2. PERSONALITY & ENVIRONMENT
3. EMOTIONAL (Part 1)
RISK-ADDICTED people are drawn to activities & decisions that promise a quick positive outcome that will be exciting, to help them forget themselves & get rid of unpleasant emotions. However, those who willingly participate in risky behavior court danger — prone to injury, disease, financial loss, incarceration & fatality. We can lose :
• friends, lovers, family, jobs
• our health, wealth & our very life
• our dreams, good opportunities, a variety of options…..
And those are some who’ve gone thru too many painful events or have severe disabilities – have tendency to increase extreme risk-taking. This comes from constant disappointments & trauma which has convinced them that they’ll never be able to form close relationships, that they have nothing to lose, have an ever-present awareness of their mortality….
ACoAs: Under-riskers withdraw & hide out, while Over-riskers push themselves to the limit & beyond. Such risk-junkies were just as terrorized growing up as the risk-averse, but their unconscious ‘defense of choice’ is to be counter-phobic, ie. so numb to the fear they carry that they need a high degree of stimulation (danger) just to feel alive. So when ‘nothing’s happening’ (outside) they feel let down – but what’s missing is actually something inside.
NOTE : this ‘strong’ emotional deadness (very shut down) is similar to what self-cutters experience – they want to feel something but don’t know safe & healthy ways. But instead of using a razor they used activities. Neither group has learned to use risk in limited, “moderate’, healthy ways.
HOME – These ACoAs have come to identify with a parent who:
• caused serious physical damage to themselves &/or us – as a result of careless or dangerous behaviors
• drove while drunk (& with family), raging / arguing in the car
• fought with everyone they could
• never took care of their health or safety
• over-reacted to everything, never being truly calm (except when comatose)
• stole, cheated, never kept their promises
OUTSIDE : from growing up in bad neighborhoods or other difficult environments, where we became addicted to the constant adrenal over-stimulation it caused
In the Present
These ACoAs are more afraid of being peaceful, of stopping to breathe, & long enough to hear our WIC voice of hysteria & feel that panic, of comforting ourself – than dealing with all the outer dangers they put themselves in. High-riskers are more likely to ‘mess things up’ by not considering the consequences of our choices. We act impulsively, often with anger, resentment, revenge, spite…. pushing away the very things we say we want. It courts danger for ourselves, & harms others as well.
These dangerous activities are often described by adrenaline addicts as fun, exciting, the only way to live… Without the high, whatever the form, they might have to feel trauma pain, & they’ll do almost anything to avoid that.
Like any addict, if for some reason they’re forced to give up that lifestyle (like getting into Recovery! or from a permanent disability) – they can experience:
• depression, feeling suicidal, hopeless
• feeling FLAT, that life’s boring, not worth it
• great difficulty creating a new way to life that is both healthy and pleasurable
• trouble motivate themself, in general or for self-care
Fortunately, doing ‘the work’ & sometimes the right medication will help to lift the compulsion & the misery. We can pursue our dreams, without drama! Progress is it’s own re-enforcer. Eventually, we will find things to do that hold our interest because we love them, & we look forward to down time & relaxation.
NEXT: Heathy Risk