How ordinary people get trapped with addictive behaviors during the five stages of addiction development.
You don’t have to have every element of an addictive personality or be emotionally disturbed to become trapped by addictive behavior. Addiction starts with an imprint on your brain of an experience you’ve had with some activity or substance that provided you with comfort, relief or happiness of some sort.
Understanding the way that addiction may develop in your life can help you find the source of addictive behaviors and help you to prevent future instances of alcoholism and abuse.
There are five stages involved in the development of an addiction:
- Infatuation: The earliest experiences with a drug or activity leave an imprint on the mind. In some situations the imprint is of a welcoming effect, such as relaxation, stress relief or enjoyment.
- The Honeymoon: Under stress, it is natural to seek out an experience that we associate with comfort or relief. We recall the positive effects and expect them to last without perceiving any negative consequences of the action.
- Betrayal: Alcoholism and abuse may serve a person well at first, providing them with some form of comfort, but eventually this turns foul. The same “high” is not easily achievable, require larger and more frequent “fixes” to attain a positive effect.
- On the Rocks: This is often a stage of denial. The person will ignore mounting evidence of a developing problem and the negative consequences associated with an action as they try hard to recapture the original infatuation and enjoyment during the honeymoon period.
- Trapped: The grasp of addiction often becomes tighter the more we struggle to break free through willpower alone. This can lead to a sense of feeling trapped by alcoholism and abuse, though we may still deny that the activity is causing a problem in our life.
When you experience stress, your body will be reminded to the relieving capabilities of the substance or activity and you may experience a compulsion to engage in it again. Alcoholism and abuse begins as a result of biochemical effects on the brain that reinforce dependency. Without your realization, a viscous cycle can be set into motion as easily as this, and you may be in the stronghold of addiction before you realize there is a problem.