Patterns of Addiction
The addiction cycle:
- We fantasise about alcohol and/or drugs, gambling, sex, food, relationships.
- We obsess – you will tell yourself: “I need them now”.
- We become frustrated – you might ask yourself: “What will I do?”
- We use – alcohol and/or drugs, gambling, sex, food, relationships.
- We experience shame, guilt and remorse.
- We promise – “I’ll never do that again.”
- Eventually, we end up back at the fantasy stage
Breaking the Cycle
Just as addiction often follows a pretty regular process, so does breaking the cycle, Young says. Not only has she helped hundreds of clients through recovery, but she’s been through it herself and is now decades into her sobriety.
“The process for recovery also follows a pattern, but it can often be a fragile one. People often get to stage two or three but something happens or they lose their nerve and can slip back into the addiction cycle,” Young says. “It can take us a few goes to get it to stick. It can take us time to settle into the recovery way of life – but if we stay with it, we can create a life so fulfilling that we don’t want to use again or numb our feelings. We are walking into freedom.”
The Recovery Process:
- We contemplate changing – thinking about changing is terrifying for us.
- We prepare to change – we take action to mentally and physically prepare to stop.
- We take action – we reach out for help, to family, friends or professionals.
- We create a new lifestyle – maintain what we have learned as we begin our recovery – this usually includes connecting with a 12-step program.
“It’s important to make sure you’re supporting yourself and getting the support you need during the recovery process,” Young says. “Bringing family members and loved ones into your recovery and sharing your learning can be an important part of that.”
Making a new lifestyle stick can be an enormous challenge, she says. We need to adapt to new habits, avoid old triggers, work out new forms of self-care and social support and maintain our connection to others who are also in recovery.
Young says it’s also important to realise that relapse happens, and it’s not the end of the world. “Any addiction treatment centre worth their salt will help you prepare a relapse recovery plan,” she says. “They’ll help you to avoid and manage triggers and identify the warning signs that the cycle might be starting again, and make sure you know what to do to get back on the recovery cycle as soon as possible.”
If you’re seeking support to end the addiction cycle, South Pacific Private is here to help. As a fully accredited private hospital in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, our rehab program provides comprehensive, holistic treatment for addiction, anxiety, depression and trauma. Visit our support page to learn more or call us now on 1800 063 332.
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