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Understanding Addiction, Addictive Personality and Behavior and Asking for Help

Updated on July 25, 2013

Visions of Addiction

Understanding Addicitive Behavior

I think we have all had that insistent sometimes uncontrollable urging, whether it is charging that new pair of shoes, playing one more quarter in the slot machine, indulging in yet another piece of candy, cocktail, or even plastic surgery procedure. It is like the voice of complete unreason is calling you, pulling you, seducing you further in: "feel good now, forget the consequences". Is this the onset of an addiction, symtoms of an addictive personality or do I deserve an occasional treat? When any somewhat compulsive behavior becomes a pattern that affects your life in a negative way and you are no longer functioning in a productive manner, you will no doubt reach a point when you realize that you need to understand and seek help for your addiction.

Why are some of us so much more vulnerable to this calling, to a point where our lives can become completely unmanageable? Ironically, the point where one reaches their "bottom" varies as much as the fix itself, but the truth is, not all addicts look like an eighty pound homeless waif with needle marks covering what is left of their body. That is why addiction can be so deceitful and span decades before the addict, family or friends even realize there is a problem.

Addiction can become a blame game, it's all too easy to place the blame for this affliction somewhere else, then you can avoid confronting it here and now for what it is, your addiction. The reasons why one becomes an addict are quite controversial and everyone has their own theory. Personally I feel that it is a combination of factors that  persuade an individual to behave in an addictive manner. Some of the major factors are a genetic predisposition, environmental influences, peer pressure, and so on, but once you determine what may have caused a bout with addiction, I believe that dwelling on the past is counter productive. Once you get past the "why me" stage and accept the facts for what they are, you are on your way to a better life. Put that energy into healing yourself, not blaming the past.

I do know some people who have beat their addiction using pure will power and live a normal productive life however the majority of addictions are far too powerful, most people need support to manage and maintain their lives without allowing the addiction to reimerge controlling them once again. Many resources do exist but it can still be down right confusing when you do reach the point of ownership and you are asking for help.

It is beneficial, perhaps essential for some to acquire an advocate, someone that has your best interest at heart and is willing to help you overcome all of the obstacles that crop up during any recovery effort. Family members are sometimes too close and typically feel guilt, projecting anger and fear. A far better support system may be someone who has, perhaps beat an addiction themselves and is now living a productive life. Mentoring someone that is newly recovering from an addiction is also beneficial to them, by constantly reinforcing their new healthy balanced lifestyle, they are advocating their addiction free success story while at the same time, witnessing in you, where they once were. A powerful reminder of how far they have come in their journey.

And unfortunately there is still so much stigma with addictions, associating the addictive "need" to a human "weakness" of "flaw" instead of a health problem and treating it as such. I think the answer is probably different for everyone but there must be an opportunity for people to feel comfortable seeking help. Living in the closet with an addiction will either land one in lock up or dead and that is criminal in this day and age.

Looking Inward-Yoga & Meditations for Strength

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    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy 

      5 years ago from California

      You are so right Lori, it is hard to subscribe to just one theory when we look at addictive behavior - so many things contribute to what we are! Thanks for your feedback.

    • Lori P. profile image

      Lori Phillips 

      5 years ago from Southern California USA

      We often mistakenly accuse addicts of being weak when their addiction is driven by more than free will. We are products of our biology and psychology. Thanks for an informative hub!

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy 

      8 years ago from California

      Happy 4th Audrey! You are so right, it is an ongoing daily process - one challenge after the next, but that is also what makes us who we are!

      Always a pleasure to see you, glad you came by!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Addiction can strike any one of us in one form or another. Control over ones self is perhaps the greatest of all challenges. Making good choices and using self discipline is an on-going process on a daily basis. Your hub on "Understanding Addictive Personalites" is so well presented. Like all of your hubs, Kathy, they are a "must read". Thank you my lovely friend.

