Cycle of Addiction

Addiction is an insidious affliction of the mind, body and spirit, and an addiction intervention of some description is usually needed to interrupt the process and set a new path. Centered in a distorted view of the world and its people, the sufferer of addiction accumulates vast amounts of internal anguish manifesting itself in a myriad of ways – anxiety, anger, depression – pain. In order to cope with this internal disturbance, the sufferer uses methods of self-medicating that provide temporary relief of the pain. So addicts use and drink for the effect produced, hence, using is actually a solution, for a while, anyway. Eventually, as addiction progresses, the relief produced by using wanes, and requires more of the substance to produce the level of comfort sought. Also, at some point, each sufferer crosses over an invisible line of control, meaning the choice to use is no longer there for them. This is one of the many opportunities that an addiction intervention can be a vital tool to the possibility of recovery.
Photo of the Cycle of AddictionMarked by a baseline of the internal disturbance, coupled with a maladjustment to life, the mind enters into obsession about escaping through using. In this phase they often invoke willpower to keep themselves from using, as by this time they have experienced the negative consequences produced by addicted activity. But the affliction eventually wins out, and they ingest a substance regardless of that experience. It’s on once again. They experience the comfort again and off they go. Our families have described this to us time and time again. And we have lived it ourselves. This current episode of using will eventually play out, and the addict is remorseful, making familiar promises not to use or drink again. The internal disturbance resurfaces. Actually, it was always there, it was just occluded by the effect of the substances they use. The process will begin all over again. Next is obsession, and so on. Unless this process is stopped by an addiction intervention, it will likely continue to repeat, and could eventually result in death.

There will also come a time when the effect produced by using no longer provides the relief at all. By this time, however, the addiction cycle is so engrained that this fact does not cause the addict to stop. They become miserable when both drunk and/or high, or when physically sober. They become increasingly detached and despondent. They vacillate between self-loathing and blaming others for the misery they are experiencing. They cite external causes for this condition, and are completely cut off from the reality that the disturbance is inside them, and the external condition is simply a byproduct of the internal condition. A secondary effect, not the cause. In order for this process to be stopped in its tracks, an addiction intervention is needed.

This by no means precisely describes the story of every addict or alcoholic, but rather attempts in a general way to describe the cycle of addiction. There is hope, however. People enter into recovery every day. Now, the steps they take next, and support of their loved ones makes all the difference. And by support of family and friends we mean to say that these loved ones take the steps necessary to discontinue unintentional enabling of the process. This goes far beyond not giving them money, and the best way to become an advocate of recovery for the sufferer is to enlist the help of addiction intervention through a qualified interventionist.