Some new thoughts about addiction arising first from the writings of Brené Brown; the concept of ‘numbing’.  We humans tend to seek – and find – ways to numb ourselves, to avoid feelings.  Technologies developed in the last half century, from TV on, up to and including video games, FB, Pinterest, Twitter and many others, have been added to the traditional list of alcohol, drugs, food and work. A wealth of options.

Addiction as numbing.seeds1peg                          [Radish for color–>]

Numbing and sleep.  A new line of thought.  Ideas from the book Healing Night by Rubin R Naiman, PhD.  In my humble opinion, he’s right on point about the incessant activity in our daily lives and why we ‘struggle with rest’, that is, resist and “… fear slowing down and stopping… If we do ‘hit the brakes‘, unwanted thoughts and feelings stashed in the back of our vehicle might come flying forward.  All the shadowy stuff we have been too busy to deal with…”

Some folks think of rest as an activity “… tennis, golf, swimming, hiking, biking” or reading or watching a movie.  For others, being tired has become a cue to alter one’s consciousness with alcohol or other substances.”  (pp. 37-39)

The same thing, Naiman asserts, is happening with night time sleep.  “… many of us do not apply the brakes until we are in the garage; we fail to slow sufficiently before getting into bed… Some… just roll along until they run out of gas… others… knock themselves out with the help of chemical emergency brakes.” (pp.49)

“… evening appears to be the most common period of substance abuse.  [It] is generally about applying chemical brakes to help slow down the bullet train of our waking lives and to buffer our encounter with darkness.  The most common substances used at night are alcohol, marijuana, [sleeping pills] …and for those of us averse to using substances, overeating can do the trick.” (pp. 51)

So, numbing as another element of addiction; the less (but not totally separate from) physical part of addiction. We acquire numbing habits to fend off thoughts and feelings.  Feelings of shame, for example.  Perhaps anger at those who/a culture which stigmatize(s) and mock(s).

3 thoughts on “Numbing

  1. It is so true, for me anyway, that the night time is a particularly restless time. I am “trapped” at home, with things “to do” that I can avoid during the day because I have work and other grown up things to do. But night time is “family” time, and clean up time. And neither are attractive to me. I used to drink at night, very intentionally to numb out, and I thought to “help” me sleep.I later found out it did the opposite. I could conk out but the alcohol and blood sugar dance would wake me up and keep me up. Well, I don’t drink anymore and haven’t for some thirty years. Now I wander, walk dogs, read a page or two (too restless), read emails, eat. Or at least, feel hungry. I still don’t know what the answer is to have a more interior in the evening.

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