Identifying addictive behavior is usually quite simple, in and of itself; but understanding what is at the heart of addiction tends to be more of a challenge. So, what is addiction and what does it look like?
Addiction is often characterized by an inability to think or act rationally, due to a dependence on something outside of the individual. That dependence can be on a substance, a person, a relationship, a lifestyle, or absolutely anything.
With addiction, a person depends on something outside of him/herself to serve as a distraction from real life issues. The person or thing upon which the addict has formed a dependence is a replacement in the beginning. It usually makes the person feel good; it fills a void. But, over time, the person’s dependence on the vice begins to feel like a burden. The addiction begins to overtake the individual, and instead of that addiction serving as a distraction, it often times becomes the person’s entire world. Real life slowly takes a back burner to the addiction.
Left unchecked, an individual can end up prioritizing their vice(s) over everything else in their life.
The vice feels good in the beginning, but those positive feelings usually make the person feel ashamed, guilty, or empty, etc., and within a very short period of time.
In summary, an addiction represents a person’s reliance on a vice in order to manage life. A person with an addiction has simply not learned to cope with life. Addictions can be psychological and/or physical.
Please note that this article is in no way intended to trivialize the struggles that those who endure addiction must face. Instead, this article is intended to shine a light on a common denominator that all addicts face. The more the mystery of addiction is unraveled, the better off all of us will be. For, addiction has invaded every aspect of the human existence. So, we must keep shining the light of truth on this issue. That is the only way to guarantee that we keep moving forward.