Posttraumatic Growth: Addiction as an Opportunity for Positive Change

You know the challenges of addiction. You’ve seen it in yourself or someone you love. However, increasing evidence also points to the experience of substance abuse as an opportunity for self-growth. Not that anyone wants to become an addict, but if you can, why not turn lemons into lemonade? After an addiction you will never be the person you were, and studies show that struggling to make peace with this trauma, and perhaps with the...


“Addict” or “Recovering Addict”: Identity and Connection Influence Relapse Rates

The band, The Who tell the story of a man who spends “Eleven hours in the Tin Pan” before deciding “there’s got to be another way.” And then the chorus asks the question “Who are you?” You know the song. And unfortunately, many of us know exactly what it’s like to be in the Tin Pan. We know what it’s like to look out at the world and wonder if there’s another way; we...


Study Shows 8 Patterns of Problem Drinking: Do You See Yourself?

Think back on the previous month: what was the pattern of your drinking or the drinking of a person you love? Five drinks on weekend nights, or sucking back a six-pack with a side order of self-loathing every evening, or the on-again, off-again of drinking at night alternating with crushing guilt in the morning that keeps you sober...until tomorrow? Sometimes we think about problem and addictive drinking as a homogenous thing – as if there’s either a problem or there is not – but a study recently published in the journal Addictive Behaviors shows that’s not the case at all: problem drinking comes in flavors and degrees – some heartbreaking and some hopeful – and there are types of people, emotions, reasons, and paths to change associated with each.

So let’s see what we can learn from this study’s 180 people identified with at-risk drinking behaviors, followed for 180 days. Let’s see if the science of the following eight drinking patterns can be a clear-eyed look in the mirror:

Welcome to the Science of Addiction

The topic of addiction is a big one, and one that seems to grow every year in the United States.

There's a lot of information about addiction, online, on TV, and elsewhere. But it's sometimes hard to distinguish between the marketing of treatments for addiction,...