Addiction is the persistent use of a substance or behavioral pattern where that use is detrimental to the user. It is not the substance or behavior(s) that is the problem. Instead, it is the extent and pattern of use that determine if the behavior is considered addictive or not. Below are some of the more common forms of addictive substances/behaviors.

Alcohol Internet Drugs Gambling Gaming
Food Marijuana Work Stealing Relationships
Cigarettes Exercise Sex Health Food Religion

You are not alone.

Statistics for alcohol and drug abuse alone suggest that nearly 27,000,000 Americans either use illicit drugs regularly or are “heavy drinkers.” These statistics do not include the many and various other addictive substances or patterns. So you can imagine.

Some addictions have a physiological component and others do not. In any event, they can be a drag. The very nature of addiction is that it is progressive, pervasive and ultimately, life threatening.

Yes, I know this sounds dramatic. But, think about it. The path of addiction is that it will take on increasing importance. It starts with being fun; a diversion; something to look forward to after a long day. Over time, however, your substance begins to take more time, more money, more thought, more serious action. It takes on a life of its own. You, in turn, feel less and less in control, while the “addictive self” has taken too much control. It is progressive.

Then, the addictive behaviors start interfering in your most important relationships. People start to comment. Maybe they begin to shy away from you. Maybe you start alienating them and isolating to practice and protect the addictive behaviors. The substance use becomes more important than your health, your relationships, your job, your intellectual pursuits, your creativity, your morals, your values, and your spiritual life. Eventually, it interferes with every aspect of living. Again, it takes over. And, what happened to you? It is pervasive.

And, finally, it is deadening. If the substance use does not literally kill you, it will figuratively deaden the soul. It can steal your very essence exposing a hollow shell of your former self. Even if you unabashedly practice your addiction in front of others, it will erode at your self-esteem and cause you to feel ashamed, go into hiding, and live with its secrets. Or, you may have successfully hidden your compulsions from others, but it doesn’t matter because - You Know. You know its power and how much it is stealing from you. It is life threatening.

The question is, “Are you ready?” Are you ready to explore this phenomenon? Are you ready to, at least, look at its hold on you? You can start by questioning your relationship to the patterned behaviors or substance. Most people find that the first step is being willing to look; being willing to explore its impact and then later make a conscious decision about whether or not they are ready to make some changes.

It’s your choice. No one can do this for you. You have to decide what your life is worth.

Give me a call, if you are ready...