I recently stumbled across teaching materials from Anthony Robbins on the six basic human needs. I immediately started looking at how these fundamental needs work within the dysfunctional structure of having a relationship with an alcoholic. I very quickly realized why so many of us feel lonely, afraid, insignificant, disconnected and uncertain about the future.
The Six Foundational Needs Found In Every Human All Over The World Are:
Ideally it would be nice to have all of these human needs fulfilled in a good way. As you read on you will see how dysfunctional things can become when we are coping with alcoholism. Tony did say that if someone in our life is fulfilling three of the six needs that we potentially become addicted to that person. Please understand that these needs can be fulfilled in a good or bad way, positive or negative.
Certainty and Variety
Do we experience certainty or uncertainty/variety when we are involved with a practicing addict on a daily basis?
In my experience, when an addict is caught up in their addiction, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty present in relationships. I do think that because of the uneasiness of the situation that we find some fulfillment on a negative level with the human need for variety. Let’s face it, being with an alcoholic is very suspenseful and emits a level of uneasiness that really affects our emotions. So in some very sick way the need for certainty is absent and yet at the same time we experience variety that causes adrenaline or other chemicals to be released. Have you ever heard someone allude to being addicted to chaos? An excellent movie is filled with variety and uncertainty. For more on this subject, check out: Uncertainty Of An Alcoholic.
Does a practicing alcoholic or addict fulfill our need to feel significant in a relationship? Here again, I believe that there are positives and negatives connected to this human need. Because practicing addicts are compelled by their addictions, we almost always find ourselves being treated as though we are not significant. We find that we are always second place to their drinking or drug addiction. On the other hand, we can find significance in taking on the role of the caretaker. Our focus on fixing the alcoholic or addict fulfills our need to feel important or in making a contribution.
We most definitely fulfill our need to be connected when we are with an alcoholic. We just do it in emotionally damaging ways. Because the problem drinker esteems their relationship with the bottle higher than the one with us, we feel disconnected. The connection we experience is one that fuels the insanity associated with being with an alcoholic… We find ourselves having a subconscious and conscious obsession over the alcoholic. Here again, we can be connected to the challenge of trying to get them to quit drinking. We can be connected to hope or faith that things will change. We can experience negative attention through arguing that makes us feel connected.
Anthony Robbins says that the human needs for growth and contribution have a spiritual base to them. I can see how letting go of an alcoholic and attaching to God causes me to grow spiritually. When I finally got lonely and frustrated enough to attend an Al-anon meeting that’s when I began to grow. Through my negative experiences with alcoholism, I’ve been able to learn new methods for dealing with life. I also have found a wonderful way of contributing to the healing of others who are suffering because of having a relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict. Out of the pain of dealing with an alcoholic, somehow I created positive ways to fulfill my needs. Through helping others I am significant, connected and making a positive contribution.
It might be a good idea to make a list of positive ways that you can start changing your daily routine in order to fulfill the six basic human needs in a positive way. I think the basis of making positive changes starts by learning:
If you will take a moment to think about how these six basic needs are being fulfilled or not in your life, perhaps you will have compassion on yourself in relation to the emotional state you find yourself in at times, especially if you find yourself being angry because the needs aren’t being met the way you desire for them to be.
I also know that if you will take a moment to stand in someone else’s shoes and look at how the six needs apply to their life, you may find a higher level of compassion for the alcoholic or drug addict in your life.
Contributing Author: Timothy Odum On Google +