The Need for Drama
Admitting that you have a problem with an addiction of any kind can be difficult and embarrassing.
In order to avoid this humiliation and to avoid admitting that he has to change his ways, an addict or alcoholic will resort to deflection and misdirection in an attempt to cast the blame off of himself and onto someone or something else.
You may be familiar with the drama queen who is constantly embroiled in exasperated drama amongst friends, foes, colleagues, and family. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in his or her life, there is always something to gossip about or to take offense from. This behavior can develop amongst the addicted as a coping mechanism for denial.
If someone you know is struggling with an addiction but they don’t want to admit it for a number of reasons, one behavioral tactic is to create as much chaos and drama around them—be it in the work place or home life—because it takes the focus and attention off of their problems and makes it everyone’s problem.
This is a deflection pattern and, again, firmly rooted in denial. Denial is one of the biggest and first hurdles to cross in the path to addiction recovery and the psyche will try everything it can to keep an addict from leaping that hurdle. Admitting that you have a problem is often the hardest thing to do so you hide from it in a sea of chaos that points the finger at everyone else.
This behavior is not only unhealthy for the addict, who is avoiding the confrontation with his/her condition, but it’s stressful and chaotic for everyone involved. When there is gossip and finger-pointing there will be hurt feelings, suffering, and a general lack of productivity.
If you know someone who is engaging in this kind of dramatization in order to avoid facing their own addictive behavior, it’s important to refrain from engaging in the drama or gossip. Instead, stage a kind of intervention by which you address the addict’s own personal issues. They may not be able to see right away that the enemy is not the person they’ve been lashing out at but themselves all along. But in order to come to that realization they need to be removed from the environment that is allowing them to cast off blame.
Put a stop to the drama, finger-pointing, and drama to allow the person to face their own specific role in all of it and address the real issue at play; a harmful addiction that needs treatment and help.