My name is Taine Newport; I am an addiction counselor at Sharp Treatment Centre. I am currently studying my BSW (Bachelors in Social Work). I have worked in the field of addiction for 3 years now as an addictions counselor.

In my experience, addiction is a coping mechanism and a survival skill. Many people in addiction use drugs to cope or fulfill a need initially but the addiction takes over and the substance or behavior begins to have the opposite effect. Although the addiction essentially destroys one’s life, the initial purpose is to cope with life.

I find that addiction has three causes; genetics, environmental and trauma. Due to one’s environment, they learn to use an external substance or behavior to cope with the trauma they have experienced and then genetics takes over and one lands up being addicted. The process of addiction then takes over where one progresses in their addiction, and their lives go from survival, to bad, to worse, to “rock bottom”.

In order to treat addiction, I find one has to understand the purpose for their using as using fulfills a need one has and the substance or behavior fulfills this for a period of time until it caves in on the addict. In gaining insight into the reason one uses a substance or behavior to cope, the addict now has a choice where in active addiction I believe the substance or behavior took over that choice. One will have the choice to change or carry on doing what they know, which will inevitable destroy them.

Once one realizes they have a choice, a sense of empowerment builds within them, which is also what an addict needs in order to begin to recover. With empowerment comes self-worth and self-esteem, and these are essential for recovery. One needs to feel worthy of recovering.

Many various methods facilitate this to happen, including the AA/NA program, individual therapy and the wide range of group therapies available.

No addict is an island, help is needed and is available.