The reason I believe a lot of people are unsuccessful in recovering from an addiction, whether it be alcoholism or drug addiction, is that too often the symptoms, rather than the causes of the addiction are being treated.

What's a symptom? You're feeling depressed, anxious, paranoid, generally not feeling yourself. There are literally 20 million things you could be feeling as a result of an alcohol or drug problem.

So you get those seen to and before long the addiction has simply resurfaced and you're no better off than you were before.

Or even if you were given some kind of "wonder" medication that might help with resisting the urge to pick up a drink or drug, how is your life going to be that different?

You might not be drinking or using, but you're still essentially the same person. There's a word that alcoholics like to use for that – it's called being a "dry drunk."

The problem is ... when you get into a cycle of drinking or using drugs, those negative feelings become familiar and essentially a part of who you are, so you continue in a continuous downward spiral without actually realising what's in fact happening to you until it's often too late.

I had the good fortune of working with a brilliant Addictions Counsellor when I was at my worst, and he had an extremely crude, but powerful statement he always used to make. "Shit stinks, but it's warm." (No, I'm not joking:-)

I'll never forget that. We get so caught up in our own 'crap,' that we forget what it's like to live outside of that reality.

So even if you were given some magic pill to stop you or a person you love drinking and using drugs, there would in actual fact not really be much of a difference.

You'd simply continue to wallow in the misery that your addiction has created and be no better off for not drinking or drugging.

So, what's the solution?

It comes back to treating the cause and not the symptoms of your addiction. The cause is inside of you, a part of you, who you are, so to change and successfully recover from an addiction, you need to change (people hate the word change) or transform yourself. You need to give yourself an 'internal makeover.'

Andrew Weil, MD, in his book, 'Natural Health, Natural Medicine' says this:

"Addiction is NOT a psychological or pharmacological problem, and CANNOT be solved by the methods of psychology or pharmacology. It is, at root, a SPIRITUAL concern, because it represents a misdirected attempt to achieve wholeness, to experience inner completeness and satisfaction."

I absolutely agree with him because in essence, I believe we're spiritual beings ...

So your thoughts ... feelings ... how you relate to yourself ... how you relate to the world around you ... making peace with your past ... and letting go of all the things you're currently holding on to that are creating an excuse for you to use, are the things that need to change before you can finally conquer an addiction.

And that can seem scary, sure. But that's where the actually 'wanting it' and being prepared to do the 'work' necessary become such fundamental factors.

NA & AA are such powerful programs and work for so many because they're spiritual programs at heart.

And putting in the consistent effort that these programs require is how you successfully recover from your addiction.

Author's Bio: 

Carl-Peter is the owner of that provides Help, Information & Advice on Alcoholism & Drug Addiction.

He is also the Author of "Addiction Uncovered" - a book that he used to sell all over the world, but which can now be downloaded FREE at his website.