What is Addiction?

We hear so much in our culture today about Addiction. Just what is it?

If you are reading this, perhaps you are concerned about someone you love.  Just maybe, you're wondering about

 yourself, you've gotten to the place.. the time is now.

No problem is so devastating and costly than the destructive force of a compulsive behavior that consumes your life.  It may seem to have started simple, occasional, a stress reliever.  What happened?   The world you know is now consumed by the need for this mind numbing behavior that once was your friend and companion, and now... sucks life energy from you, is hurting your family and friends, and is progressing more and more each day.

"One of the scariest moments in human experience is when you have to admit there is something wrong with your brain.  One of the worst of those moments is admitting that you are an addict.
For the vast majority of addicts the very  worst is admitting that you are addicted in many ways.
For years you have convinced yourself that you could handle your behavior"   Dr.Patrick Carnes

Addiction is defined as a continuing use of a mood altering behavior, that despite consequences in a person's life,  the behavior continues.  After the perceived "high", the grief and despair takes over, leading to progressive unmanageable consequences. The lies and deception to yourself and others become automatic.Still, where does it lead.. back into the cycle of needing more and more.

We understand now that Addictions effect everyone, and come in many different forms.  Have you ever heard of someone who stopped smoking but then gained weight?  What if you decided that your drug use was not OK, but you kept drinking?  Cybersex, sex-ting, pornography.... Is that betrayal in your relationship?
What story do you tell yourself to make your behavior seem OK? Afterall, you say to yourself .. I'm not hurting anyone? Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance ( drugs, alcohol, improper use of prescription drugs), and/ or engages in an activity or relationships (gambling, cybersex, shopping, food, exercise, video gaming,  toxic relationships, emotional affairs) that causes consequences, and yet you continue the behavior. What you are doing interferes with ordinary life responsibilities.. work, relationships, your own life.  Yet, you need more and more to get the same relief.   The neuroscience research today is understanding more clearly that there is a change happening in your brain.

The key to a successful treatment plan is the assessment process.  First, we'll review the history related to behaviors identified. We will discuss family and social history, and any concerns family members have expressed.   It is the telling of your story that begins to break through patterns of denial and shame:  what has been happening, how the behavior started, what has been the impact  in your life.  Screening assessment tools will also provide valuable information.  Health information is an important part of the assessment.   After the information is gathered, together, a treatment plan is then developed with you, and resources identified to build a successful recovery, freedom from addiction.


Perhaps, you are the one who is impacted by another person's addictive behavior.  You have been hurt, scared, betrayed!  Perhaps, the person with addictive behavior is now in treatment, or working with another therapist.  What about you, and your brokenness?  What if the person you care about refuses to seek help.  You have tried everything you know, and you are struggling with your own pain, depression, fear, and loneliness.  If you have found things that were kept from you, perhaps you're filled with anger and despair!  The treatment process often involves help for the entire family ... everyone is effected.


Parents, Grandparents, Partners...

A question often asked is how can we need help the person we love enter treatment? Can we meet with you to learn about addiction, and plan an intervention? Planning usually involves several meetings with those who will be involve, either in person, via Zoom or telephone.  The best intervention is the successful one! Your goal is to help the person you love accept help, be successful in building a life in recovery that will last a lifetime. We will explore the best treatment options that are available for each individual situation.