Addiction: self-induced changes in neurotransmission that result in behavior problems. Addiction is the use of a substance and/or an activity for the purpose of lessening pain or augmenting pleasure, by a person who has lost control over the rate, frequency, or duration of its use, and whose life has become progressively unmanageable as a result.
A pathological relationship with a mood-alterting substance: the “using” addictions.
A pathological relationship with a mood-altering experience: the “doing” addictions.
What is addiction like?
The root of addiction is a pervasive, deeply felt sense of detachment and alienation. The core beliefs of the addict are based on an impaired capacity to trust. Addiction can arise from a genetic inheritance, be the result of learning and culture and/or an impaired childhood, but addiction is primarily an attempt to self-medicate. Addictive behavior is an attempt to relieve suffering, an attempt to cope. It is not about pleasure seeking.
What is necessary for recovery?
People in recovery need a safe haven or a secure base where they can learn from others how to stop whatever is destroying their lives and their relationships. They need emotional refueling and support. The addict must recognize that their brains must heal for recovery. They need to develop the capacity for honesty and for self-discovery, self-regard, self-respect and self-care. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result; recovery is learning new healthy practices.
"Recovery is a process, a journey, that moves at the speed of applied truth."