Sep 102013 33 Responses

Drama Addicts (or Why Your Best Friend Is Always Stressed)

Some people are addicted to drama. It’s a drug which triggers a part of their brains causing them to crave the activity.

They claim they hate drama as they call you, post on Facebook, and tell the latest tale to anyone willing to listen.

They are like meth addicts who claim to hate the stuff even as their teeth fall out, their skin ages, and they no longer resemble their driver’s license photo.

Early in my ministry, I was helping a woman who was living in a chaotic situation. She had made some bad choices and the consequences of those choices were difficult. She had surrounded herself with bad people and was suffering because of it. But over time, we worked though some things and all the drama of her life settled down. (See: A Checklist to Gauge Your Emotional Health)

Two months later she was back in my office. She had repeated the same choices as before. Despite all the work to escape the drama, she had run right back to it.

Foolishly, we began the process over. After weeks of hard work and navigating several tough issues, she was free. But of course, a few months later she called again.

I finally realized, it didn’t matter how many times I helped this woman, she would always repeat the decisions to get back into a chaotic situation.

It was the only life she knew. Like a person in bankruptcy who wins the lottery only to lose it all again, this woman did not know how to live a life of peace.

If given the choice of peace or drama, she would choose drama all the while claiming she hated the drama.

Like many people, she was addicted to the drama. She couldn’t help herself. Without serious intervention, help, and a great deal of work, she would forever seek, find, or create drama.

If drama often finds you, it might be worth asking: Why?

Of course, drama is a part of life. Every office, social group, family, or any gathering of people will have episodes of drama—crises will arise, conflict will occur, tension will build. Drama in this life is guaranteed. (See: I Know Who Is In Charge of Your Family)

Yet continual drama is not a natural consequence of life. A normal flow of peaceful times and chaotic times should be expected. Rare seasons of frequent turmoils are normal. But at some point, an overwhelming amount of drama could be a signal, not that drama is finding us but, that we are finding it.

Here are a few common characteristics of Drama Addicts:

1. An uncanny ability to see conflict even when it doesn’t exists. Generally speaking, you will find what you are looking for. Look for peace and you will find it. Look for conflict and you will find it. Drama addicts are constantly looking for their drug, and so, they often find it.

2. An inability to stay out of conflict even when it isn’t their business. Healthy people have the ability to know if a conflict is their business or not. A drama addict sees every conflict as something in which they have to involve themselves and take sides. The are unable to realize that most conflict which we experience is not our business and does not require our involvement. The first question anyone should ask when facing a situation is: “Is this my responsibility?” Most often the answer is “no.” (See: When a Baby Cries in a Restaurant, Rejoice)

3. A belief that a state of drama, and not a state of peace, should be the norm. Most drama addicts believe if they are experiencing peace, something must be wrong. They are surprised by it. They are uncomfortable with it. This uneasiness is what causes them to seek out problems or even create them. They simply do not know how to handle an absence of drama so they will unconsciously create it.

The problem with being addicted to drama is the same problem as any other addiction, it doesn’t satisfy. It is exhausting. It’s a horrible way to live.

Thankfully, life doesn’t have to be this way.

There are other options.

You can live a life:

  • with a small amount of drama which doesn’t overwhelm you
  • with a deep satisfaction of life and your relationships
  • with an ability to help others without taking on their problems
  • with an ability to feel empathy for others without feeling overwhelmed
  • with proper boundaries

All of this is possible. But to live this way will require you to admit you have a problem, understand you are powerless over it, and seek assistance in living a radically different life.

Everyone faces drama in life. Seasons come and seasons go. Yet if you find yourself facing an unusual amount of drama on a regular basis, it might be time to get help.

If you live in the Greater Fort Smith Region, a great start in recovering from Drama Addiction is found on Thursday nights at Celebrate Recovery.

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