What causes addiction?
Good question. In search of answers, people have wondered whether addiction can be:
- A by-product of how they were raised, especially if they were abused?
- Triggered by circumstance such as divorce or moving to a new school?
- Caused by deep emotional problems or disorders?
- Wired into their DNA, or even a disease?
- A spiritual issue?
According to many experts who study the causes of addiction, the answers to those questions—all of them—is, “Yes.”
But, even when those situations exist, the spiral into addiction is behavioral in nature. The steps in this journey may take months, years, or decades. When relapse occurs, it can happen in minutes.
But, there is reason to hope. Because, amazingly, the behaviors of recovery work much the same way, only in reverse!
Avoiding the Behaviors of Addiction
There is often a predictable progression in the descent into addiction. One way to envision this advancement in behaviors is as a series of steps:
Thoughts lead to Considerations to Attitudes to Actions to Addiction
- Thoughts – We increasingly obsess on SELF in a gradual but ongoing increase in self-absorption rather than focusing on Service to others.
- Considerations – Positive habits give way to negative ones, and we give little consideration to making daily Progress personally, emotionally, or spiritually.
- Attitudes – Our interactions with others become marked by perceived hurts and resentments which we attempt to soothe with isolation rather than Empathy.
- Actions – Rather than being oriented toward positive personal Transformation, we lapse into denial by ignoring our negative issues and shifting blame to others.
- Addiction – We Surrender to our compulsive desires rather than to God and maintain self-destructive patterns that include bad choices and outright disobedience.
And, if not addressed, these behaviors of addiction lead us inevitably into darkness.
Utilizing the Behaviors of Recovery
The good news is that we can reverse this progression in behaviors to lead us to recovery instead:
Move from Addiction to Actions to Attitudes to Considerations to Thoughts
- Addiction – In the midst of our powerlessness, we accept that our life is out of control. We Surrender to God, and begin to make wise choices again.
- Actions – A gradual increase in self-awareness helps us face our issues and mistakes as we begin to take steps down a road of positive Transformation.
- Attitudes – We begin to choose forgiveness and Empathy in our dealings with others and actively work to build positive relationships.
- Considerations – By taking proactive and intentional steps of Progress, we rebuild good habits and spiritual disciplines into our daily routines.
- Thoughts – As a result of our positive behaviors and God’s grace, we replace our absorption with SELF with thankfulness that leads to Service for others.
And these behaviors of recovery lead us from addiction to a life of peace, joy, and purpose.
Awareness of the Behaviors of Addiction Can Help
There are many things that can contribute to addiction. Often, we must take a holistic approach to deal with those issues by getting help from therapists, doctors, and spiritual mentors.
But, in most cases, there is a steady progression in our behaviors as well.
That knowledge, that self-awareness, can be life-changing. With God’s help, awareness allows us to deal with the emotional issues involved and become intentional about our behaviors.
As we battle the epidemic of addiction, we can apply this insight on behaviors in 2 important ways:
- To increase the awareness of individuals to help them recognize their behaviors and take the positive steps appropriate to their particular situation.
- To communicate awareness to groups, because any sizable group includes people in each of those stages, some moving toward addiction and others to recovery.
The behaviors of addiction are an increasingly dangerous series of steps. But, with awareness, we can reverse that progression and improve not only our own life, but the lives of others as well.
Question: Do you feel that your pattern of behaviors is moving in a positive or negative direction?
Action: Use the behaviors of recovery to help you build a life with more peace, joy, and purpose.