Understanding Addiction

Understanding Addiction

Understanding Addiction

Understanding Addiction


A concise overview of this complex affliction for all those affected by addiction -- addicts, family members, and even employers


Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?

Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.

Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!

In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.

Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.

You will be like one sleeping of the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.

“They hit me, ” you will say, “but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”

—Proverbs 23:29–35, New International Version

Addiction is nothing new, as we can see from the above quotation, in which the biblical writer paints a hauntingly accurate picture of the devastation caused by alcohol addiction. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and addictive behaviors affect every group at every level in our society. In the United States, one out of four people has a parent, child, or sibling who is addicted. In 1995 the National Institutes of Health estimated the economic cost of alcohol and drug abuse at over $240 billion. Lost productivity, illness, premature death, and health care expenditures are all part of this picture, as are costs associated with motor vehicle accidents and with crime and incarceration. The emotional and social damage . . .

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