The Inner Drugstore: Adult Children of Alcoholics or Dysfunctional Households

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2. Inner Drug Store:

“For every emotion we feel, a corresponding biochemical substance is automatically released in our bodies. Think about how the felt sense of anger is different from the felt sense of calm or amusement. Especially for those of us who have trouble connecting with our bodies or our emotions, these chemical changes may happen below our level of awareness. But they still happen.

The inner drug store is not all bad. There are bottles of joy, peacefulness, and spirituality to name a few. But we Adult Children often gravitate toward the drugs of negative excitement.

Growing up in dysfunctional households, our everyday state can become one of hypervigilance. Am I safe? What mood is Mom in? We walk on eggshells trying to be invisible. Dad’s car just pulled in the driveway, is he drunk? We scan the house for things that might anger him and quickly try to neutralize them.

Or perhaps we were ignored or emotionally abandoned by our parents, creating anxiety and the general feeling of being alone and unsafe. Our normal can become anxiety and fear. And since it is perhaps all we have ever known, and since we may already have learned to shut down access to our feelings and our bodies, we may not even be aware of our anxiety.

Hypervigilance creates a stress response in the body, it even releases dopamine in our brains. As children, our small bodies are marinated in those chemicals. Even if we have never taken a drink of alcohol nor any drugs, we are all addicts. We, as Adult Children, learn to be addicted to our own inner drug stores. We can subconsciously seek out situations which recreate these feelings.

Emotional Intoxication is getting high on our inner drug store.

The more I understand it, the less it controls me. – (Jarvis)

“Subconsciously” is an important concept here. Generally, we don’t consciously choose to take these actions. It may be like breathing. Our minds are in control of that process, but normally we aren’t consciously aware of taking each breath. If we were we might have trouble thinking about anything else.

The subconscious mind takes over certain processes. I think maintaining our “normal” level of emotional intoxication or sobriety may be one of those. If we were raised in a dysfunctional home, our normal can be anxiety and fear. And we seek to re-create what is normal for each of us.”

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5 responses to this post.

  1. I have experienced a lot of therapy from different therapist, many holistic or intuitive also, read many, many books on this and I meditated five hours a day for five years at one point but this concept was missed.

    I have had drama in my life, picked individuals as peers, friends or a mate for the wrong reasons that contributed to the drama

    I can see some of my mistakes were the people I selected but my subconscious pull to this drama was always hidden.

    Now I will use my meditation practice to explore and change this part

    I am glad that I am open to new ideas and wanting to learn and share with a passion.

    Life brings us challenges, we choose either to suffer or take action, maybe fail, but we adapt, reassess and take action again.

    This blog is not a podium, I am on this journey together with all of you, and our blind spots stay hidden unless we explore

  2. Posted by Linda Torrel on March 13, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    I too have worked so hard on myself. I have worked and explored inwardly, spiritually for all of my adult years which has been for decades. This includes several decades of deep meditation with many many long 10 or 20 day silent retreats . I have read literally 100’s if not 1000 books. These things have all helped me alot. But I found I still had more work to do.

    My next step was finding ACA which is Adult children of Alcoholics and or other dysfunctional families. This has seemed to me to be the missing link. And it doesn’t cost anything to attend meetings.

    I have worked for 6 years at a local Domestic Violence Shelter. I have worked with many victims of abuse as clients. In my work the perpetrators out of this abuse were hard to reach or hard to heal if not impossible. Finding ACA has changed all that. Now I see tremendous healing with both victims and perpetrators who are sincere.

    There is hope!

    Thank you Marty, for this post. And for all the work you do both for yourself and others. We are truely all in this together.

  3. Thanks for your input and for sharing these ideas

  4. This makes lotsa sense

  5. I’d love to hear your experience with ACA…

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