The Power of Addiction

“One of the hardest lessons I learned was that I was worth recovery.”

Demi Lovato

The term addiction is not a one size fits all kind of term, which is why many people need multiple rounds of treatment in order to truly begin sobriety.

For some, their addiction may be to a chemical or drug. This would be considered a substance dependence.

For others, their addiction may be gambling or eating. This would be a behavioral addiction.

Either way, addiction at its root is defined as “is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.” *

Those who are caught in the midst of addiction struggle on a daily basis with overcoming the demons that got them there in the first place. Most people start voluntarily, but each time it becomes harder and harder to overcome the physical and mental pull addiction has. Self-control slowly diminishes as the person tries to “medicate” their body. The power of addiction is so strong that it is a leading cause of death in our country.

Addiction is like that friend you wish you never had. It gave you what you thought you wanted and then began to take everything from you.

The key to recovery is wanting it, and wanting it more than your addiction. Sometimes that can take years. Or other times, one addiction can manifest into another.

I am one of those people who struggle with an addictive personality. While I might recover from one addiction, I often find another to take its place – especially in times of distress.

The addictive pattern started in the form of cutting when I was a young 13 years old. I thought if I could take that pain I was feeling and put it somewhere else like in a physical wound, it would make more sense to me. This distorted thinking lasted for a while. Working with a therapist, I was able to stop and found other healthy ways to manage my stress.

However, shortly after, while trying to loss a few pounds, I got stuck in that addictive mindset again and a full blown eating disorder shortly followed.

Each time I tried to recover from one addiction, another one set in. Many people do not know the full extent I suffered because I have never disclosed it.

If I were to map out my addictions, it would look something like this:
13 yrs old – Cutting
16 yrs old – Anorexia
18 yrs old – Bulimia
21 yrs old – Drinking
28 yrs old – Physical Self-Harm and Pills
29 yrs old – Binge Eating

Looking back at this timeline, it is disturbing for me. It makes me feel horrible, which is generally what most recovering addicts feel while in recovery. It is almost like a cycle. The guilt can be consuming, which makes you want to go back to what soothed you.

The key is positive and factual self-talk – reminding yourself that the future is a blank slate and that you are in control. Yes, it might be an everyday struggle for a while – and it is definitely easier said than done. But, just like in real life – boundaries can be set.

You need to know you are worth recovery. You are worth a life beyond addiction. While this can be a hard fact to digest, saying it outloud and matter of fact, can actually fight those inner demons telling you “you are worthless.”

The power of addiction will always try to pull the person back into its cycle. It is a long journey, but it is not hopeless. A lot of organizations can help. If you or someone you know is struggling, please know help is available.


*Medical News Today, “What is Addiction?”

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