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Grappling With Addiction

Felicia SullivanFelicia Sullivan is a self-described “author, foodie, rockstar” and she writes regularly on a wide variety of topics, including grappling with alcoholism after growing up with a cocaine-addicted mother. But her recent entry about addiction was moving and is worth the full read:

The urge to self-medicate and live a life anesthetized was that great. It consumes you, swallows you whole. And while I didn’t need to go back to therapy, I just wanted someone to listen. I’d learn that your body isn’t a box built to house an unlimited amount of sorrow. That one day the box would explode and it was unlikely that you could walk away, undamaged.

I’d learn that your body isn’t a box built to house an unlimited amount of sorrow. Truer words have never been written, and yet so many people deny that they hold such sorrow. How did we come to believe that no matter what happens to us as children — innocent, simple children — or in our lives since, we were meant to simply bear it? That through alcohol, or drugs, or hopping from relationship to relationship, we can just keep the pain at bay, and the sorrow will fade.

Until we wake the next morning and experience it again anew.

Coming back to Felicia’s entry, she goes on to talk about attending a “safe meeting,” a support group meeting for alcoholics:

And then I was done with my share and I felt better. Someone in the room, 20 days sober after breaking a year and half of sobriety without AA, looked directly at me, said my name, and said she felt exactly as I did. I wasn’t used to a stranger feeling as if they know me because I’m incredibly guarded. But then I had to face the fact that this person actually did know a big part of me, because this, an alcoholic trying to better her life, was who she was too. After, three women approached me and hugged me. I wasn’t used to such affection and unconditional, unpanicked support, but I found I needed it. They gave me their numbers and encouraged me to call if I needed to talk, and they hoped I’d come back.

That’s the power of a support group — helping us understand that we are not alone, that our experiences — while personal — are not necessarily unique, and that we’re worth something. We’re important too. No matter who we are, no matter what we’re dealing with.

And while this support group occurred in a face-to-face setting, online support groups can have similar (if not different) helping power. There is so much power and value in human connections, it explains a large part of the popularity of online social networking, too.

Felicia Sullivan’s entry is worth your time. And check out her book, too, if you want even more poignant insights about overcoming hardship (for instance, growing up with a cocaine-addicted mother), finding your way, life, denial and addiction, and so much more.

Read the full entry: addiction never goes away, it lies dormant…

Grappling With Addiction

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Grappling With Addiction. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 21 May 2009)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.