One of the lucky breaks of working in substance abuse recovery circa 2014 is our understanding of addiction is deeper than it has ever been. We now understand the nature of addiction more than ever before. We also know how an addiction progresses from experimentation to a full blown problem. It is this understanding that has helped us develop a more effective form of addiction treatment. This understanding has also underscored just how vulnerable everyone is to becoming an addict.
For people of all types, across cultural and class lines, addiction starts as denial. The first time someone takes an addictive substance they tell themselves that they will not succumb to an addiction. From that moment on the person has put themselves at risk of submitting to addictive behaviors while rationalizing them each step of the way.
Once the addiction starts to take hold people set parameters for use, “only on the weekends,” “not while the kids are awake,” “after work.” Those lines blur and soon you have an addiction, though you still might not see it as such.
By understanding the mentality that leads to addiction, and the fact that we are all vulnerable to it, we have found ways to bring those dealing with addiction around to understanding their problems. As a result experts and behavioral health advisors have built better methods for effective recovery.