How To Recognize & Recover from Addiction

If you can’t stop using substances or engaging in behaviors that harm your mind, body, and relationships, don’t give up hope. You’ve found a place to get help for your addiction.

How Do I Know if I Have an Addiction?

According to The American Psychiatric Association (APA), addiction (also known as severe substance abuse disorder) goes deeper than a series of negative behaviors:

“Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence.”

If you are dealing with addiction, your focus on using addictive substances or behaviors to cope is so fixed that it takes over your life. In fact, you continue to do so, in spite of how it’s hurting you, your relationships, your work/academic performance, and your ability to connect with others.

Addiction can refer to dependence on drugs and alcohol, but it can also manifest itself in other ways. You could have an addiction to:

While all of us make choices that influence our lives, addiction is more than a string of bad choices. Understanding some of the reasons addiction happens is key to freeing yourself from shame and shifting your focus to recovery.

Why Do I Have an Addiction?

We are responsible for our choices. But addictive behavior feels so difficult to stop because your brain is wired differently.

According to the same report by the APA, “Changes in the brain’s wiring are what cause people to have intense cravings for the drug and make it hard to stop using the drug. Brain imaging studies show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory and behavior control.”

This atypical wiring may be there because of genetics or a diagnosis of mental illness. But continually using the addictive substance (or engaging in the addictive behavior) can also further cement those neural paths.

Can I Recover from Addiction or Relapse?

With what we know about addiction, it can seem like you’re trapped by substance use or destructive behaviors once you start down that path. But the truth is far more freeing. You can recover from addiction (even if you’ve relapsed). And you can start today.

The first step is to recognize and admit you have an addiction. Understanding you have an addiction, and that it harms you and your relationships, is a critical step toward recovery.

Know what tempts you. For every temptation, there is always a way out. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Know what triggers you. Knowing the people, circumstances, places, actions, and feelings that trigger your addictive behavior can help you make a plan to stop and turn you toward healthier coping strategies.

Ask for support. There are many caring experts and professionals uniquely qualified to mentor and support people with addictions. If you’re looking for help from people who have proven results with lasting addiction recovery, you’ve come to the right place.

We are here. We support you. And you can be free. It’s time to get the help you need to break the cycle and heal from addiction.

Learn more about addiction and recovery by searching our blogs, ebooks, podcasts, and other resources:

  • Can people truly recover from addiction?
  • How does addiction develop over time?
  • What do I do if I’m in a relationship with an addict?
  • How do I succeed in addiction recovery?
  • What do I do when I want to get clean and sober?

FAQ on Addiction:

Is it Okay to Be Upset with an Alcoholic Sibling?

Having a sibling who is addicted to alcohol is upsetting, and it is valid to feel hurt when unhealthy behavior related to their addiction impacts you. Being upset doesn’t mean you hate them, and it doesn’t mean you don’t care about their illness. If you feel unsafe talking directly to your sibling about your feelings, a counselor or mentor can help you manage these complicated emotions so you can find greater healing and avoid bottling things up.

Learn more

See More

Most Recent Blogs on Addiction

How to Deal with an Alcoholic Sibling?


Sibling of an Addict Addiction is a homewrecker. It devastates. Whether it’s alcoholism, drug abuse, or any of the numerous damaging addictions that plague us, it hurts everyone involved, not just the person suffering from the disease, and it requires serious treatment and support if recovery and rehabilitation are to be..Read more

How Do I Help My Friend with Addiction Without Breaking Their Trust?


Supporting Friends Without Enabling Them Having a friend with addiction is tough. Their addictive behaviors cause them additional pain, because addiction does nothing to heal the pain that drives them to drink, use drugs, or harm themselves in other ways. I recently got a message from someone whose friend is addicted,..Read more

Addiction Recovery: Why Does Addiction Happen?


Addictive Behavior The reasons why people become addicted are complex and frustrating. If you or a loved one have suffered from the impact of addiction, it can be hard to understand why addiction happens. I know the feeling of being in pain or struggling and wanting to understand the source of..Read more

6 Ways to Have Fun Without Drinking


If you struggle with substance abuse, or simply find that you’re more dependent on alcohol than you want to be, it can be a frustrating journey to growth and recovery. It seems like every social media post and every ad for food and drink features drinking at its center, surrounded..Read more

View More >

Podcasts about Addiction :

Videos on Addiction:

eBooks on Addiction :

Ask Dawson:

Stories on Addiction :

I’m An Addict and I Felt All Alone


I Felt Abandoned Hi. I’m Megan and I’m an Addict. I thought that was a weird word. I didn’t really ever think I was one. It’s a typical story really. But so hard for me to deal with. I was always an outcast when I was a kid. By the..Read more

Life as a Mother of an Addict and Felon


I am the mother of a 34-year-old son who is an addict and a felon. He has been in more rehabs and diversion programs than I can count. He has lived on the streets, been an absconder, and is presently incarcerated for the 9th time. Life as a Mother of..Read more

I Was Insecure in Middle School


I Felt Like I Wasn’t Good Enough Everyone is insecure over something. I’ve yet to find one person who loves everything about themself. Unfortunately, my insecurities led me to develop anxiety and depression. Being a teen in middle school makes your self appearance stand out more and more. In 8th..Read more

Depressed: I Have No Meaning in My Life


Depressed at a Young Age I have felt depressed most of my life, since a very young age. I grew up in an incomplete family. I don’t remember my parents ever having a good relationship. I feel they did not do a good job as parents. My whole family consists..Read more

View More >

Resources for Addiction :

Spiritual Perspective :

Verses of Hope

Free eBooks


Free eBook: Understanding a Relationship with God

Free eBook: Understanding a Relationship with God Do You Feel Like Life is Meaningless? Are you wondering what your purpose is? Do you have questions about what Christians believe or what it means to be a Christian? At TheHopeLine we believe real and lasting HOPE can only come through a relationship with Jesus. And this […]

View More >

Additional Resources

View More >