The Start of an Addiction
You may find yourself asking why did I become addicted to drugs or alcohol. You might also think about what could have been different prior to becoming addicted. There are no hard and fast rules regarding why one becomes an addict but there are similarities in how an addiction starts.
A person may become addicted because there was an opportunity to partake in using the drug or alcohol or visiting a casino. You may have been at a party with friends and have your first drink. You never had a drink before but you wanted to fit in. All addictions begin with a first use and there are many reasons why this first use happened. It could be peer pressure, a desire to fit in with others, or a way to escape the daily problems of life.
You may have had a positive experience with this first use such as your friends thought you were more outgoing and friendly after having a drink or ingesting some other substance. If you did have a positive experience, the likelihood that you will have a second drink or a second line of cocaine is increased. If you gambled some money at a local casino after work and won, you might want to return to see if you can win more.
Over time, continued use of substances or playing favorite casino games, starts to consume your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. You may be experiencing family issues that are unbearable so you drink, gamble, or use drugs to forget your problems. When this happens, you start to associate the use of a substance or playing poker as a way to deal with life.
Your brain is also getting used to the behavior and is flooding your brain with the feel-good chemical, dopamine. As time goes by, you find that you are unable to not engage in the behavior or your brain determines that it needs the substance to feel good. Your brain however adjusts to the excess dopamine by producing less of it or reducing the ability of your cells to respond to it. This means that you have developed a tolerance, which means you must take more of the drug or gamble more to achieve the same dopamine high. This process can also cause you to get less enjoyment from activities you once enjoyed.
The good news is there is help available. There are ways to begin a program of recovery and living a full life free from substances or activities that cause you harm. As the addict who started with a single drink or a poker night with friends, you can learn to begin anew working a program one day at a time.