Blaming is an addiction. Justifying ourselves can keep us lost in our stories for hours, days and even years. Blaming puts the focus on the perceived faults of the others and lets us evade the necessity of directing our attention inward. Blame always separates, always disconnects. Overcoming addiction to blaming is an absolute prerequisite to experiencing the connectedness that is the essence of who we are.
Did my surgeon discuss transfer addictions during my pre op lectures? Honestly I don’t know. There is a good chance he did considering he was very thorough. What do I remember, I remember that he said I might lose my hair. It became my focus point. I got focused on being diligent about getting in protein and vitamins because I was determined to keep my hair. I lost almost all of my hair by time I was 8 months post op.
It came back!
I suppose I could look back and say I should have listened, I should have prepared, I should have, should have ,should have…. Seriously, what would that accomplish? Placing blame on “myself” for what I did or didn’t listen to will do nothing to change anything that happened in my post op life. Blaming my surgeon would be easy right? To throw down and say I had post op addictions because my surgeon didn’t warn me… hmmm
How about if I step up to the plate and say, I am finally aware that I had transfer addictions after my bariatric surgery. I realize that I denied my addictions, as soon as I recognized the fear of facing the addictions, I denied.
The first step to winning the war on addictions is to fully engage in your emotions and to be aware of the “triggers” to your addictions. Be aware of the feelings that trigger you to look for new “addictions”.
For a number of people, giving up overeating leads to adoption of a new compulsion. This adoption of a new compulsion to replace an old one is called “addiction transfer”. Addiction transfer occurs when someone is unable or unwilling to rely on one compulsion and so switches to a new compulsion due to not having dealt with the underlying issue behind the compulsion. For example, one may overeat because he/she is lonely or depressed, or for any number of other reasons. This person has gastric bypass to deal with being overweight, but does not address the feelings of depression/loneliness and therefore develops an alternative compulsion strategy such as gambling, alcoholism or excessive shopping, sex, or even blaming themselves and others for their misfortunes. There are millions of people who have undergone gastric bypass who are now dealing with issues of addiction transfer.
What does one do if they are faced with transfer addictions?
How would you treat someone you love, that told you they were struggling with transfer addictions? Would you judge them for going through the surgery and then finding themselves with new addictions? Would you support them and listen to their thoughts, feelings and fears? Would you allow your heart to love unconditionally, and to support the loved one? Could you do that for you?
Would you blame them for their poor choices and tell them they are getting what they deserve? Would you blame the people in their life? Would you do that to yourself as well?
What if I asked you to find a way to be compassionate with yourself?
Blaming the self and others is just another “addiction” one that lands the star role at being a “victim”. This could overwhelm a person with drama. Drama also is another addiction.
If you find yourself in the minefield of transfer addictions find a way to show yourself compassion. Forgive yourself, and set out to do what it takes to heal yourself from the inside out. Be curious with yourself and view your life and these situations without fear, fear leads to entanglement and attachment to blame and guilt. Therapy is a way to express your feelings and concerns to an outside party that is not judgemental of you. It is also a way to dedicate time and effort to your healing process. Therapy means you have to put effort and work in the process, but it opens a space in your heart for healing.
True transformation heals the mind, body and spirit….