Alcohol addiction and drug addiction are the compulsive and repeated use of a substance, despite the consequences of using. One can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, food, gambling, the internet, or anything else that can have a negative consequence due to over-indulgence and abuse. Addiction is also classified as a progressive disease. This means that the habit will only intensify as time goes on if nothing or nobody intervenes with the addiction.
For someone to be addicted to substances, there must be three components present:
- Biological or chemical issues stemming from addiction or inherited through genetics
- Spiritual wounds, and
- Emotional scarring due to past experiences or situations
When your loved one has experienced all three components, they begin to go through four stages of addiction.
Four stages of addiction
Addiction does not happen overnight. The addict typically goes through the following four stages of addiction:
- Learned Mood Swing: The individual understands that by using substances they will experience a feeling of euphoria.
- Seeking of the Mood Swing: The individual now has developed a relationship with addiction beyond just recreational.
- Harmful Dependency: This is the turning point when the individual begins to display erratic and or bizarre behavior. This behavior causes the individual to feel guilt, shame, and depression which fuels the need to use.
- Abuses to Feel Normal: The individual is now in a downward spiral due to being bound between stages two and three. Addicts try to control their use, they fail to control their use and develop emotional pain and spiritual scarring from failing, which in turn causes them to use again and again. This pattern and perpetual feeling of pain reinforces the behavior and the addiction repeated.
When someone experiments with substances, they do not consciously decide that they are going to be an addict and live a miserable life. As their addiction escalates, the guilt, shame, and depression worsens with time known as signs and symptoms of addiction. At this point an effort may be made to control their use. This does not always work! When an addict fails to control their use, they develop emotional pain within because they have failed which, in turn, causes them to self-medicate. It is at this point that the user becomes trapped and thus begins the spiraling downward further in to the disease.
This detailed and powerful cycle entirely consumes the individual. Their psyche, core authentic self, and spirit are unable to escape the grasps of the disease. When you know of someone who is in this cycle, it is time to intervene between the individual and their substance of choice. If nothing is done to intervene with this terrifying process, it is inevitable that the user may end up doing time in jail, living in a psychiatric institution, or ultimately, dying.