Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ADDICTION: Part 1 of 3 - Defining a Misunderstood Tragedy

What is Addiction?

Is it the drunk that has to start every morning with a pull from the stale remains of last nights bottle just to be able to get out of bed?

Is it the coke head who doesn't generally use all week, but every time, when the whistle blows on Friday, he gets right to the 48 hours of blood pumping, mouth numbing, insane, powder-coated chaos?

Or, is it your relative, girl friend, or co-worker who is just SO addicted to Grey's Anatomy/chocolate/massages/etc?

It's surprising how little your average person understands about addiction; how few people even know what addiction IS.

Addiction has been defined a lot of ways by the medical and psychological community, but the definition that has been embraced more recently by many in the field, is, to me, far and away the most accurate; in essence:

ADDICTION: Continuing a behavior in spite of existing and ever-increasing negative consequences.

THAT is addiction.

That is what addiction truly is, and yet, the misunderstanding about it is bountiful. The misunderstanding about addiction allows for many troubling situations: It allows true addicts of the kinds of drugs that are not generally used every day to say they are not an addict (because, they argue, an addict has to use all the time). It allows the woefully ignorant family members/friends/etc of recovering addicts to say ridiculous things such as: "Oh yea, I know how it is. I am just SO addicted to chocolate. I have to eat at least one little piece every day! So bad, right?" It causes the teenager who is just starting to use marijuana to go ahead because the well-circulated, yet completely inaccurate "common knowledge" amongst so many is that marijuana can't become an addiction.

All wrong.

Again, ADDICTION: Continuing a behavior in spite of existing and ever-increasing negative consequences.

Addiction is continuing to drink despite the times you've thrown up and been hung-over(physical consequence)/missed work (professional consequence)/cheated on your significant other (inter-personal consequence)/etc.

Addiction is continuing to use meth or coke despite the drug-fueled fights you keep getting into with friends.

Addiction is continuing to have random casual sex with strangers despite the personal emotional torment that follows every encounter.

Addiction is continuing to pop pills despite several arrests for unlawful possession.

Addiction is continuing to gamble despite your wrecked personal finances.

Addiction is continuing in a relationship despite your partner's emotional and/or physical abuse.

Addiction is continuing to binge eat despite the fact that you weigh 600 pounds, your health is deteriorating, and your binge-eating, and it's subsequent consequences, are completely devastating your loved ones.

THAT is addiction.

And it is hell.

*Coming Soon, part 2: ADDICTION - Hi, My Name is StagesofChange and I am an...*


  1. You are a powerful, insightful writer. I enjoy you blog, very much.

  2. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling. I'm with you, my health (and life) is a wreck because of my addictions past and present. I am constantly learning about all the holes that I have been filling with my addictive behaivor. Just when I think I've healed one thing, I seem to find something new to work on.

    I know you (and I) will be victorious.

  3. As a RECOVERING drug and food addict I'd say you hit the nail on the head. Yup, that's addiction. Doing the same thing over and over....expecting differant results.

    cunning, baffling, POWERFUL!

  4. Boy did you ever hit the nail on the head. Really looking forward to the next post!!

  5. I am both a beer and food addict. Saying no is not that difficult unless I have already started. Then saying no is impossible. Im waiting patiently for parts 2 and 3.

    good night and peace

  6. That's the best definition of addiction I've ever read and it's hits the proverbial nail square on the head!