continue to act out, and the adult you will pay the consequences for the child’s behavior. We need to look at alcohol and drugs as “the playground” where the child hangs out.

If you, the adult, don’t take control and tell the child, “We have to go now” the child will keep you at the playground until it’s dark, and long since closed, everyone has gone home and you and the child are all alone at the playground, sitting on the bench, alone and empty.

With that said, the child is now asleep, because it’s really way past their bedtime and the adult has been left alone and empty with the wreckage that has taken place throughout the day at ‘the playground’.

We can now see clearly the wreckage we have suffered, and will continue to suffer as long as we allow the child to keep taking us to the playground.

A famous man once said, “when I was a child I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I acted as a child…but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” So consider this a call to ‘man-up’ or ‘woman-up’…and let the child rest, because he or she is very tired right now…wouldn’t you agree?

Whatever, whenever and wherever we can help speak into your life, reach out…we are just a keyboard stroke away. Don’t forget to leave your comments or concerns.

Much Love,

Timo

18 thoughts on “From Emptiness To Addiction – The Road Trip

  • June 18, 2021 at 1:59 am
    Permalink

    Hey Timo, 

    This is a fantastic and important site. I love your passion and dedication to tackling the subject of drug addiction. I had previously worked for a nonprofit drug rehabilitation organization for nearly a decade so I know what it means to change lives…It’s people like you who care about the lives of others that can make a difference in the world. Keep me posted.

    L, Sammy

    Reply
    • June 22, 2021 at 2:25 am
      Permalink

      Thank you Sammy for your energy and I appreciate you being able to identify with “caring about other lives”. I will definitely keep you posted my friend.

      Reply
  • June 18, 2021 at 3:10 pm
    Permalink

    The “famous man” you quote is a bible verse and doesn’t seem to provide inspiration beyond telling someone to put their past behind them. If only it was that easy to leave childhood issues behind when legally becoming an adult, that would be fantastic. However, I definitely agree that underlying issues need to be confronted because without confrontation the issues are not likely to go away on their own. 

    Reply
    • June 22, 2021 at 2:37 am
      Permalink

      You are exactly right Aly, by your own admission of underlying issues need to be addressed, or confronted if you will, because they will, in fact, NOT go away on there own.  The purpose of the “famous man” quote is to simply convey, that we, as addicts and alcoholics, can no longer respond to life as a child…because if we do, that little child will drive us either crazy, insane, jails, institutions, or even worse, our death. In essence, the mind of a child is nor prepared or equipped to battle addiction. It is much too big of a beast. And to fight it you must have at least the willingness, if not the mentality, of an adult, not a child. Thanks again Aly. I appreciate your feedback!

      Reply
  • June 22, 2021 at 11:50 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Timo,
    The roadmap of life takes many different twists and turns or perhaps detour is a better word. Los Angeles to New York is pretty cut and dry. The connection from adult to inner child not so much. I believe you are spot on with the defense mechanism we use “Really, everything is OK.” When you ask someone how they are doing they never say “I am lousy, and it goes back to me childhood.” The canned answer almost always is “I’m good.” So shallow and so untrue. I read this twice very impactful.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2021 at 1:39 am
      Permalink

      Thanks Bob for your insight and perception. I totally agree with you on the LA to NYC is DEFINITELY cut and dry. A known trip we took, for a better term. The journey, or trip, we experienced on those other roads, we , or most of us I believe, couldn’t tell you were that journey started, where was the departure and where was the arrival? Point being, when you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. Thank you so much for finding it worthy to read twice. I appreciate you buddy! ~ Timo

      Reply
  • June 22, 2021 at 11:51 pm
    Permalink

    There are a lot of ways that someone can become an addict, addictive personalities have been linking to concussions and frontal lob damage as a child, injuries’ that require a lot of pain medications can create a dependence on pain medication, but a lot of it boils down to trauma. Emotional, physical, mental. Trauma is where it starts.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2021 at 3:18 am
      Permalink

      Yes trauma is certainly responsible. More so, untreated trauma becomes the long term culprit. Thanks for your feedback.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2021 at 12:53 am
    Permalink

    Hmmmm, you are right, u till you consciously tell the child that it is dark and the play must stop, he or she will not stop. Whether it is a girl or boy child. As adult we must take full responsibility for their up grow and ensure they are properly modellled into what they should be. It is all about communication and monitoring 

    Reply
    • June 23, 2021 at 3:19 am
      Permalink

      Thank you for your comments my friend.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2021 at 12:58 am
    Permalink

    WOW!! Good on you Tim for tackling the subject of addiction and the effects it has on not only the individual but friends and family alike.

    As a recovering addict (17 years clean) this resonated well with me.

    It can be a lonely scary place as a recovering addict and websites with content like yours is what we need more of.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2021 at 3:23 am
      Permalink

      I appreciate your kind words Mark and as a recovering addict it most definitely can be a scary place. My hopes is to be a tool to provide that refuge for the alcoholic or addict to not only know, but to feel, that they are not alone. We are a community of sick people, in need of a hospital that is available around the clock (the program of recovery). My best wishes to you my friend and thank you again!

      Reply
  • June 30, 2021 at 9:46 pm
    Permalink

    Congratulation on your site and the message conveyed. I was paralyzed for life as a teenager and tried to drown out the pain with alcohol as a way to escape—however, my desire for the life I wanted.  I finally decided the alcohol was not good and stopped. That might seem, but I know better, it is hard, but it’s worth it.

    Reply
    • June 30, 2021 at 10:34 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Jim and thanks for your share on your own experience as a youth. I am very glad that you decided to choose life over succumbing to the pain, although I know it was tough and I can’t imagine being in that particular situation. Your need to continue living, no matter what the circumstances were, is a testimony to your strength. I applaud you sir. Thanks again for your share my friend.

      Reply
  • July 12, 2021 at 1:47 am
    Permalink

    This is very insightful because now in todays society with all fo the craziness going around people are turning to other sources to help ease their anxiety such as drugs, alcohol, etc… This gives me and I would expect others a good website to help keep us on track and not to stray off of the path of sobriety. I know for me I have a hard time with staying sober because it is just so easy to stop being sober and fall back into the horrible cycle fo addiction.

    Thanks for the Website, Mason

    Reply
    • July 12, 2021 at 7:16 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Mason for your time and also sharing your own truth of staying sober. I believe by sharing our struggles that it actually takes half the power out of it. We are only as dark as our secrets. It’s why so many people remain in the dark. Thanks again my friend and my best to you. Just for having the insight that addiction is a horrible cycle to live in will keep you on track my brother.

      Reply
  • July 12, 2021 at 2:18 am
    Permalink

    I agree that addiction has probably touched every family’s life in one way or another.  It definitely has mine in just about every way that it can.  I finally put all that behind me and decided to quit beating myself up about it, and also realized that I can’t help those that won’t help themselves.  Our lives are meant to be happy and that is what I strive for every single day.  I really enjoyed your opinion on this topic.

    Reply
    • July 12, 2021 at 7:21 pm
      Permalink

      Yes it is true that to help anyone, the willingness on their part has to be there. However, we can be the buffers of encouragement to that willingness, I believe, to bring it to the forefront. Most people that I have met in addiction are just so lost (just like I was) that just a place to start at seems overwhelming for most. Thank you for your insight and comments! 

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error

support recovery? please share the word!