There are some very clear markers that point to the fact that someone might be struggling with an addiction. Just as when someone has symptoms of a physical illness, such as having a fever with the flu, the same is true with addiction. However, if addiction is an illness, then perhaps it can be treated. Perhaps in time, it will no longer be an obstacle in one’s life.
Yet, there are various opinions about this. Some people believe that addiction is always something that a person will struggle with, if he or she struggled with it in the past. It’s the reason for the adage: once an addict always an addict. Furthermore, there are certain people who have a vulnerability towards addiction, while others don’t. Science and research indicates that there is a genetic component and that some of us are more vulnerable to addiction than others. With this in mind, there are some significant factors that can contribute the development of an addiction in life.
In fact, addiction can happen rather innocently. And, little by little, if the right things are in place, an addiction can slowly grow. This is particularly true if you are genetically prone to addiction. If you are vulnerable to the tendencies of addiction, perhaps by growing up in a family of addiction or by being surrounded by relatives who struggled with addiction, you might find that you later also struggle with addiction.
Because certain people can lean towards addiction more than others, it’s common for some recovering addicts to believe that they will always face the challenges of relapsing. In other words, they will always face the burden of being an addict.
At the same time, there are others who feel that once they’ve gone through addiction treatment and once they’ve gotten sober, they are no longer an addict. This can be especially true if a person learns to eliminate other factors in one’s life that can contribute to addiction and an unhealthy lifestyle in general. For example, if a person works to remove the following, he or she may no longer feel like an addict:
- Poor coping tools that might have contributed to drinking or drug use.
- Negative thinking that might also drive someone to drink or use drugs.
- Unhealthy environments and people who might have a poor influence on one’s lifestyle choice
Additionally, as someone begins to change their life, the company they keep, thinking patterns, and coping tools, it’s common for people to no longer identify with the label of being an addict. They might feel that they’ve moved beyond addiction. In fact, they might feel that even calling themselves a recovering addict is no longer appropriate.
There remains to be a debate on whether someone who was once an addict can always be considered an addict. There are those who keep the label of being an addict to keep themselves in check and to avoid relapse. And there are those who feel they’ve moved on in their lives and no longer feel resonate with the addict label.
Of course, it’s a choice each person must make as they become more and more sober and healthy.
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