Most people in today’s society know at least one person’s life who has been affected by Addiction, whether the vice was drugs & alcohol, cigarettes or other behavioral/process addictions like gambling or sex, etc. However, the invisible population that hardly anyone talks about are a group called, ‘Take-the-edge-off-aholics’. Take the edge off of what? Huh? Exactly! Well, I’m glad you asked.

In the book, ‘The Gift’s of Imperfection’, author Brene Brown, describes ‘Take-the-edge-off-aholics’ as individuals who take the ‘schmoregis board’ approach to find an easier softer way to numb themselves.  These individuals have a multitude of different ‘shadow comforts’ or Cross Addictions as I like to call them, that are not as easily identifiable as drugs & alcohol because they don’t call as obvious attention to themselves as a DUI or going on a 3-day binge. However, the pain these ‘Take-the-edge-off-aholics’ find themselves in is equally emotionally and psychologically catastrophic.

‘Take-the-edge-off-aholics’ may fall into many cross addictions including; compulsive internet use (email, facebook, twitter) or TV watching (‘Am I watching the Tv or is the TV watching me?’), constant texting (‘when was the last time I looked up from my phone?), over worrying about themselves & others, compulsive planning & rushing around as to not have a free minute to think, overworking out (cant outrun hating yourself), overeating (they call them ‘comfort foods’ for no reason), etc. Don’t get me wrong, it is totally normal to want to soften the difficult blows that life throws you sometimes. However, when ‘taking the edge off’ becomes chronic and compulsive and prevents you from living a full & robust life. It starts to look a lot like an addiction.

These ‘high bottom addicts’ search to make life more comfortable, cure boredom, ease the tension in their marriage, distract themselves from the stress of their children, or to anesthetize their depression/purposelessness through a series of different behaviors without even realizing that they are sleepwalking through life. Unfortunately, we cannot numb the pain without numbing some of the joy too!

The most important question to ask yourself when you find yourself surrounded by candy wrappers when you weren’t hungry or after you’ve been on your phone for 2 straight hours of compulsive Facebook is.. Are these behaviors leaving me feeling wholehearted & fulfilled? Or do they leave me as empty and searching as I felt when I started?

If you are feeling empty & searching and are not sure how to engage with life without numbing, please call Specialized Therapy Associates at 1-201-488-6678 today!