What is Addiction?

Addiction is generally defined as a disease process characterized by:

  • continued use of a substance, behavior or process
  • despite physical, psychological, emotional or social harm,with signs of withdrawal when ceased or decreased.
  • progressive over time,
  • involving habit and compulsion

Primary Addictions may include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Drug Addiction
  • Food Related Addiction
  • Gambling Addiction (including compulsive debt and spending),
  • Sex Addiction
  • Codependency
  • ACOA (adult child of alcoholic) Syndrome
  • Internet Addiction
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Thinking/Acting (cleaning, shopping, self-diminishing, worrying, etc.)

Primary addictions recovery requires rescuing our life and spirit from compulsive, habitual attachments to substances and behaviors. And as we discover the intricacies of recovery from a wide range of addictions, we recognize a common link among them.

Addiction and Repression

This common link is how addictions act as involuntary coping mechanisms to control effects in the central nervous system (CNS) of trauma, childhood abuse, family and societal distress, prejudice, and ignorance. An addiction serves to self medicate as a way to deal with and suppress complex issues and energies within the psyche. Actually, who we are involves more than our psyches. What is stifled and crushed is the energetic "make up" of the entire person -- your whole being. The effects of both addiction and the trauma that compulsive use tries to control turn highly activated energies inward. Over time they become frozen in place. And when triggered by life events the resurfacing of these "patches" is what addictions attempt to repress.

Addiction and Self Preservation

We who are, or have been addicted, in a sense actually choose (often unconsciously) our addiction as the best coping mechanism available at the time. Addicted people have gone to great lengths, and have taken great risks for self-preservation. When under threat they indeed have an internal savior-self that loves and defends their "being." That hidden and misunderstood source of love protects through a creative, instinctual survival mechanism by pushing in and freezing energy. Unfortunately, as the addiction progresses, a cycle of guilt-relief-shame escalates. The true self is held down and frozen as well.