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Understanding the Cycle of Addiction

Understanding the Cycle of Addiction

At my very first meeting in Alcoholics Anonymous I sat nervously in the room, identified myself as a newcomer and then sat silently whilst I listened to a wonderful woman read through the ‘cycle of addiction’ for alcoholism.

Cycle of addiction

The best way to explain the cycle of addiction is through a diagram. and it’s the physical allergy + a mental obsession that leaves us powerless and unmanageable against alcohol.

Cycle of Addiction – Image courtesy of Core Recovery

When I heard the words about the cycle of addiction, it starts of with an obsession, I remember times when the clock would hit 3 pm and I knew that I would have just a few mere hours until I could start drinking. If I knew I was running low on wine, I would call my husband to pick up bottles on the way home from work. Or I would quickly bundle my kids up, and head towards the liquor store and quickly buy a bottle or two.

The first drink is what kicks off our physical allergy once we have the first drink, we cannot put the bottle down and we will continue drinking. This is why Alcoholics Anonymous’ ‘Big Book‘ states that abstinence is the only way forward for addicts.

We would then go on a drinking spree which for me, would last until I was too drunk to be awake and I would literally pass out in my bed (thankfully). The next day we would feel remorse and I would continually swear to myself that I am not drinking again, or that I wouldn’t drink for another week, of course this was a lie.

Through my time in Alcoholics Anonymous, I am learning that it’s only 1 day at a time and that I need to avoid the first drink. The first drink is the one we obsess about and the one that kicks off our allergy. A normal drinker can have a glass of wine and stop there, an alcoholic cannot stop at one.

I hear the saying often in Alcoholics Anonymous that one drink is too many and 100 drinks is not enough. This is so true, because it’s the first drink that kicks off our drinking and we cannot stop after one.

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