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Addictions

Addiction

What a difficult topic.  The word addiction can have different meanings for different people.  For the majority of us, addiction means being enslaved to a habit or practice to something that is physically or psychologically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

The 10 most common addictions

1.  Alcohol

2. smoking

3. Drugs

4. Gambling

5. Food

6. Video

7. Internet

8. Sex

9. Shopping

10. Work

Other addictions can include:  caffeine, television, sleeping pills, chocolate, sugar, nail-biting, cursing, worrying, lying, chronic lateness, being critical, arguing, excessive throat clearing and many more.  Some of these you could classify as bad habits.

Why do we have addictions?

1. Genetics- A person can inherit a vulnerability when it comes to becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a person with a family history of addiction is doomed to develop an addiction of their own. Not everyone born with this tendency develops an addiction, either.

2. Mental Health Concerns- Rates of addiction to drugs and/or alcohol are higher for people who also have a mental illness. They may start using as a way to deal with the symptoms of depression or anxiety.

3. Environmental Considerations- The place where you were brought up can influence whether you develop an addiction. If you spend time with people who are addicts, you are more likely to develop the same kinds of habits.

4. Lack of Spiritual/Religious Connection- People who are not affiliated with a specific religion may be more likely to feel empty or unfulfilled in their lives. Using a substance to feel better can be the start of a full-blown addiction.

5. Difficulty Coping with Thoughts and Feelings –A person who has trouble dealing with the trials and tribulations in their lives may start to use drugs or alcohol to help them calm down. Other people may start using to deal with feelings of sadness or boredom. A person who feels shy in social situations may find it easier to interact with other people after drinking or taking drugs.

6. Physical or Sexual Abuse- People who were abused as children may start using as a way to cope with the feelings of guilt, shame, and anger that remain after the abuse has stopped.

7. Low Tolerance for Frustration- A person who reacts badly to stress and becomes frustrated easily is at a higher risk of developing an addiction. They don’t have the emotional makeup to ride out the situation and may turn to a substance to help them cope.

8. Low Self-Esteem- A person with self-esteem issues is more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to feel better about themselves. They may start using to give their self-esteem a boost or to fit in with their peers. This type of individual may feel so bad about themselves that they start taking drugs because they don’t care about the dangers involved in substance abuse.

9. Accessibility- The fact that drugs are available means that people are going to experiment with them. If you are interested in buying drugs, they are available at schools and in workplaces just about anywhere. A certain percentage of people who decide to try them will develop a full-blown addiction.

10. The Substance Itself- Some types of drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and meth, are highly addictive substances. It is possible to become addicted to them very quickly. In some cases, the person will develop a dependence after their first experience. It’s common for people to think that they will be able to stop using any time they want, but this is usually not the case for someone who has developed an addiction.

The following quote may ring true for many people with addictions.

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
Edgar Allan Poe

Signs that you may be addicted

1. You no longer have a choice about whether you want a particular substance or activity.

2. You use it to relax or deal with your problems.

3. You start having problems with performing at work or at school.

4. You lose interest in activities that used to be important to you.

5. Spending a lot of time figuring out how to get more of the substance you are addicted to.

6. Changes in demeanor.

7. Keeping your activities a secret from family, friends and co-workers.

8. Changes in appetite and/or sleeping habits

9. You need to take more of the substance to get the same “high” or “rush.”

10. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.

The following is a very successful recovery program that has been used for millions of people.  Severe addictions need supports to assist you in living an addictive free life.

The 12 step recovery program

Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable

Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Step 3-  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God

Step 4 –  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Step 5 -Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

Step 9 –  Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

Step 10 -Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

In summary,  I believe that we all need to find our balance in life.  look within yourself, if you are in touch with who you really are, that inner voice will tell you the areas that need attention. focus on correcting these areas.  This will enable you to unlock the doors to a happier, more balanced lifestyle.  You will find that all areas of your life will be more productive, healthier and your relationships will build to new heights.

You get out of life what you put in. You must be willing to seek, in order to find.

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2 comments on “Addictions

  1. nikky44
    May 17, 2012

    I think I can relate to the 10 points you mentioned. I get emotionally addicted, and that one really hurts

  2. Pingback: Addictions « sherrylcook

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