Everybody has some kind of addictions; it's in our nature to want to have an abundance of things that make us feel good, or even bad. While some addictions can be physical, like drugs, there is always a mental aspect to it. There is no way to get out of an addiction if you don't want to. That is a common misconception that a lot of people have. You can't just take away the drug, or the pain, or the sex, or the control. The addict has to be at least a little bit willing. Getting over an addiction is 90% mental. When people think of addictions, they usually think of drugs; like cocaine, heroin, or meth, but you can be addicted to anything.
For example, eating disorders are an addiction. This addiction is more based around control than it is food. For anorexia or bulimia, it's the control of the intake of food into your body, or even the feeling you have after purging or not eating. For binge eating disorders, it's the opposite but also the same. Binge eating disorders, while it is the control over intake, it also has the more "foody" aspect. Where you can be addicted to less healthy foods, like sugar, caffeine, or oil. People with eating disorders may not see what they're doing as wrong, because the addicted mind rationalizes everything.
Because addictions are mostly mental issues, a lot of addicts have some other life or mental issues that feed the addictions. People with eating disorders may feel like they don't have control over their life; drug addicts who struggle with apathetic depression may do drugs people it helps them feel emotions. Something that is very common is for people who have chronic pain being addicted to painkillers and not knowing because in their head it's "because they hurt". While they may be in pain, the body also reacts badly to not having the drugs, causing more pain, causing them to take more painkillers.
For myself, I started abusing Tylenol when I was twelve. It was just after my grandmother had passed away and I had been pushed into a deep depressive state. Depression causes physical pain, so I started to take Tylenol because I always hurt. I didn't see what I was doing as wrong, but I was taking up to 20 tablets a day, which is 5 times the recommended max dose in 24 hours. This pattern went on for years, and by that, I mean up until about 5 months ago. While the amount of tablets slowly decreased per day, as I slowly became aware of my bad habits, I was still taking way to much. Not only is this dangerous, because you can overdose on Tylenol, but prolonged use of painkillers can cause liver damage.
Relapse will happen; there is no way around it. There were many times when I had gone without taking a Tylenol, and then I would go back into abusing. Even if your body has gotten over the addiction, your mind will want to go back into it's addiction. It's a constant battle for an addict. Because a high amount of addicts also have mental illnesses, this creates a viscous cycle of the body craving something to break that illness.
Anything can be addictive. A lot of people don't believe that you can be addicted to sex, but it's less about the actual sex than you would think. Sex addicts build bad and self-destructive habits that go along with the sex. For example, it may be that the addict doesn't have the best situation at their home, so they spend days away with strangers. This can put people into horrible situations. Many sex addicts have a past of sexual abuse, so this addition acts as a way of the person controlling their sexuality because it was taken away before hand. It is less about the act of sleeping with a person and more about the habits that the person builds around sex.
In the end, we should all change the way we view addicts. It isn't just smelly homeless people who live in an alley (while this is still very sad and just as common), it can be anybody. Addictions are a lifelong fight and the cravings are always there. We should be less angry and hateful towards addicts and more empathetic. Addicts have a serious issue that need serious mental and physical help. The best way to help an addict is to be non judging, educating, and willing to go through the entire process with them. The last thing an addict wants is to be left alone while in recovery. They need all the support they can get. But also know that you can't help a person who doesn't want to help themselves. You may want to be there for that person and want to help, but in the end, if they keep pushing you away, you need to let them know that you are there for when they are ready.
An addict in recovery is very vulnerable and it is up to their friends, family, and doctors to support them 110%. You need to be ready to answer phone calls and go to their home at 3am. Because in the end, an addict who is alone is more dangerous than an addict with support. If you, like myself, struggle daily, just know that there are so many people who want to help you. I am here to help you. I understand and want you to feel safe and okay. Recovery isn't a straight incline, it's the shittiest roller coaster ever, but there is an end and there is sobriety. If you can do it, I can do it; and if I can do it, you can do it.
We can do it together.
this is where i ramble; have fun