People Pleasing Can Also Become an Addiction, Carol Adler

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This morning I received a phone call from a man who is attempting to rebuild his business–and his life. I’ve known this person for several years and followed him on a path that has taken him to the summit in his business successes and subsequently plunged him into the depths of despair.

Riddled by alcoholism and other co-dependencies, he felt helpless and alone, with nowhere to turn. Fortunately, however, he was surrounded by loving friends and an “angel” who sponsored a 90-day stay for him at a highly recommended recovery retreat.

Soon, through gentle and experienced mentoring, he began to realize he’d always felt he “wasn’t good enough.” He also realized he’d always been a “people pleaser.” Many of his successes had little to do with who he was and what he really wanted to accomplish during his lifetime. it was all about everyone else–what they wanted him to be and how they wanted him to serve their wants and needs.

With the help of his recovery counselors and therapists, he came to realize these self-serving image makers couldn’t possibly be associating with that person they perceived him to be, because he hadn’t even met that person himself!

During our conversation this morning we discussed the embarrassing demonstration of alcoholism and drug using among celebrities, political figures and statesmen and women… how ugly and disfiguring it can be not only for the addicted individuals but, if they are public figures, for everyone they represent. “When the camera catches these scenes and displays them to the global population over the internet, it’s over. A person can no longer hide from themselves,” he declared.

He should know. That is exactly what happened to him a few years ago. By accident (and as you probably know, there are no accidents in this universe!) he viewed a video playback of himself only a few years ago, drunk and staggering into a packed auditorium where he was supposed to make a public speech on behalf of his company. The program facilitators had to help him onto the podium and one can only imagine what the speech was like.

“The camera captured it all,” he said, “and to this day, I thank God for that video.That was the turn-around moment for me. I got It. And that “It” no longer had anything to do with others; now it was all about ME and the value I placed on myself. Would I now have enough guts to restructure my life? You bet!”

“Everything now looks different,” he said in closing. “I’m so grateful just to be alive. That’s the piece that’s really changed. I forgave myself and asked others to also forgive me. But I don’t look back. I’m here right now, doing my best. I will always be grateful to the loving, caring counselors and therapists at the retreat who were there for me during those first fragile steps of my recovery journey.”

Carol Adler, MFA’s first ghost-written book listing her name as co-editor, Why Am I Still Addicted? A Holistic Approach to Recovery, was endorsed by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and published by McGraw-Hill. Other publications include three novels, four books of poetry, and well over 200 poems in literary journals. She has ghostwritten over 40 non-fiction and fiction works for a number of professionals in the education, health care and human potential industries.

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