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Getting to the Root of Addiction

The journey to recovery is more than just dealing with the symptoms of the addictive behavior. Just quitting is not usually enough to keep the behavior from reoccurring.


Knowing the underlying causes, the roots, can aid in recovery. This doesn’t mean a person needs to understand everything that has happened, but being aware of the possible causes will help him or her create effective coping skills to maintain recovery.

There are many possible reasons a person may be prone to addiction and substance abuse. Some suggest genetics, learned behavior, mental illness, trauma, addictive personality or a combination of these. Still, sometimes, it may not be clear to the individual or his or her loved ones why they fell into addiction in the first place.

Getting to the root cause can help establish emotional sobriety. This means, no more hiding from life or life’s problems. No more calming anxiety with substances. No more avoiding discomfort. Living life as it is will propel a person to a new level of maturity, which will help ensure they don’t fall back into the old behaviors.

Simply staying away from the substance, or abstaining, often is not enough. Even after the physical addiction has subsided, the mental aspect may linger for some time. A person must have tools to carry with them back in the world to help them cope with unresolved problems or just the daily confusions of life, so they don’t resort to hiding or seeking release.

An important step in recovering from addiction is getting to the root causes, or digging into one’s life where it all began. This could be childhood, or the teen years, or even early adulthood. Instead of feeling shame, guilt, and remorse for an addiction, it can be looked at as the way one learned how to cope with painful feelings. Once this is understood, the suffering individual can move past the addiction, which is only a symptom, and deal with the true underlying cause.

Addictive behavior must be tackled from all sides: Mind, Body & Spirit, but it doesn’t have to be done alone.

Sit with a trusted mentor, a therapist or a counselor and reach into your past for events that may have triggered the need to self- medicate or numb out. You will find a newfound strength when facing past hurts and traumas. Realizing how much you have been through and how much fight you have left will ignite something in you and help you get through even the toughest days. One day at a time.