When I use the word ‘addiction’ I am referring to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, video gaming, and certain eating disorders. Addiction is a hard word to hear when we use it about ourselves or a loved one. Initially, there can be a lot of resistance to accepting that we or someone we know is addicted to either a substance or a behaviour, which is causing harm.
What is addiction?
Understanding addiction, what it is and how to treat it has been at the heart of my work and my own journey, both personally and professionally, since 2006. I know and believe that addiction is treatable and that people can and do recover.
A definition of addiction, paraphrased from Dr Gabor Mate, is the compulsive need to do something, again and again, knowing that there are negative consequences and continuing to do it anyway.
Addiction is progressive and the body and mind demand more and more to get the same ‘hit’, the same relief. The behaviour can become increasingly demanding on the body, the pocket, relationships and even on staying out of jail. The negative consequences of addiction in the extreme, and can be severe ultimately leading to death, bankruptcy, divorce and imprisonment.
How addiction impacts your life
Tony White, an Australian Addictions Therapist, lists four simple areas to think about when thinking of the negative consequences of addiction. As you are reading this you may want to have a go at answering these questions for yourself:
- How does your addiction affect your health?
- How does it affect your money and standard of living?
- How does it affect your relationships?
- How does it affect your liberty?
I work with people who suffer, themselves, and also their friends and families, who cope with the impact of a loved one’s addiction. Addiction has been likened to throwing a hand grenade into a family; the collateral damage is immense and it is not only the addict who suffers.
If you want to talk about your addiction or the addiction of a loved one, ring 07470 785725.