I Can Stop Whenever I Want – The Practical Side

If you followed a trail of the majority of your time, money and energy, at the end you would find what is most important to you in life. What we find at the end of this trail can be good or bad.  Sometimes it is something bad disguised as something good. And sometimes what we pour most of our time, money and energy into is not a passion or calling, but an addiction. 

There are dozens of types of addictions. Some of these addictions are formally labeled as mental health disorders by psychotherapists. Others are not. However we may define them, all addictions wreak havoc in the lives of individuals, their friends and their family members.

Addictions are often behaviors that mentally healthy people enjoy appropriately, such as drinking alcohol, exercising, shopping, eating and having sex. Behaviors such as these are fun and can add joy and excitement to everyday life. However, when these behaviors take precedence over everything else, they become addictions.

Addictions are real, deceptive and often difficult to break. One reason people have so much trouble breaking the cycle of addiction is that addictions are pleasurable, at least in the beginning. For example, a person addicted to shopping enjoys the rush of making new purchases. People addicted to cocaine like the feeling of euphoria that comes over them when they first use. And, people addicted to gambling no doubt feel great when they win.  However, the trouble with addiction is that these deceptively good feelings are combined with feelings like guilt, depression, anxiety, remorse and even self-hatred. Of course there are numerous other negative consequences of addiction as well—financial hardship, poor physical health and broken relationships to name a few.  Over time, addictions interfere with our ability to fulfill life roles and connect with others emotionally. Addicts often feel lonely, isolated and depressed. Sometimes these feelings of depression are what prompt a person to begin psychotherapy.

Clients often begin psychotherapy without realizing that they have an addiction. A trained licensed mental health counselor can assess you to determine whether or not you in fact have an addiction and can provide the support and clinical expertise you need to help you overcome it.

Here are some symptoms of addiction:

1)Needing to perform the behavior more often

2)Performing the behavior more often and still not experiencing the desired effect

3)Trying unsuccessfully to stop the behavior

4)Spending a great deal of time doing the behavior

5)Not fulfilling or giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of the behavior

6)Continuing the behavior despite negative consequences

Over the years, I have discovered that you can be addicted to just about anything. Some addictions include:  the internet/social media, exercising, shopping, eating, gambling, gaming, pornography, drugs and alcohol (including cigarettes and caffeine) and sex. Some people are even addicted to relationships. If you feel you are struggling with addiction a trained counselor can help.  Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services of Orlando today at (407) 620-7855 to make an appointment to speak with a therapist. 


Yolanda Brailey