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Winter retreat in the Netherlands 30.11.-3.12!

Do you have addictions or compulsions?

When I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, I realized my Granddad drinks.

I had no words like alcoholic back then.

And I was puzzled.

He worked and did sports – so how could he be an alcoholic?

I saw my Granddad acting weird, talking loud, smelling odd, moving in a different way.

This happened when I made a surprise visit to my grandparents and only my Granddad was home.

He had all the curtains closed and there was an odd smell in the flat.

He was talking loud and in an unusual way. He was in his underwear even though it was late afternoon.

There was something not quite right and I wasn’t sure what it was.

I felt uneasy, odd and tightness in my stomach.

I feel tension in my upper stomach writing this.

My Granddad invited me in. I wanted to get away. I went in any way.

I made some excuses to leave fast and worried I would hurt him by leaving.

My guts said this is odd, I need to get out.

I left and felt my legs shaking a little. I walked quickly away from the building.

I didn’t tell anyone.

His drinking was not discussed in the family.

I learned it was a secret.

The big people thought that me and my brother and our older cousins did not know.

Everyone knew.

I want to write about addictions and compulsion. I notice this is such a huge topic and not my specialty that I almost talked myself out of it.

And it is a broad one: anything from drug addiction (including marijuana addiction) to overeating, bulimia, anorexia, screen or gaming addiction, sport addiction, alcoholism, codependency, cleaning addiction, shopping addiction, sex or love addiction and more.

And I have my own personal examples of it. I have had several alcoholics in my life and I notice addictive tendencies in myself:

  • I eat when I am not hungry and I take more food even though I don’t need it.
  • Many times I work in a compulsive manner (yes, I do call myself workaholic)
  • I scroll my phone in a compulsive manner many times to avoid something or escape
  • I have been using alcohol more than is good for me when I was young and 
  • I have had many years something that could be called addicted to attention and crushes (not even addicted to being in love but the feeling of the hunt, the game and feeling desired)

I work with quite a few people who struggle with addictive behaviors or addictions in their lives. Or live with an addict or their ex is an addict.

I want to understand more of us humans – how these addictions take over and what kind of illness is addiction.

I read a book in Finnish where Johanna Pohjola writes about her late father’s alcoholism (”Isä pullossa” – Father on the bottle). It took me a while to start reading this great book, I imagine alcoholism is still a trigger for me.

I like the combination of personal story and experiences and interviews with recovering alcoholics and professionals in the book.

I want to write smart things about addiction and for now I am actually more interested in asking you:

What compulsions or addiction do you struggle with?

Is it a secret or do you share your struggles with loved ones?

What steps do you take towards your healing?

Do you have addicts in your life?

How do you take care of yourself?

Warm regards from Mallorca where Pete and I just finished a powerful and touching 8-Day Intensive retreat!

Tuulia (& Pete)

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