Addiction is such a scary thing because it could be hiding in the closet at any moment. It is completely unpredictable by nature – meaning there is no way of knowing just exactly who it will affect and just how severe it might become.
Nor is there any test or magic wand that you can wave to get these answers. You will not go for a check-up one day and your doctor come back and say, “I’m sorry, but it looks like you are going to get an addiction.” That just isn’t how addiction works. It is a different type of disease.
It starts with just trying something.
You can’t get addicted to something you’ve never tried, right? But, don’t let this scare you – just because you try something doesn’t mean you will become addicted.
You might drink a beer and never have one again in your life. Or you might have a glass of wine, and then only ever have it on occassion.
However, every addict tried whatever it is that they are addicted to for the first time at some point.
Then you realize you like it.
For whatever reason, you decide you like it. Rather it is the buzz from the alcohol, the sugar from the sweets, the high from the drugs – you like something about the way it made you feel.
This is what makes you decide to do it again. But, this does not necessarily mean you are addicted yet. It is okay to like a beer and have one every once in a while. It is okay to like chocolate cake and eat it as a celebration for a special occasion.
But next, you crave it.
Now, you’ve reached a new level with whatever it is you like. You start to crave it. Maybe it isn’t an all the time thing, but sometimes you find yourself really wanting it. Maybe you’ve had a long day and you really just want to go home and have a beer. Or maybe you are stressed about an upcoming exam and could really just enjoy a piece of cake while you watch your favorite show.
And now, you need it.
Then comes the tell-tale sign of addiction – you need it. Your body needs it to function. You can’t come home from a bad day and recover until you’ve had this. You simply can’t go without it. Your body is requiring it.
Addiction is not something that happens overnight, and this can also be what makes it so hard to accept. It seems normal for so long, until one day you realize you have a problem.