I have had such an incredible response to my addiction website and to me eBook sharing stories from my life when I was using and drinking.
One of the questions that people regularly ask me is what is addiction and what causes it.
There seems to be a bit of confusion about what addiction actually is. Is someone an addict when they can't go a certain amount of time without using drugs or is it someone that uses over a certain amount of drugs in a short space of time?
It is actually neither of these things. There are some addicts or alcoholics that use very little and not all the time.
The thing here is what happens to that person when they use the drugs or drink. Yes they are usually dependent and use a lot but when you lose complete control of yourself and become a different person is when the problem comes in.
Some people can drink 6 beers and still be the same person, while others can have one drink and become a wife beater.
I answered a question on Quora a while back which got a few people annoyed but when I responded to their negativity to my answer it appears they deleted their comments.
Anyway what happened is someone asked if he is an alcoholic, does he need to control his drinking?
My response is that if you are wondering whether you are an alcoholic chances are that you probably are.
I mean think about it right? If you don't drink too much and you don't have a need to control your drinking why would you wonder if you need to control your drinking?
It is highly unlikely that a normal (ie non-alcoholic) would wonder if they need to control themselves when they drink right?
Now what causes drug addiction or alcoholism?
Very often an addiction or alcoholism runs in a family, so there is a genetic component. My uncle was an alcoholic and I have a first cousin that is also an addict. So this gene runs in my family.
There are also some people that have a disposition towards addiction and either through heavy use or abuse of a substance that addiction takes hold, and/ or there is an event in the addict's life that sparks off the addiction.
For me there was a series of traumatic events in my teens that sparked off my addiction, but I still truly believe that my addiction would have taken hold of me sooner of later so I don't blame what happened to me.
I remember when I was about 5 years old stealing the Stopayne and drinking it out the bottle. I believe I was born an addict.
So I look at it similar like diabetes.
It can run in families, so there is a genetic component. You can be born with it or you can become diabetic later on in your life through the lifestyle that you lead.
If you eat too much sugar and high GI foods throughout your life you can get diabetes. However some people can eat loads of sugar their whole life and never get diabetes and others have just a little and they get diabetes quickly.