Well today we start a new lesson in the breaking unhealthy life patterns series. this is lesson 4 part 1 called "the cycle of addiction". thank you for following this series if you are doing so, if not plug in at any time.
Some of us would say I have some habits but no addictions. well, in this lesson we will learn how easy it is to go from a habit to a addiction and not even realize it. lets get started.
The Pattern of Addiction
Is it a Habit or a Addiction?
The pattern of addiction rotates around three stages. An addiction can begin as a habit, look quite harmless in the beginning but can quickly evolve into much worse over time. All habits big or little have the potential of becoming full blown addictions unless we realize what drives them.
There are three stages to an addictive pattern which includes;
a) A change in our thought process,
b) A change in how we deal with life & others
c) A physical and mental breakdown.
By the time the addiction cycle reaches the third cycle a person’s physical and mental well-being has eroded to the point where there is a loss of control. At this level Suicide can sometimes seems like the only way out of a person’s problems.
Stage one: We have a need for emotional comfort that is not being met and we begin looking for ways to satisfy that need.
This makes the person feel better for a period of time because the need is being met, but when it wears off and the need comes back again the person mentally connects relief with the act.
▪ Since we are getting emotional comfort through a specific act/action it quickly becomes the solution to the problem instead of actually dealing with the problem itself. The cycle has been birthed!!
▪ The act has now become an addiction and over-rides all logic and reason regarding the real problem.
▪ As time progresses the person tries to explain away the reasons for their actions which is completely illogical.
▪ When truth is applied to a person’s addictive pattern they will try to make a case for how good they feel and begin to point out the good sides the addiction.
Stage two: After a short while, the act/action is related to (the need that is being met) and the person is mentally hooked. The act is now becoming the answer to all of the person’s emotional/physical needs. Now everything that is connected to the need that is not being met triggers the act in order to feel better.
▪ The more people we gather around us and who will also participate in a particular act/action the stronger the addiction becomes. From a social perspective the more people we have around us the easier it becomes to stay in the addiction and the more difficult it becomes to break it.
▪ In this stage when the person is questioned about their actions they becomes self-defensive and perceive it as an attack!
▪ The person becomes (selfish and self-focused) using others to get what they want and can’t understand why others get upset at them.
▪ The person feels like they are right and begins to withdraw from others.
▪ Part of the person sees others being pushed away but feels ashamed and in order to cope blames others instead.
▪ In time the person becomes labeled as a problem and becomes the scapegoat for other problems.
▪ The more isolated one becomes the more they act out!!
▪ The longer the addiction goes the greater the tolerance for that addiction gets. Now the act has to be performed more often in order to feel a bigger rush than before. If this (rush/high) is not satisfied then there is a mood swing and the person becomes depressed.
▪ The more daring the person becomes and the more dangerous the addiction gets, it can move into illegal activities to keep the addiction going.
Stage three: The act/action has now become a necessity as the body and mind is addicted to the act.
In the beginning the act/action was the result of a need for comfort or as a coping tool to alleviate emotional distress. But now the act/actions tolerance level is overcome with the need for more.
▪ Now the pain from loneliness, shame, and anger are almost continual.
▪ The act/action now doesn’t have the same effect where the act covers over the pain, now it only adds more pain.
▪ When the act/action no longer is being effective and the pain gets worse all logic breaks down and stored up emotional feelings build up to the point of emotional/and or physical breakdown.
▪ The person begins to dread each day.
▪ Stopping the cycle makes the person feel grief and loss (for the act) and begins to withdrawal.
Note: this is a critical place to be and without intervention suicide becomes an option.
Breaking an addictive cycle involves
▪ Admit you have a need for God’s help and intervention in your life. (we cannot do it ourselves)
▪ There needs to be a total commitment to change your current lifestyle.
▪ Let others help you but you also have to do your part in the process.
▪ Realize healing and change does not happen over night. Don’t look for a quick fix but give yourself time to change.
Things to ponder
1. What kind of strong habits do you know you have?
2. Have are any of your habits become a problem, if so in what way?
3. Are you aware of any unmet needs you have, and how you get them met?
4. How do you respond to not having certain needs met in your life?
This concludes lesson 4. next week we will go to lesson 5. Have a great day and thanks for reading this blog. pass it on.