What is addiction? Well, it’s almost certainly not what you expect.

Addictions are counter-productive, you typically get exactly the opposite of what you wanted. And addictions are persistent, you think you can walk away but they follow right along.

Additionally, addiction is not just about using, it’s about doing. Behavioral addictions can be equally devastating to an individual as alcohol or drug use. The following is an excerpt from an About.com post by Elizabeth Hartney; she says what I want to say so why recreate the wheel?:

Addiction: there are two aspects that all addictions have in common.

Firstly, the addictive behavior is maladaptive or counter-productive to the individual. So instead of helping the person adapt to situations or overcome problems, it tends to undermine these abilities.

For example, a gambler might wish he had more money –- yet gambling is more likely to drain his financial resources. A heavy drinker might want to cheer herself up –- yet alcohol use contributes to the development of her depression. A sex addict may crave intimacy –- yet the focus on sexual acts may prevent real closeness from developing.

Secondly, the behavior is persistent. When someone is addicted, they will continue to engage in the addictive behavior, despite it causing them trouble.

So an occasional weekend of self-indulgence is not addiction, although it may cause different kinds of problems. Addiction involves more frequent engagement in the behavior.

If you’re an addict, as one of our Facebook Friends posted: Stop drinking. Stop taking drugs. Stop gambling. Stop your addictive behavior. Completely.

If you are an addict, the only way to recover is to STOP whatever you are addicted to using or doing. No weekend partying. No guy’s night out poker. No seemingly innocent chat rooms. No sexy movies or books or magazines or pictures or websites. No environments that will encourage, trigger, or allow your addiction. Period.

What is addiction? It’s a prison. It’s the absence of freedom. It’s exactly the opposite of what an addict was probably looking for. It’s a disease.

If you need help, call a friend, your family, a counselor…anyone. Just get help. You can do this.