Addict, now that's a loaded word, isn't it? Addict, addiction, substance abuse, those are words addicts have heard all of their lives, even before they knew they were one. The word has a negative connotation, why do we still use it in recovery facilities? Because for lack of a better word, it's short and to the point. If you have had difficulties quitting something like cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or even something such as video games, you are an addict and should seek addiction counseling if you can't stop.
Everyone Has Addictive Tendencies
Truly, why do we call a person addicted to drugs an addict, but a person who is addicted to work a go-getter? Do we call Steve Jobs an addict for working tireless hours building up one of the top technology companies in the world? Jobs gave his all to Apple, and it paid off. The iPhone will go down in the annals of history as inciting a huge technological revolution. He was also reportedly a terrible father, and an insufferable boss at times. It's clear that while his addiction was good for society in terms of innovation, it was not good for his personal life.
We praise Jobs for being addicted to work, but we, of course, don't praise addicts for being addicted to substances. I don't want to belabor the point, both are instances of addictive behavior/tendencies, but it's clear which one will cause you to self-destruct the most.
While there are many genetic and biological reasons that make addicts much more susceptible to the effects of substances than others, at the end of the day it's the use of such things as a coping mechanism that creates the vast majority of addictions.
The premise is simple, everyone has addictive tendencies, and no one is free from the human condition that drives us to seek out refuge in habits. In other words, the mental desire to be addicted to something is prevalent in everyone, it's just most unfortunate when that is attached to a highly unhealthy habit as opposed to a good one. A good addiction is exercise, but even that becomes a problem when your body needs rest but you've become compulsive about working out—which is often tied to poor self-image and a desire to constantly punish oneself to remedy that.
Your Cravings Are Here to Stay
It's not something people want to hear, but as addiction counselors and addiction recovery specialists, it would be irresponsible to not say so. Many addicts who have been clean for years still attend meetings and programs because they foster a sense of community and family, as well as solidarity in addiction-related troubles.
Just like how someone who has struggled with losing weight their entire life will occasionally have that temptation to binge-eat in response to emotional stressors, it's also possible that a former alcoholic may have the temptation to have a drink 10 years into sobriety. This is normal behavior for anyone, much less addict. However, addicts tend to have abnormal responses to things like alcohol which predisposes them to a greater risk of substance dependency. For example, it has been studied that those who have a genetic susceptibility to alcoholism are also noted to have an abnormally high dopamine response to alcohol that other people do not possess. That is why they must be more careful with their particular indulgences.
Addiction Counselors in Virginia
Don't let this article dishearten you, friends. Despite the fact that cravings don't ever totally away, that does not mean they do not lessen in severity or frequency. Most people who have been in recovery for many years report that it's often the opposite which is true. Cravings will, for the most part, disappear. A portion of people in recovery claim that the urge is always there, but they are much better equipped to deal with them and identify healthier coping strategies. Others claim that they are free from all dependency and haven't looked back. Addiction is a complex beast and for every person, there are many possible roots for their addiction whether physical or psychological.
One thing is clear: impulses can come out of the blue for anyone, but that's nothing to fear. There's no shame in having impulses, we can't control those things. We CAN control how we respond to those impulses and cravings.
At Recovery Care Partner We believe that love and compassion are what free us from the bonds of mental and physical slavery that is addiction. That's why we still use the word addict because we don't judge it, it simply is.
If you are seeking help substance use help or require a skilled interventionist, contact Recovery Care Partner here!