What could possibly be positive about addiction? You know the emotional pain, destructive behaviours, and chaos associated with this increasingly common and unfortunate phenomenon. This unhappy situation surely cannot have a “rosy” side, but it does.
The positive part of addiction starts with realization and motivation
When addiction makes one’s life untenable, the motivation to seek help often increases. The addicted person then has an opportunity to seek healthy solutions to put an end to the pain. The process may take, months or years, but I believe that addicted ultimately realize that they have a problem. When they share this realization with someone else, they then begin crossing over to the positive side of addiction.
What is good about addiction?
The good that can come from addiction is the discovery of the root issue that initiated the march to addiction and its potential resolution. To start the process, I first ask the question, “What is good about addiction for you?” (It matters not what the addiction is, whether it’s alcohol, marijuana, pornography, food, gambling, whatever.) The answer almost always is that it helped them to escape from their problems, however, brief the relief. The addictive behaviour served as a coping mechanism, albeit flawed. It helped them to deal with the discomfort they would otherwise experience.
As a counsellor with experience treating substance abuse and addictive behaviours, I learned that alcohol, drugs, and other abuses such as gambling, food, or pornography do not cause the addiction but rather serve as symptoms of the problem. Almost invariably, an emotional issue underlies addictive acts, thoughts, and behaviours.
Why do people use substances that hurt them?
Chaotic and self-destructive addictive behaviour serves as a survival mechanism. Addicted persons use the substance to shield themselves from the emotional pain of their problems. This includes people with unresolved trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, and other issues. Self-medicating through substance abuse can persist for years or decades. Some come to treatment saying they were a “functional alcoholic.” To me, this term really means a “less-than-fully-functional human being.” The person may be able to work and make money, but their addiction still impacts their lives in profoundly negative ways. Successful treatment uncovers the potential for much higher functional levels in all aspects of a person’s life.
What is Addiction
Mental health professionals use the term “substance use disorder” instead of addiction, but here I use more common terms. As a professional treating addiction, I learned that it is an epidemic. It will affect you or people you know during your lifetime.
To help you recognize addiction, its clinical indicators include:
You use the substance more than you mean to
You want to or have tried to cut down but haven’t been able
You spend much time trying to get the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects
You crave it and cannot get the thoughts out of your mind
You keep using despite the problems
You give up or miss out on activities because of the substance
You use, despite its physical dangers (e.g., drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana and driving)
You use it even though you know it makes you worse off psychologically or physically
Your use interferes with school, work, or your home life
Overcoming addiction may be the hardest thing you ever do. You have to want to get better. You need to put in the effort. Seek support from others. Talk to counsellors or you can reach out to us on WhatsApp through this contact 07063275684. Talk to others with similar struggles. Face the issue. Find the courage that exists within you. You will see that you can reconnect and form better connections with romantic partners, family, and friends. You can enjoy life and discover that there actually is a positive side to addiction.