Addicts typically engage in self-sabotage. This behavior is based in our dire need for chaos and drama. So many of us were raised in families where there was constant chaos, endless drama and very little—if any—stability. As we grew older and developed addictive personalities, we also developed an incessant need for self-sabotage by way of chaos and drama.
As adults, we often times find ourselves split between loathing the chaos/drama and desperately needing it. We are split because we have two personalities: Our natural-born personality and our unnatural addictive personality. On a conscious level, our natural personality is tired of chaos and drama. But on a subconscious level, our addictive personality is thriving on creating as much chaos and drama as possible. We are thus often times conditioned for daily chaos and drama. And when they don’t naturally exist, we will create them for ourselves—and everyone else in our lives.
There are a plethora of ways in which we engage in a self-sabotage that produces chaos and drama. We instinctively develop relationships with all of the wrong people. The natural us wants a stable love relationship with a healthy person, but the addictive us is terrified of stability and healthy people. So we subconsciously seek-out toxic people, ignore all of the red flags and waste our time with people who will simply abuse us as we abuse them.
Of course, we could be engaging in working the 12 Steps and learning the necessary skills that would lead to healthy, loving, stable relationships, but that would be too much work, according to our addictive personality, which we tend to listen to the most. And it’s just so natural for us to engage in the unhealthy and make our miserable lives more miserable. Twisted addictive logic says “Why put your energy into healthy change when addictive acting-out is so easy?” And unfortunately, we often agree with it.
We also seek out chaos and drama by accepting jobs that are below are skill levels and leave us bored and feeling worthless. We could be learning to love ourselves into excelling in real career opportunities that we are qualified for and pay well, but, hey, then we’d have nothing to bitch about, right? When we’re in a job we hate or feel stifled by, at least we can create new drama every week at work. And we can continually complain to our family and friends about how unhappy we are.
Many of us also engage in over-spending as a means of self-sabotage. We are constantly spending money we don’t have: Our credit cards are maxed-out, we have loans or mortgages we can’t afford to pay off on time, and we are having to borrow money from family and friends. Instead of being responsible and actively working to lower our debt and pay back those who have been generous to us, we instead spend more money on frivolous things, like big screen TVs, new cars or expensive outings we can’t afford. It’s not until we are suddenly bored with our new big ticket item or the thrill of Rio is long past that we wake-up and realize we’ve just created a bigger mess for ourselves to get out of. We may then further procrastinate instead of taking care of matters, so we can reach an even higher level of chaos and drama.
So why do we do this? Because the self-sabotage and ensuing chaos and drama make us feel alive. Most addictive personalities are emotionally shutdown and feel completely empty inside. We get tired and bored with feeling numb, so we subconsciously invest in some chaos and drama because it’s the only way we know how to feel alive. Tranquility makes us anxious. We can’t stand peace and quiet or normalness—at least not for long.
If any of this sounds familiar, consider this to be a wake-up call. Many of us get up every morning wishing we could have just one day free from chaos and drama. Of course, this desire belongs to our conscious, natural self that doesn’t understand how the addictive self is undermining peace and stability in our lives. We start our day determined to have peace (natural self) and then we spend the day saying and doing things that create chaos (addictive self). There are times when we even consciously ask ourselves “Why did I say that?” or “Why in the world did I stop to run this errand when I knew I was already running late for work?” We sort of get the fact that we are saying and doing things we don’t want to say or do; that we are creating our own chaos and drama; and yet, we don’t really, consciously get it. And so we generally find it easier to blame other people for our self-generated messes.
If you’re tired of chaos and drama, then you need to get serious about recovery. You need to be attending CODA or Al-Anon meetings, working the 12 Steps and consciously taking power back from your addictive personality. We are the only ones who can stop our self-sabotage.