When Addiction Rules Your Life

by Neseret on November 27, 2011

DSC_6225What is Addiction?

Addiction is basically the compulsion to continue to misuse substances or other addictive activities despite the presence of negative physical, emotional, mental and spiritual consequences. For some addiction may include physical dependence. This means the person is unable to function physically, mentally, and emotionally without the use of the substance.

People Can Become Addicted to Myriads of things…

Alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, internet, exercise, work, shopping, sex, pornography, relationships, plastic surgery, t.v, video games and the list goes on. There is nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves. The problem is when a person is using or doing these activities excessively or recklessly and despite negative consequences. Having a glass of wine with your dinner is fine; drinking and driving is a problem.

Do You Have An Addiction Problem?

Anyone can become addicted to anything. There are a variety of factors such as genetic, family history, and environment that contribute to a person becoming addicted. Some people start out just experimenting, others use substances or activities as a coping mechanism and others just want to escape.

Regardless of what happened it is important to really reflect on whether your behaviour is under your control. If you have no control over the use of substance or an activity then it maybe time to re-evaluate. Being addicted does not make you less of a person. It has nothing to do with your self worth. It is about how it is affecting you and your quality of life.

Be Honest With Yourself!

Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have an addictions issue. You own it to yourself to be honest. Change can only begin with the recognition that there is a problem. You can fill in the blank with whatever you feel maybe an issue for you.

1. Do you do _________ so much that you don’t fulfill your obligation?

2. Do you keep doing  ___________ in situations that are physically dangerous?

3. Do you keep doing ___________ even though it causes repeated legal problems for you?

4. Do you keep doing ___________ even though it causes repeated social problems for you?

5. Do you need more ___________ to get the same effect?

6. If you stop doing _____________ do you feel bad physically? (withdrawal: ie: sweating, nausea, inability to sleep etc.)

7. Do you do ___________ in larger amounts or over longer time than you intended?

8. Have you tried to stop doing __________ and not been able to?

9. Do you spend a lot of time doing _________?

10. Have you given up important activities because of ____________?

11. Do you keep doing ___________ even though it’s making a physical or emotional problem worse?

Depending on how many of these questions you answered affirmatively you may have an addiction problem. Your addiction may range from mild meaning it is not causing you a lot of problems in your life to severe (ie: in the case of substance abuse and substance dependence) meaning it is interfering with every aspect of your life negatively.

Negative Impact of Addiction

Addiction often affects many aspects of a person’s life. Addiction can have negative impact on people physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually. People are usually very ashamed of their addiction. They’re often very secretive about their addiction and feel isolated. Their relationships maybe in ruins. They may become anxious and depressed even suicidal. They may be involved in legal problems because of drinking and driving or they may have lost custody of their children. Sometimes being in these unfortunate circumstances is what helps people see clearly how addiction is controlling their life.

Understanding Addiction

There is a lot of myths and misconceptions about addiction. Hence the reason why there is still a lot of stigma surrounding addiction. On the other hand it is very difficult for concerned friends and family to watch someone they care about self destruct. They may not know how to be helpful. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that pointing fingers, blaming and shaming is not going to be helpful to the person or to your relationship. Next you must realize that you can not change the person. They have to want to get help. Learning more about addiction is one of the best gift you can give the person you care about.

Here Are A Few Things To Give You Perspective on Addiction

People Who Are Struggling With Addiction Are Often Secretive

Many people are often guilty and ashamed of their addiction. They’re afraid of being judged, labeled and stigmatized and often rightly so. Addiction is perceived by many people in society to be something of a character flaw or moral weakness. Others view addiction as something that affects only the homeless or street people. However addiction is no respecter of persons. Again the best thing you can do for others is to learn more about addiction and to be extremely non-judgemental.

Individuals Who Have Family History of Addiction are More At Risk

Studies show there are genetic vulnerabilities to addiction. For example alcoholism has been shown to have genetic link. This means if you have members of your family who are addicted, there is a strong possibility you’re at risk. I also believe environment makes a huge impact in this area. If you grow up around people who abused alcohol it is likely that you will believe that is the norm. This is not to say that everyone that comes from similar environment will become addicted. As adults we can still make choices in our lives. However the environment in our early life often has great influence in our lives.

Addiction Can Have Short Term Benefits

Long term addiction clearly has negative impact on a person’s life. However often addiction starts out with some positive consequences. If people didn’t get some relief or positive feeling then they would not continue to do it. For example alcohol can help some people to fall asleep easily. Some people report alcohol helps them overcome social anxiety. Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibition. Overeating can be soothing to some people. Others report shopping to be therapeutic. The problem is that these short term benefits do not provide long term solutions. When the high is over people wake up to find they still have their problems to face. There are no short cuts.

People Can Recover From Addiction

Recovery from addiction is possible but it requires a lot of support and guidance. Addiction recovery involves learning new coping skills instead of using. Sometimes it involves addressing underlying issues such as pain and trauma from the past.

AA Does Not Work For Everyone

AA and other 12 Step programs have and will work for some people but not for others. Everyone is different and everyone has their own unique path to healing and recovery. There are many paths to healing. The best thing to do is try all the available resources you have at your disposal. Today, more than ever before there are a lot more community programs, and resources available to people.

Never Give Up

Love and compassion heal. Regardless of what is happening to your friend or loved one and no matter how hard it maybe to see them suffer do not give up on them. Always let them know that you care. You may need to draw boundaries at time as to not to enable them (they must take responsibility for their life). However you can always let them know that you’ll be there to support them if and when they are ready to make change.

For those of you who are struggling with addiction, never give up on yourself either. It can be extremely overwhelming to battle addiction. Be gentle with yourself and keep moving forward. Sometimes you’ll take one step forward and two steps back but that is still progress. Don’t let setbacks hold you back.

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