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.