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy 

      8 years ago from California

      Thank you for visiting my twin Kathy! Funny how growing older mellows most of us anyway....I think that the "era" we grew up in - it was hard not to be exposed to drugs in one way or another. I think it will always be a part of my "growth" no doubt! I am so glad you came by to chat! Talk soon LC!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 

      8 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Kathy, you said; " Put that energy into healing yourself, not blaming the past." What a helpful and positive approach and one that is 100% correct, as I see it. Running the 'old tapes' helps no one and nothing. I, too, wonder about why some of us are so much more afflicted w/addiction and others are not. I used to think it was environment/family but have since begun to see that this is not necessarily the case. Some w/debilitating addictions do come from loving, healthy and supportive families. Addiction is so damn difficult to deal with...my younger brother has a major problem in this area...one which is life threatening; my older brother, the same and; me...well...it's been a battle all my life and continues to, to this day. Some years..lots of years in a row; it is not an issue. Other times...it rears it's ugly head and is a beast to battle. thank you so much for this very real and well written and helpful hub. Your friend, Kathy

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy 

      8 years ago from California

      Hi Denise, you are so right! Thank you for reading and commenting. I think my own struggle with addictions when I was younger kind of sparked my interest in helping others as I matured. Working with others when they are in the midst of an addiction can be so frustrating at times and I don't know how one has the patience to do it as a living, I guess if you can help "enlighten" one attitude it's worth it? I have mentored unofficially on several occasions and all you can do is try...?

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Denial of the problem is one way people stay in an addictive pattern; distorted thoughts is another-the mind tricks the addicted into believing they are still in control-all part of the denial.

      Interesting hub. I'm curious-you mentioned mentoring and I'm wondering if this is something that you do?

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy 

      8 years ago from California

      Thank you so much for reading Lorlie6 - I still seem to have such a difficult time talking about this, my Mother was alcoholic & always seemed to have a "morally superior" attitude with me until she got older. I always thought, an addiction is an addiction and it takes great strength and conviction to admit and want to change, some never do, sadly.

      I look forward to reading more of your hubs!!!! I am glad you stopped by.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      I really enjoyed reading this hub, Chatkath. A difficult subject, this, and you've handled it with grace. Thanks so much!

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy 

      8 years ago from California

      Thanks Epi-

      I look forward to your comments as they really make my day, even one with a bit of rain. It was actually quite nice here for a few weeks, then we too had stormy weather! Makes taking care of my homeless cats more difficult - poor babies, they tear up the garage like beasts, imagine that :)

      I am working on a few poems right now but they are rather dark, I think I will shift my focus as you suggest, add some artistic reviews of some sort. I love all kinds of music, my Mother was the art fiend, I am lost without her expertise I'm afraid. Classics are always best, but I also try to keep an open mind with films, art and music - expand my horizons so to speak. I am going to eat some pizza, sorry you can't join me. Enjoy your weekend, I will talk with you soon!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      8 years ago

      ...well I'm addicted to your hubs - maybe you should be writing for Cosmopolitan magazine - or as an investigative journalist for the NY Times - because you really excel at 'helpin' people and pushing them (perhaps) in the right direction - as we both know - the final choice always comes down to the individual - no matter how clear and concise the text may be!

      Well my weather report here up in Ontario, Canada by Lake Erie - is we are preparing for a big snow storm on Sunday - courtesy of a Colorado clipper coming up from the States - and I recall you were saying how you would like to experience snow - be careful for what you wish for - lol lol - maybe better just to look at a postcard or rent a video copy of Doctor Zhivago -

      How are you keeping by the way? Is life good for you and how is the Californian weather?

      What are some of your favorite films or pieces of music?

      Are you moved by great art? Maybe you should do a hub on some of your favorites?

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment - it really made my night and please keep in touch - I am a big fan of Darlene too! She is so awesome and has always supported me big time.

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy 

      8 years ago from California

      Thanks for your comments Sweetsusieg - I know, such a gray area for most of us. The minute I think I understand an addictive behavior, someone comes along to condradict my theory. I think the key word is excessive perhaps, and it varies so much with each individual...

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      I agree we all are 'addicts' of some sort, to a certain degree. If we do anything with repetition or 'must haves', then can we truly say we are not an addict? Coffee in the am, turning on the computer, watching TV at bedtime, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Coke... each are addictive in it's own way. If we find it difficult to do without and plan ahead to insure that we have our 'fix' of whatever it is... To me that is addictive behavior.

      It seems only the destructive addictions get attention, but then again... if they're not destructive, why would it be a problem?

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