What Addiction Isn’t

Addiction isn’t a new concept. It is something that many people are familiar with, whether they’ve struggled with substance use themselves, seen the effects on a friend or loved one, or watched stories on the news. There is so much information swirling around that sometimes it’s hard to make sense of it all and know what to believe. While there is so much focus on what addiction is, what causes it, and how it affects people, something that is often less emphasized is what is addiction isn’t, which can be just as powerful.

Addiction Isn’t …

  • About the drugs.

People don’t misuse drugs or alcohol because they enjoy the drug – they enjoy the feeling it produces. They thrive on the temporary euphoria, the burst of energy, the relaxation, the lack of pain, the lowered inhibitions, the ability to forget their problems for a while. They are using drugs as a way of trying to solve another problem, when in reality, it can actually make the problem worse. With continued use, their brain and body become addicted and they’re no longer in control. They’re unsure of how else to cope and going through withdrawal is unpleasant, so the cycle continues. Addiction isn’t about the drugs; it’s about how they make the person feel.

  • A failure of morals or willpower.

Some people are under the impression that individuals battling addiction somehow lack the willpower or morals to stop. That if they really wanted to be sober, they could. This isn’t necessarily the case. No one wants to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many people are able to stay sober for a short time, but then they end up relapsing because of the discomfort of withdrawal or the pressure of cravings. Substance use changes the way the brain processes information. Even when a person wants to stop, it’s not that easy. They need professional treatment to overcome underlying issues and relearn healthy thought patterns.

  • A choice.

As previously mentioned, no one wants to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. They often turn to substance use as a way of trying to cope with stress, grief, trauma, pain, boredom, anxiety, depression, or other challenges. They find that it is a temporary fix when they don’t know what else to do. After continued use of drugs or alcohol, the body becomes dependent and craves it. Quitting cold turkey can be dangerous and uncomfortable. It is necessary for individuals to go through a certified detox program and safely rid their body of addictive substances. Then, they must learn new strategies for dealing with challenges and obstacles to sustain their recovery.

  • A discriminatory disease.

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can affect people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, religions, socioeconomic statuses, occupations, and more. There is not a sole cause of addiction; it is a combination of genetics and environment. While drug addiction and alcoholism often run in families, there is no guarantee that someone will or will not develop an addiction simply based on family history.

Not everyone struggling with addiction is homeless, unemployed, or uneducated. In fact, many people are just the opposite. They have steady jobs, own homes, hold college degrees, and have loving families. Addiction can affect anyone if the circumstances are right; but at the same time, everyone also has the ability to achieve recovery with the right help.

  • Something to be ignored.

Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Addiction is a serious issue and one that should be treated as such. If you are concerned about a loved one’s drinking, or think they might be addicted to prescription drugs, speak up. Express your concern and offer support. Take steps to get them into a drug and alcohol rehab program so that they can turn their life around for the better. Everyone needs someone who is willing to fight for them and stand behind them. Don’t let addiction pass by unnoticed.

  • A dead end.

Batting addiction is not the end of the road. In fact, it is an opportunity to create a new beginning. Drug and alcohol treatment centers like Northbound provide individuals with the therapies, counseling, resources, support, and encouragement they need to thrive in recovery. Clients can get their lives back on track and realize their potential. They can achieve the goals they set for themselves and make a positive difference in their community.

Northbound strives to show clients that recovery is possible and anyone can achieve it. We meet you where you are at, whether it’s your first time in treatment, you’re overcoming a relapse, or you’re looking for continued support to solidify your recovery lifestyle. Treatment is tailored to your individual needs to help you be as successful as possible and reduce your risk for relapse.

At Northbound, you learn how to live life on life’s terms through our In Vivo® model. You have continual opportunities to practice the coping skills you are learning in real life settings. When challenges arise, you can work through them knowing that you have continued support and guidance to maintain accountability.

Addiction isn’t something that people should be ashamed of. It is an opportunity to show that recovery and change are possible. You can use your story to educate and inspire others, support prevention efforts, and stand up for improved access to life-changing treatment.

There are so many things that addiction is, but there are also so many things that it isn’t. In treatment you and your family can enhance your understanding of addiction, its causes, its impact, and the varied approaches to treatment and ongoing recovery. Everyone’s journey is different, but with the right guidance and support, they can be successful in overcoming the grip of addiction and leading a healthy, productive, substance-free lifestyle they love.

If you’re ready to turn your addiction recovery into a fresh start, Northbound is here to guide the way. Contact us today to learn more about our full continuum of services.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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