How Do Addiction Cycles Form?
Recovery from addictions and compulsive behaviors are generally successful only when you are completely ready to accept the need to do 'whatever it takes' to change your cycle of 'using' behaviors. Addictive behaviors run generally in a repeating cycle characterized by:
Frustration → Fantasizing → Obsessing → Using (acting-out) → Guilt → Promise to stop → Pain returns
The Bottom: Your bottom is as low as you are willing to dig.
Breaking the Addiction Cycle
To be successful in the decision to stop the addictive behaviors you need to develop a workable plan. The plan needs to attack the cycle of addiction which means changing your lifestyle at many levels:
- Triggers: These can be situations, emotions, thoughts, seeing a particular person, place, or image.
- Craving: The triggering situation sets off a desire for using the drug of choice. The craving will dominate the thought process until it is satisfied.
- Ritual: The craving is typically surrounded by 'rituals' that may involve trying to manage the situation or obtain the drug. They are the routines that get established around the 'using' behaviors and add to the obsessive thinking.
- Using: Ultimately the addict will use again.
- Guilt: Emotions like guilt and shame set in after using. This sense of failure often becomes the next triggering event.