The Disease of Addiction

We don’t recover from addiction by quitting. We recover by creating a new life where it is easier to engage in the addiction.

Once upon a time, addiction was thought by most to be a moral failing, a lack of self-will, or a deep psychological flaw (a personality disorder), rather than a chronic form of emotional illness. This moralistic belief system was prevalent until the mid-20thcentury, when our understanding and view of addiction began to slowly but steadily shift. One reason for this shift was recognition that addicts are nearly always survivors of severe or chronic trauma. And the more we know about addiction, the more sense this makes. For one thing, it is clear that addictions are not about feeling good, they’re about feeling less. We turn to addictive substances and behaviors not because we want to have a good time, but to self-medicate and self-regulate our emotions. Our primary goal is to escape from life and to not feel stress, anxiety, depression, fear, and other forms of discomfort. That is the disease we must overcome.

Just for Today
Pay attention to your feelings, especially to the ones that trigger a desire for escape.