What is an addiction?
People can become addicted to many different things. Commonly we think of alcohol and drugs when we think of addictions, but people can also become addicted to gambling, online pornography, sex workers, self-harm, exercise, internet gaming, eating or food, to name a few. Further, the internet age means addictions are effecting an increasing number of young people.
My addiction was a way of avoiding my problems.
Often addictions simply start out as a way of having fun or relieving boredom. Other times it is a way of managing life difficulties. Either way, over time this can lead to repeated use resulting in psychological or physical dependence. For some addiction may be a daily problem, for others specific stressors may trigger their use or relapse.
Because I had no other way of handling my frustration, I held onto the idea that my addiction was reasonable and justified even when it was destroying my life.
Generally, we see something as an addiction if someone feels unable to stop a behaviour, or experiences problems caused by a behaviour. For example, missing work due to hangovers, spending more than they can afford on gambling, or becoming unwell due to drug use, eating in ways that are damaging to the body, or neglecting friends or family.
My addiction was something I hung onto for dear life. When so much else had been taken from me there was no way I was going to give it up without a fight.
If you have any addiction concerns, it helps to talk to a professional trained in addictions. They can help you decide if your use is a problem. They can help you make practical plans to start change and prevent relapse to help you feel more in control.