what is addiction

Every day we hear of addicts who after spending some time being clean from particular addiction would return to their old vomits. Sometimes worst the second time around. In the previous post, I shared insights on how addiction develops in the brain. Please find here

It can sound unusual to see how a fully grown adult would be struggling from a substance he could easily have said no to. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Unless you are only a passer by.

Few days ago, I watched a video of a man in the US who was found on the streets showing very unusual dexterity with the piano. According to the story, he had been a fine man. Until he lost his wife. Then he became addicted to drugs. And had his son taken away from him. How such gentleman would become homeless on the streets craving hungrily for each next dose of opiates that would destroy him, and had his child taken away from him because of his own helplessness is one of those incredible stories we hear about. But it happens daily.

If you have ever seen an addict in real life, especially during their need for the same substance killing them, you’d be amazed at their hunger for it. That single moment’s craving would seem like their last breath and one they could not live without if the need for the consumption of the substance isn’t granted them at that instant.

Unfortunately, addiction is deceptive because it actually doesn’t come bearing its name. It comes subtly like an answer to a need. More like a solution to an immediate problem that leaves you with the after taste of its multifaceted venom.

Addiction exists for a reason because it pretends to serve a purpose. It usually pretends to gives us something that we need. Until we can no longer have a life without it.

Addiction is a state where we lose control over our urges and associated behaviour.

Addiction isn’t only about drugs and alcohol alone. Addictions can be related to work, sex, and any behaviour or activity that has taken over the control of our will to act, reasonably.

The problem with addiction is that it can take a very long time to develop, depending on the body’s response to the substance, or behaviour. You’d be deceived to assume you could never be addicted, if it takes a longer time, until it reaches that moment when you can no longer deal with what you once had the control over.

Addictions are often a cover up of the more underlying issues. As a therapist, I have seen how work is used to cover up the pains someone may be experiencing by using the activities of work not to think or be reminded in thoughts of the real issue shooting its head up underneath. And because work could be a distraction to these hurts by virtue of the busyness it provides, you may become so put into the work in order to avoid the voices these issues raise up, that you work more as it speaks louder. In your bid to keep the pains shut up further, you may develop a workaholic habit. Your bosses and colleagues may praise your ability to work so hard, without knowing what work is helping you run from. And if care isn’t taken, soon, you may also forget exactly what you were initially using work to run away from until the day it boomerangs.

This is how someone would be having issues with their spouse, and get busier at work in order to stay away from home, or not to be reminded of the marital issues,. Until work gradually becomes the new spouse.

Whatsoever has become an addiction would cause you to lose the control over the behavior. This is why it’s an addiction in the first place. Because you no longer have the power to say no, when you are supposed to, as it had served its purpose of giving you the distraction you had needed in the beginning.

Again, addiction happens because it gives us something that we need. In this case, it was a distraction to numb the underlying pains.

To help individuals trace where they had buried their shells, I think it’s best to work with them to identify where the addiction is and the time or turn of event when it started.

So many people are addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, work, and even buried in themselves without a need to interact with pother people. But these are only the effects of the greater deal. If we prude further, something had happened that any of these activities, or substances had helped cover up. Sometimes, it’s the pains from the loss of a loved one, a job, divorce, poverty, or health issues, or anything whose news had been too overwhelming.

Behind most addiction stories is a cry for help from a particular life’s issues that the addicted substance had once helped the victim with at some point in their life. Let’s remember this.

It is for this reason, I do not think it’s okay to judge addicts without hearing the story of how the addiction first began. This may not be true for all persons. But it is so for most cases. My role as a counsellor is digging the effects of a situation until we arrive at the cause because I’ve since observed the solutions to any effect is always in the cause; addiction not excluded.

I don’t think any addict had the intention of becoming addicted to the behavior, initially. The intersection was the result of being well served, supposedly. They might have overrated the solution it provided at the initial euphoric state though.

I understand the existence of addictions to some prescription pain killers. But, we should not rule out the possible abuse of such use besides the original prescriptions that may have given room to the addictive behavior, too.

Again, the addiction happened because it served a purpose. This is not to undermine certain legitimately excruciating pains people on prescribed drugs go through until they become addicted to such pain killers.

Addictions, I must reiterate, exists because it actually serves a purpose. In its initial phase, the substance, or activity of addiction usually appear like an angel of light. We must beware!


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To your successfully evolving life.

Joy Iseki

|The Counsellor|

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