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What is drug addiction? Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Addiction is the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance use disorders, and is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.


So we know what the medical and scientific definition of addiction is, but how would a recovering drug addict describe addiction?  What does addiction feel like to the person that is living it every day? We asked a group of addicts to define addiction in 100 words or less.


This is what they said.


Addiction is holding a pipe to your mouth, putting a needle in your arm, placing a pill on your tongue, or snorting a line up your nose. With tears falling down your face, sobs ripping from your throat, and your mind screaming that you don’t want to do this anymore. Wishing you could go back to the first one and make a different choice. Hating everything about this moment. And not being able to stop.  -Addict Chick


Addiction is hell. Addiction is losing everything you worked so hard for. Addiction is praying to die. Addiction is feeling alone. Addiction is when something has control over you and it knows your next move. You will do whatever you have to do to get it. -Leslie Mills


Addiction is fueled by hollow lies and false promises. Addiction is willingly selling yourself at the pawn shop. Addiction is taking changes and betting on the long shot. Addiction is a remorseful past and a desperate future. Addiction is a counterfeit smile and a fake sense of humor. Addiction is all the pain you’ve never wanted. Addiction is sleepless nights and broken hearts. Addiction is a family disease bult to tear apart. Addiction is hell disguised as heaven that feels like purgatory. – Nicholas Bellofatto | The Recovering Addict


My addiction was anger, happiness, love, hate, homelessness, no job. I hungered for everything and nothing. Total chaos. The more drama and chaos I could cause, the better I felt about myself. Now that I’m in recovery I know that it’s called sleight of hand; look at them, not at me. -June Dooley


Addiction is living a nightmare. You lose who you are. Your dreams and goals disappear. All your life consists of is getting, using, and finding ways and means to keep getting high. And everything and everyone you knew before addiction is being destroyed by you, because of your selfishness. -Heather Marie


Addiction to me is a spiritual disease. It robs you completely of your soul. My drug of choice was more. Alcohol and opiates were my go to but, I was a garbage can. Once i put a substance in my body I needed more. I did unspeakable things to continue to do more and lost everything I had including my dignity and my older children. Since it is a spiritual disease, once the physical aspect was dealt with I needed a spiritual cure. That’s God. EVERYDAY He must be sought. I utilize AA, prayer, church, The Bible, and the Big Book. -Victoria Chappell


Addiction is living in your own hell. You don’t know if your are living. You just know you are awake. You are not yourself, you lost yourself as soon as you took your first. You believe the only way out is death. But it’s not, you can choose recovery, choose to wake your life back up. -Shanna Shoaf


Addiction is feeling numbness. No pain, no worries, and no truth. Once you’re so far in you pray for death. In the end, you’re still left with all the pain, worries, and the worries and any problem you were trying to forget. You lose yourself. But recovery is possible. Never give up. -Bobbie Morgan


Addiction is committing slow death to yourself. You are looking for something to fill that hole in your heart that was there before you even picked up that first hit of dope. When the devil (meth) first blew his breath in my face I thought I had found love, but I found only death. To me is what addiction is, we fall out of love with ourselves, are constantly looking for something to make us feel real again, when all we need to do is look in the mirror and start there. -Nancy Cheaves


You think at first you’ve found the answer to all your problems. You feel good, you think you look good and can do anything. That’s the sick part of addiction. It twists your mind and tricks you into believing you need the dope. Before long you start hating yourself for wanting more, but you HAVE to. You start looking like the life is being sucked out of you and you can’t leave the house to do anything. You pray to God to let you die, you just want the pain to end. Hating the reflection you see. -Sara Nicole Houston


If it wasn’t for stealing from the Goodwill, I would have had no clothes, except for the occasional dumpster dive score. Eating became a challenge and when I’d find the leftover bakery goods in the Starbucks garbage I felt like I hit the lottery. The cops all knew me. I didn’t see my daughter for two months and almost lost my parental rights. I begged daily for the nightmare to end. Addiction is like walking around with your soul on a tight leash. -Amy Patrice Bowen


Addiction is being lost and wandering around in hell while everything you love is being ripped out of your life. You don’t even notice. But then one day you wake up and realize that it’s all gone. And you’re so dead inside that you no longer possess the capacity to care. -Amanda Daniels


I was selling my body for money, robbing stores and eating out of dumpsters . I have done a lot of prison time and have 32 convictions. – Christina Harris


Addiction is living a nightmare over and over, every single day and you cant wake up. Its like driving through dense fog, and you cant focus on anything except what you need to get through the day. Addiction is being hopelessly lost in a never ending maze waiting for death to take you. Addiction is being alive but feeling dead inside. -Cati Haywood


Inability to consistently abstain resulting in heart breaking, kid taking, family destroying, value/moral changing, mind tricking, emotional escape. Selfish motives, personality changing, chaos attracting, and denial.  Soul destroying ends in jail making, life taking or with addicts saving each other in recovery! -Kristyn Moses


Addiction is being inside of a house. A house that’s on fire. And you’re in the bathroom getting high instead of getting out. -Anonymous


define addiction

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