If you have a beer every time you watch football, after a while and many repetitions, every time that you watch football you will want a beer. If you don’t have a beer while watching the game, you will feel that something is missing, you will have the sensation that watching football won’t be as fun, and you will think about beer a lot; you will crave it. At this time it can be said that you have developed a beer/alcohol habit.
Then, let’s say that you continue to drink beer every time that you watch football because, if you don’t, football will suck. After time your organism would develop a “tolerance” to the amount of alcohol in one beer. Tolerance means that your organism will adapt to functioning with a certain amount of a drug like alcohol, or any other drug. This means that you will no longer feel the same feeling of that the one beer gave you—it would leave you wanting more. To feel satisfied again, you will have to drink more than the amount that your organism got used to. This process of getting used to an amount of a substance, i.e. a beer, and having to take more to feel ok will continue forever.
As the amount of alcohol or drug increases to get the satisfaction that you want, your brain will become dependent on having the substance (alcohol, or any other drug) that you are feeding it from the outside. If the supply of this substance stops abruptly, the brain will send messages in the way of thoughts, feelings, and sensations, that are designed to let you know that it’s running low, and you should feed it more of the alcohol/drug. If you don’t feed your brain the substances that it craves, it will make you will feel sick. At this time, it can be said that your brain has become “chemically dependent”, that is, dependent on an outside chemical to be able to function. The name for this condition is chemical dependency, which is the scientific name for addiction.
At this time you should not lie to yourself. Denying what is happening will result in more dependency to more and more amounts of the chemical that your brain wants. This constant increase will produce problems in all the areas of your life. You know it will. Don’t let embarrassment, or shame, put everything that you love in danger. As you can see chemical dependency is a physical condition. It needs to be treated. There is no shame in that.
Reach out. We really get it.