How Many Fall into Addiction

Different age addicts are sitting in line

When it comes to drug addiction and how that begins for someone, no two people are the same. Some anti-drug campaigns even set forward the idea that if you use drugs once you will become hopelessly addicted but this is not always the case.

A good example of this was the “Meth Not Even Once” campaign. This was a good slogan but it spread the idea that single drug use could cause someone to become an addict. Some people do become hooked on the first use but this is not always the case. Addiction issues are far more complex and, as far as my six years of experience working with addicts has shown, the usual pattern is as follows:

  • The addict has problems in his or her life which can be anything from childhood abuse or neglect, to other things like low self-esteem.
  • Though drug addiction still does not occur immediately, things compound over time with the person trying to solve his or her problems in various ways. When the “solutions” don’t work, they resort to using drugs.
  • Many addicts have one thing in common which is that drugs are very good at distracting people from things they don’t like. For instance, if you are drunk to the point of blacking out, you are not usually thinking about how you don’t like who you are. As the issues compound—issues such as stress from work, stress from broken relationships, or financial problems—the person will begin looking for something to take the problems away.
  • This is followed by graduating to stronger and stronger substances.
  • Once they go down this road, a person starts to become physically addicted. This is when the addict feels trapped and the cycle becomes really vicious. They spend all day trying not to get sick and trying to avoid dealing with the things in their life that are messing them up.
  • They have a fear of not only getting sick from not using drugs but also facing their initial problems which have multiplied in the meantime.
  • The addict ends up with a feeling of helplessness and the thought that even if I they overcame the sickness, their life would still be terrible. In short, the idea of trying to confront what their life has become while being sober can be just as terrifying as the idea of going through withdrawals.

My life was like that. I had my own issues and was trying so hard not to face them that I had convinced myself everything was fine. Before long though, things got worse as I pissed away my life and the time I could have spent making it better.

I got to a point where I was willing to try anything and, long story short, I eventually found heroin. But even then I wasn’t instantly hooked and would do heroin every now and then. As crazy as it sounds, my ex-girlfriend and I would do heroin on date nights every now and then like it was some “special occasion.”

After doing it occasionally for a year, little by little my life had begun to fall apart. I was doing other drugs every day, I had a dead-end job, I was failing at college and I had given up on all my aspirations. That’s when I started shooting up and using more and more. I didn’t want to think about how my life sucked. I didn’t want to face anything and even when I tried to quit, the cycle would stop for a day or two and then start all over.

I hope this will bring understanding to those who just don’t get it. Hopefully, this has shed some light on how it all works. What is your experience?



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.