So how does a person become addicted?

The Slide…Progression from Use to Abuse and Addiction

  • Started with occasional drinking/using/doing the activity
    for relief/escape/relaxation
  • Things keep getting worse, so drinking/using/doing the
    activity becomes more constant to relieve (escape) the stress
  • You start needing more of the substance/activity to get the
    same high.
  • Started having blackouts.In the case of behavioral
    addictions, you lose time. You get in a zone and before
    you know it you have eaten an entire cake, gambled $100,000, spent
    $1,000 on internet porn etc.
  • The urge to use became more urgent.  You have to
    do it. You can't wait until you do it again.
  • Began feeling guilty
  • Unable to discuss problem
  • Harder to stop drinking/using/doing the activity when
    others do
  • Starting to fail to keep promises
  • Dramatic and/or aggressive behavior began as people started
    to question your behaviors.  The addiction has now become your
    friend. It helps you feel better, and gives you pleasure when nothing
    else will.  You become very defensive at the thought of people
    trying to get you to stop.
  • Efforts to control the use of the substance fail repeatedly
  • Loss of other interests
  • You begin to avoid family and friends
  • You begin to have resentments (which you can later look
    back on as unreasonable). Some of these include people who do not
    support you during your addiction, people who question your behaviors,
    people you blame for “making” you use etc.
  • You start having problems at work and with money
  • You have lost your will power
  • You begin to neglect your diet, sleep and general health in
    order to drink/use/do the activity
  • You start having a decrease in your ability to tolerate the
  • Your intoxication/use periods become longer (days or weeks
    instead of a few hours)
  • Your body begins to deteriorate under the stress of the
  • Your thinking becomes impaired—judgment is bad, memory is