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The Thief: 7 Things Addiction Steals From Us

Addiction is much more than a psychological or physical reliance on substances or behaviors; it’s a physical, emotional and spiritual issue that puts blinders on our perspective, corrodes our value systems, and compromises our ability to prioritize normally.

Over time, as addicts or loved ones, addiction becomes our most important priority. And in order to continue fueling its demanding and ravenous needs, we must sacrifice other important aspects of our lives.

Not everyone experiences addiction the same, but the disease is relatively predictable in terms of what it steals from us. Addiction is a thief of our time, our minds, our hearts and our relationships.

After taking everything else, addiction also tries to steal the hope of our recovery. However, quality treatment programs offer millions of individuals hope when there seems to be none. Once we begin to regain our hope of recovery, we can also begin to recover the other stolen parts of our lives.

Addiction is a thief, and these 7 things are its most common targets.

1. Relationship

Watching someone suffer from addiction can be both heart wrenching and infuriating. Although no one wants to isolate someone they love, our behaviors and mentality during active addiction often force family and friends to leave us.

Addiction quickly steals our most cherished relationships.

2. Success

Whether it’s performing well at work, honing our talents or continuing to learn, old obligations that once made us feel successful are replaced by addiction. More than a job or making money, true success is the quality of our efforts that reflect our internal drive. Addiction is very good at stealing our passions and diminishing the quality of our efforts.

3. Time

Possibly the most important commodity in life, our time is forever fleeting, and no one can stop its steady march. Every minute, day or decade that we sacrifice to addiction becomes stolen time we’ll never get back.

Aside from the life-shortening, physical consequences of our destructive behaviors, active addiction also steals the quality, purpose and value of our time.

4. Gratitude

Addiction rewires the pleasure centers of our brain.

Whether it’s a sunset, children playing in a park or a good friend’s contagious laugh, we slowly become unappreciative to the meaningful moments in our lives.

Experiencing the world through a veil of addiction makes seeing or feeling things we once loved increasingly more difficult.

5. Spirituality

Whether it’s through religion, nature, philosophy, art or anything else, spirituality is an important aspect of our human experience.

It could be the wonderment of possibilities, the appreciation of a bush leaf or the fulfillment of a social connection.

Spirituality is beyond intellectualism or doctrines. However, addiction quickly steals our possibilities, our wonder, our sense of meaning and purpose, and our peace. Addiction destroys our ability to dream.

6. Happiness

Once we lose our loved ones, our ambition, our gratitude and our spirit, happiness becomes harder and harder to hold onto.

In its insidious nature, addiction promises us happiness, but simply supplements our discontent with short-term escapes. As we begin to lose our happiness, it also becomes easier to steal our hope.

7. Hope

Once addiction steals everything else, the only remaining thing to steal is our hope for renewal and wellbeing. From recommitting to future goals to mending our broken relationships, the hope of regaining our lives is continually taken as we remain in active addiction. To rediscover our hope of living a fulfilling life, we must first recognize the culprit that has taken everything away.

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