What is Addiction?

What makes an alcoholic or addict different? In what ways are my perceptions of reality changed by addictive thoughts and behaviors? Can executives and managers recover?

The author and psychologist Craig Nakken writes, “Addiction, on its most basic level, is an attempt to control and fulfill our desire for happiness.”  He goes on to define three types of addiction: arousal, satiation, and trance.

Arousal addicts become swamped by fear; they fear their loss of power and they fear others will discover how powerless they truly are.”

“The satiation high gains control over the person, always promising relief from pain.”

“Attraction to trance-like sensations grows out of our natural desire for transcendence to contact and live within spiritual principles. It is our desire to reconnect with the divine…. In the trance, one can live in two worlds simultaneously, floating back and forth between the addictive world and the real world, often without others suspecting it.”

Desire for power, relief and connection drove my use of chemicals, although chemicals never gave me the things I desired. In fact they drove me away from these things. This is the conundrum of addiction where a person uses more but gains less until the damage to health, emotions, and spirit is severe–so severe that many of us lose everything, and some of us our lives, before we seek help.

In the bleakest hour we may find a moment of clarity: understanding our need for help and understanding that we cannot quit by ourselves alone.

Part of the clarity we find is knowledge of our powerlessness over our addiction. In my case I sensed my powerlessness more than I knew it. So my ego was not ready to accept the truth, but deep in my heart I knew I could not continue using chemicals unless I was also willing to lose my family, my health, and eventually my life.

As I grudgingly accepted my powerlessness over alcohol and drugs, a little ray of hope began to gleam deep within me. From that small hope began a journey of recovery.

Do you have hope?  How did it come alive?  Please let me know….

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