What Is Addiction? Understanding Addiction

I’m the hero and anti hero of my own story. I crave false lovers whose offers to serenade me and cradle me –  in the face of seemingly endless agitation – appear to be the solution to all problems that ever were and ever will be.

What is addiction? Understanding addiction on a deeper level.

My false lovers wear different masks, shapes and shades. By the time I know it, I’m well seduced. I dance with the challenges of this addiction game (and its shame).

My lovers and I have known each other well. From the first cigarette I smoked on the school bus to fit in; to the sweet inhibitions-less world I found with alcohol whose taste I never did enjoy. The comfort of heaviness a full belly brings after a meal big enough to feed ten; the buzz of coffee that turns my dread into a high; and the numbing out the television can bring.

All to squash an anxiety and fear that lives within. All to quell the resentments accumulated over time.

An addiction is another word for attachment. Anything your mind believes you can not survive without is an addiction. You know you’re addicted to something if the idea of being without it makes you anxious, angry, agitated, uncomfortable, fearful, irritable or defensive. 

You can be addicted to concepts too. You can be addicted to your way of living in the world.

Underneath all addiction is fear. Doubt in something higher than ourselves. Belief in the unsafeness of existence. It is not simply just a destructive habit. To understand addiction is to understand this. 

When we deal with those habits that are harmful in essence, toxic in nature and we focus on the habit only, not the root cause –  we’ll keep coming back to the more of the pain. 

oh the seduction of sweet addiction

Understanding addiction is understanding the very existence of humanity.

Me – a year before I began smoking and drinking. I was shy and reserved. afraid of most people.

There is a sweetness. Before the darkness sets in. The temporary lift from disconnection. Understanding addiction requires us to understand the cycles of pleasure and pain.

Each addiction brings with it a cost. Some more imperceptible than others. Some deadly. What’s your fancy? Whatever it is, a cost none the less. Irresistible still. Russian Roulette. What an addiction game it is. We romanticise it.

I thought non-drinkers were nerds. It was most certainly a dirty word. I would have been ashamed to join that clan back then. Yet before 12 I was that. I was that nerd.  I was soft and gentle inside,  I so easily cried. Easily bullied. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like how it felt when my nervousness ruled. Behind my smile butterflies.

As teens it’s part of the rebel. (replace the mobile below with cigarettes and booze – that
was me

My rebel rescued me from victimhood. 



Addiction gave me strength.  I thought. Made me wild. My inside and outside world applauded me. Rewarded me with friends, adventure and fun. Innocence
no longer appealed. At the time there really didn’t seem much choice. Bravado reigned. Thoughts of my ineptness and ugliness reduced to a whisper. Anger unleashed, in that I found a degree of peace.

So I know a thing or two about resistance to change and the addiction game.

Could it be more than it appears to be?

 I’ve wondered at times about the human design. That it seems so much easier to reach for all that hurts. That what hurts gives pleasure, comfort and with it the illusion that I’m not God’s Vine.

I have my own spiritual understanding of this  – at times. My own understanding of addiction. A clarity so to speak. Mostly though in my humanity it makes me mad with God. In my struggle I’ve screamed at the unfairness of what honestly doesn’t feel like my fault. I didn’t choose to be made this way.


But that self pity won’t save me or you from the addiction game. Because it has it’s purpose. It’s not a mistake. There is no greater growth. A reward far more than the short lived gain of that complex addiction game. And you’re so not alone.

Understanding addiction. A growth far beyond what the imagination holds. How to change your life?


It takes acknowledgement, surrender and perseverance. It takes support, love and compassion. It takes re defining who you are.

Although it works in the programs, I don’t call myself an addict. I won’t be labelled into the finiteness of categorising who I am into a such box. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognise addictive patterns that live within me. Patterns however do not define me. They do not make me WHO I am. I’m not an addict. I am of light and love. I’m an infinite being.

No-one knows this pain, except those who’ve walked the road. It’s a lonely, lonely journey. Not that uncommon in the human experience. Only less shared in the day to day appearance. We hide.


To be continued…..

“Anyone who has lived through it, or those who are now living through it, knows that caring about an addict is as complex and  fraught and debilitating as addiction itself.”  ― David SheffBeautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

Go to Breaking Bad Habits (part I) and Breaking Habits (part II)

Go to Who Are We When We’re Not Addicted by Dr Gabor Mate



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