An unhealthy habit becomes an addiction when it causes suffering to self or others and prevents a person from pursuing something that matters to him or her, says Paul Guinther, a licensed psychologist at Portland Psychotherapy.
“Sometimes people drink or shop or engage in activities as a form of experiential avoidance, which is a way to push painful thoughts, memories or feelings from consciousness,” he says. “It’s a way of coping that has some side effects.”
Addictions can run the gamut from gambling, shopping and overeating, to alcohol and drug abuse. Three recovering addicts share their stories of addiction and recovery here in their own words, in the hopes of inspiring others to start anew in the coming year.
Monique Balas is a freelance writer