Confused by the title? It’s simple, really. A sneeze is a cold symptom, but not the source of the cold. A sneeze, cough, or runny nose simply tells you (and everyone around you) that you’re suffering from a cold virus. The cold virus is the hidden culprit.

Addiction works the same way. Addictive behavior is a symptom of deeper issues for the vast majority of alcoholics and drug addicts. Drinking and drug abuse are signs that something went horribly wrong in the addict’s past. The issues I’m referring to include child abuse, domestic violence, bullying, sexual abuse, or a host of other types of trauma the addict has suffered at some point, often in early childhood. These types of problems are at the root of addiction. They are the problem behind the problem of addiction.

Nothing causes more damage to a child’s spirit than being emotionally or physically abused by those he or she most trusts and loves. Children don’t yet possess the ability to protect themselves or articulate feelings of hurt, sadness, and betrayal caused by those closest to them. All any child can do is absorb the pain and try to forget the past as they move from children to adulthood. But trauma doesn’t just go away on its own, no matter how hard we try to ignore it. Feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem and resentment remain, well into teenage or early adult years. This is the time many future addicts begin to drink or use drugs as a way to numb emotional pain and to escape the past. And it works, at first. Drinking or getting high feels good and helps the user forget all his problems. Unfortunately, these feelings of grandeur are temporary and keep the future addict coming back for more. Over time, however, the habit increases while the pleasure of getting high decreases. The user needs to drink more or use more drugs to feel good and eventually turns into a full-blown alcoholic or addict.

It can be many years before an addict becomes willing to admit he or she has a problem. Some never do. But for those addicts that are ready to overcome addiction, they must also be willing to face painful memories of the past – the same memories they’ve tried so hard to escape through alcohol and drugs. Looking in the mirror is not as difficult as it sounds. There is a simple way to eliminate years of addiction treatment and go straight to the heart of the problem, using just 3 Steps to overcome addiction. I know, because they worked for me.

Dan Farish is a former addict. Today, he works as an Addiction Recovery Coach helping others to beat addiction. Dan is also the author of Three Steps to Recovery – One Man’s Triumph Over Alcohol and Drugs – A Simply Approach Anyone Can Use to Overcome Any Addiction.

2 Comments
  1. glines 10 years ago

     This blog has had a significant impact on the way I am starting to view my relationship with marijuana. I’ve had many “issues” as a child and now that I spend most of my time smoking instead of trying to fix them my life seems painfully overwhelming – the anxiety I’m feeling is not so much about my problems, but the problem I have with trying to quit and get my life back together all at once. To me the tolerance factor is valid but if some “drugs” are helpful to dull the senses of inescapable memories, why must I overload my psyche with thoughts that it is not normal to retreat to a conscience of temporary contentment with substances. What I mean is, where is the line between a beneficial treatment and a detrimental one?

    I responded to this blog because your focus on what leads to addiction is more important to understand than what causes the users drug of choice and the down sides of addiction. In a court ordered class I am currently taking we’ve gone over how addiction affects your life, but have yet to touch on what it truly means to be an addict. Which leads me to the question, if I sought professional help before my drug abuse involved me with the law and I was given legal medication, would my situation be more regular?

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  2. ThreeStepsToRecovery 10 years ago

    Thanks for your comments and questions, glines. I'll try to address them the best I'm able, from my own past experience with addiction –

    "What I mean is, where is the line between a beneficial treatment and a detrimental one?" At some point in every addict's life, the escape we find from drugs/alcohol creates more problems that they solve. So, we become forced to think about the balance between "beneficial" and "detrimental". Most addicts come to realize that the addiction is far more detrimental to their lives than it is beneficial. That most often happens when we "hit bottom"… lose our job, money, failed relationships or finding ourselves in court or jail, etc. That's when it becomes clear that treatment is beneficial, while continuing to use drugs/alcohol is detrimental.

    "I responded to this blog because your focus on what leads to addiction is more important to understand than what causes the users drug of choice and the down sides of addiction." If a car battery goes dead, we replace it. If the new one goes dead a short time later, it's usually a sign that something else is malfunctioning, like the alternator or a shorted out wire. We can keep buying new batteries, or we can look closer and locate the source of the problem. But, until we look deeper, the problem continues. It's the same with addiction. We can get high to forget we have a problem, but it's not going away until we fix it, once and for all.

    "If I sought professional help before my drug abuse involved me with the law and I was given legal medication, would my situation be more regular?" If you sought the correct type of professional help, they wouldn't replace one drug with another. That would be like replacing car batteries.

    There are different methods of treating addiction… psycholigical counseling, holistic, 12 Step groups, etc. In my experience, I learned that addiction is a spiritual disease, meaning it numbs one's spirit… emotionally, we end up feeling empty inside, even when not drunk or high. Made sense to me that a spiritual disease requires a spiritual solution. So, I narrowed AA's 12 Steps down to the 3 Steps that seemed most likely to focus on targeting and removing the urge to drink. The result was a spiritual healing that removed both the addiction and the issues that caused me to want to escape reality. It erased a 20 year addiction overnight, literally. So I wrote a book about it called 3 Steps To Recovery.

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