Addiction and recovery over time

People respond to an addictive substance or behavior because it improves their sense of well-being for a short time. But over time the addiction helps less and less on each occasion of acting out, and one’s overall sense of well-being deteriorates. The forecast for well-being for an addict is always bad. Eventually the peak of a person’s “high” is a worse state of being than when they started the addiction, and the high only staves off the negative effects of withdrawal. David C. Bissette has created the following charts, that illustrate the sense of well-being on the divergent paths of progressive addiction and recovery. Check out this chart:

The reality is that recovery is not smooth ride either. Well-being improves overall, but it is not instantaneous or easy. Recovery has its ups and downs, and withdrawal is hard. Eventually, a new sense of well-being and serenity is established. However, this improvement does not result simply from abstaining from the addictive substance or activity. It involves overcoming the effects of trauma and deprivation from the past.


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