How a Loss Masquerades as a Win?

couple-looking-tenderly72dpiOver the weekend, we had a question from a client that was related to addictions. Addictions wreak havoc on relationships. Understanding how an addiction can occur as a win to men won’t stop the addictive behaviour. It may, however, help spouses generate empathy and compassion at times when the relationship is being tested.

This client (let’s call her Wendy) was listening to a recording Donna had made. In it Donna mentioned that in some circumstances alcohol addictions and other substance abuse could generate “wins” for men. Wendy was a little confused because we usually see wins as “positive”, and she was having trouble seeing the positive in addictive behaviour.

Here’s how an obvious loss can occur as a win to a man dealing with substance abuse. Men are either winning or losing. Their perspective on life is that straightforward. Sometimes, when it occurs that there are a lot of losses piling up that they want to escape from, men can turn to gambling, alcohol, work and other potentially addictive behaviours because the “win” is in avoiding the other losses in life. The behaviours themselves are certainly not positive for anyone. From the perspective of the individual himself, however, getting drunk occurs as preferable to the ongoing pain of whatever isn’t working for him in life because he gets to feel good for awhile. Feeling good instead of upset is the win. Thanks for the question Wendy!

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