Addiction

What is addiction?

A substance addiction meets two criteria:

  • You have difficulty controlling how much you use or how long you use. For example, one drink leads to more drinks, or one line of cocaine leads to more.
  • You continue to use even though it has negative consequences to your life. For example, you continue to drink even though it has hurt your relationships.

Those two criteria define all addictions. They are true for alcohol and drug addiction, but also true for gambling addiction, eating disorders, and sexual addiction.

Addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep.

A person who is addicted might do almost anything that goes against their own principles —lying, stealing, or hurting people—to keep drinking and or taking drugs.

Addiction is a recognised brain disease. For more info please also see here

The Consequences of Addiction

On the one hand, addiction feels so good that we want to use more. On the other hand, addiction leads to negative consequences. After a while, something usually has got to give.

You don’t have to hit rock bottom. There is lots of information on websites like this to show you the that there is hope and we can recover from all the negative consequences of our substance use. Many of us reached out for help before we lost everything. We know what it’s like to be where you are and we hope that we can help inspire you to think about those first steps you need to take to start to make that change.

The most important consequences of addiction are social, emotional, and psychological. People usually think of the physical and economic consequences of addiction. “I don’t have a serious addiction because my health is fine, and I haven’t lost my job.” But those are very late stage consequences.

The damage addiction does to our relationships and self-esteem is far deeper and takes longer to repair. We have hurt friends and family. We have disappointed ourselves. We’ve traded important things in our life so that we could make more time to drink or use. If you are recognising that there are consequences in your life it’s never too late, we can and do recover.

When we talk about any kind of addiction, most people think it is simply a search for pleasure. It isn’t.  Addiction has nothing to do with one’s morality or strength of character. It is not a test of will power. Addiction professionals continuously get caught up in the debate about whether addiction is a “disease” or a mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other nuanced aspects aspects of our self-destructive behavior. This intellectual debate is not useful to us that are seeking a solution.  It does not matter what addiction is  or how we got or developed it – what matters is there are many pathways to recovery and all are a cause for celebration and that we can and do recover.