What is Addiction
Addiction is a medical and clinical term referring to negative physiological and psychological dependencies that exhibit themselves in destructive behavioral patterns. In layman’s terms, addiction is a destructive relationship with any mood or mind altering substance or experience. It is a complex human phenomenon that is manifested in physical, psychological, sociological and spiritual ways. It has been called the most human of all diseases or conditions, and no one is immune.

“To be alive is to be addicted, and to be alive and addicted is to stand in need of grace.” - Gerald G. May, M.D. (from Addiction & Grace)

The Disease Concept of Addiction
The disease concept of addiction is generally related to substance use/abuse, but is also present in other forms of addiction including sex, gambling, shopping and food. Science has identified a gene that increases the likelihood for alcoholism. This suggests the existence of other genes that increase the likelihood of other addictions as well. But genetics is just one piece to the disease concept. All addictive behaviors, especially those which are based on substances, make changes to the human body most specifically the brain. These changes essentially become cellular adaptations which create a new physiological “normal” for the individual. The body essentially becomes sick from the addictive behavior. And the disease of addiction is marked by measurable physical symptoms, including withdrawal (withdraw) symptoms. (Withdrawal is the generally reverse of the “high” the user seeks.)

Psychology of Addiction
Generally known as psychological dependency. This is a cognitive distortion that makes the user believe that their addiction - whatever the substance or experience may be - is necessary when it really is not. For example, the nicotine addict might say to himself, “Man am I stressed, I need a cigarette.” This distorted thinking reflects his/her belief that they need a cigarette when in reality no on ever “needs” a cigarette. One who is psychologically addicted (dependent) relies on the object of their dependence to suppress or escape negative feelings or discomfort. Psychological dependence is habitually reinforced and built into the neurological framework of the brain.

Socialogy of Addiction
Often referred to as codependency, this aspect of addiction refers to destructive social interactions that reinforce or tolerate destructive behaviors. These social dependences are most obvious among alcohol and other drug users and their loved ones, but is also present with every form of addiction like overeating, compulsive religious activity, unhealthy social dependencies, destructive sexual relationships and destructive use of money to name but a few.

Spiritual Aspect of Addiction
Addiction hijacks human intention and priority resulting in spiritual idolatry to their dependency/addiction. This is reflected in the way they choose their addiction over more healthy behaviors. It is reflected in their misguided priorities, and in the way the addict looses connection with their emotions and as well as the loss of control over their intentions and actions. Great care must be taken when an addict seeks to reconnect him/herself spiritually to not confuse religious activity with authentic spiritual relationship. Religion will never cure addiction, it only reinforces it. An authentic spiritual relationship is the foundation of a transforming kind of recovery.

This month's step
We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

This week's scripture
"If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins – make a clean break of them – he won’t let us down, he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and p
I John 1: 8-10 The Message

This week's quote
“We hide what we know or feel ourselves to be (which we assume to be unacceptable and unlovable) behind some kind of appearance which we hope will be more pleasing. We hide behind pretty faces which we put on for the benefit of our public. And in time we may even come to forget that we are hiding, and think that our assumed pretty faces is what we really look like”
Simon Tugwell