Anxiety, Depression and Addictions

The TOP 5 Problems We Hear On the Radio…
and what to do about them.
Part 4 of 5

So you think that you are unique and that your problems are special?  That your life or relationship stresses are known only to you and that somehow your case requires special advice or care?  No, your problems are quite common.  Actually, human beings are not that inventive.  We all do the same things, have the same concerns and get into the same predictable dilemmas.

As a radio co-host on New Life Live, a nationally syndicated counseling talk show, I (Milan) have come to recognize that there are repeatable themes to the caller’s issues.  Whether it is Freda in Fresno or Bill in Baltimore, guess what?  As Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).”  In the next five weeks, we will cover the top five issues that we encounter and how to counter them so that you can grow and your situations might improve.

PROBLEM #4:


Anxiety / Depression and Addictions
Bill from Billings, MO

Bill had a quiet demeanor and a clear simple question for us as he called New Life Live radio.  “How can I help my wife overcome a drug addiction?  She is depressed and gets anxious and panicky a lot and cannot kick this habit herself.”  As we asked Bill more questions, it turns out that Bill’s wife had hippy parents from the 60’s who gave her a bottle of wine and her first joint (marijuana) 14 years of age and told her that it would “mellow her out”.   He went on to say that she smokes pot daily and has had several jobs in the last few years because she inevitably gets fired when she is late she fails to show up altogether.

He informed us that she has anxiety and panic attacks and fears going off pot.  She makes many promises and tells Bill she loves him and asks him to be patient with her.  However, after 15 years, Bill is fresh out of patience, and is in a pattern of getting angry a lot and most of the time has tried to intimidate her into compliance.  They both accepted the Lord in the last few years and he just wants her to quit and tells her so repeatedly. He goes to AA meetings himself and is an adult child of alcoholic parent.  He has also started going Alanon meetings as well trying to cope with his addict wife.

“What should we do?  What is the balance between loving her and being tough with her?” Bill is angry and fed up.

Breaking it down:
With some continued probing, we discovered that Bill’s home included alcohol and substance addictions and he suffered neglect and abuse as a child.  He emerged from this chaotic disorganized home as a controller having made an unconscious vow to never be taken advantage of ever again.  He and his wife fit well together at first because they both had similar levels of pain, though his wife took a more passive role while he took a more dominating position.

Due to her addictions, which were dominating her behavior like a puppeteer, making a puppet dance while remaining out of sight to the audience.  This meant that Bill’s wife was not under his span of control any longer, which was increasing his own anxiety.

Both had an “anxious core” which started in childhood.  Neither grew up in homes where they were comforted, so they never experienced soothing or containment from their families of origin.  It is this anxious core, which leads to addictions of all kinds.  The reason? Artificially medicate or distract oneself, and the pain will temporarily go away.  The problem? Unlike the peace that God gives “mystically” when we turn to him as well as His provision for relief for my soul through relationships, addictions only satisfy for a moment.

Our advice?

1.  This couple fits the classic Controller / Victim pattern found in our book How We Love and they need to begin the journey of deeper levels of education and emotional healing found in the workbook.  It will take time to overturn decades of imprinting and behavior patterns.

2.  They need to be in couples’ therapy which is emotionally based in nature and which is highly directive in which Bill and his wife will be forced to delve into their own as well as each other’s souls.  There they will find the pain that they can choose to comfort and soothe.  They will learn to tolerate listening to one another, learn to express their feelings, be able to validate each other and learn to meet one another’s needs and give and receive relief and comfort. As they do, they will each begin their healing journey individually as well as a couple.

3.  Bill needs to acknowledge that he has unwittingly contributed to her anxiety problem by being domineering and angry.

4.  Bill needs to plan a family and friends intervention, which will confront, encourage and insist that his wife to go to the Calvary Center residency program in Phoenix.  They need to then all jump in a car and drive her there as they comfort her, love her and support her into this 30 day Christian based detoxification program.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: (simply click the title to learn more)

 

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash the Power of Authentic Life in Christ

The Christian faith is supposed to produce deep, positive change. So why doesn’t it seem to work in “real life”? That question screamed at Pastor Peter Scazzero when his church and marriage hit bottom and every Christian remedy produced nothing but anger and fatigue. As he began digging under the “good Christian” veneer, he uncovered entire emotional layers of his life that God had not yet touched. Discovering that his emotional immaturity had fed his spiritual immaturity, Scazzero experienced a spiritual revolution by biblically integrating emotional health and contemplative spirituality. In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Scazzero unveils what’s wrong with our conventional means of “spiritual growth” and offers seven biblical, reality-tested, transformational steps that will help you live out your faith with authenticity, awareness, and a hunger for God.

 

 

The Emotionally Healthy Church, by Peter Scazzero with its accompanying workbook: The Emotionally Healthy Church Workbook

Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: The Paradox of Personal Dysfunction By Gary McIntosh.

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NEXT WEEK:
Lala from LA who listens on KKLA:  “Pornography & Sexual Disconnection”

Love,
Milan and Kay