Updated: Feb 14, 2020
There are countless definitions of addiction floating around from numerous streams of thought. Which one do you follow? The one that resonates most with me, is one by Dr. Gabor Maté stating that
"The expression of addiction is any behavior where a person craves and finds temporary pleasure or relief in something, but suffers negative consequences as a result of and is unable to give up despite those negative consequences."
What stands out for me here is the 'finding temporary pleasure or relief' aspect of the definition. Meaning, there is something that these individuals are seeking relief FROM. This definition implies a disconnect. Rather than simply seeing addiction as a disease, an individual's problem, or due to having an 'addictive personality', addiction encompasses much, much more.
Addictions are not only limited to substances, but also include behaviours such as sex, gambling, internet use, exercise, and so forth.
Often there is a profound emptiness that one is trying to fill from the outside. Stressors are unable to be diffused, and some external control, such as alcohol, or drugs, or a sexual relationship, is turned to, in order to make oneself feel less stressed.
Addiction doesn't just include substances and alcohol.
A definition is a starting point. A shared common understanding of one's experience. A means from which to work from. Repairing the disconnect requires work.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Until next time,