The Culture of Addiction

Wikipedia defines ‘Culture’ as the “patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance.”

Why is it that in recent times the rate of addiction with drug, alcohol and nicotine use has increased exponentially? Even though the same law with respect to underage abuse is enforced across countries, over 90% of those suffering from an addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18.

Drug or alcohol users often seek out people with habits and behaviors like their own. These relationships foster into small groups that nurture extended periods of abuse. Soon these small groups combine to form a large network of an organized culture that share common experiences of addiction. They promote the rituals of abuse and encourage a culture of addiction. These networks have today transformed into boundless movements on social media and the internet promoting illicit drug, alcohol or nicotine abuse.

While the culture of addiction may not have necessarily instigated a person’s dependence, it certainly is helping sustain and reassure destructive habits. By interaction with other addicted individuals, the person can justify their own addictions as being common or no worse than anybody else’s. It is often observed that recovering addicts slip back into past habits due to interaction with destructive associations.

The road to recovery is often challenging but it is vital that a former addict deliberately distance himself from any social or personal relationships that encourage or promote illicit drug, alcohol or nicotine use. Treatment and detox cannot provide an alternative to a person’s identity or replace self-esteem. Ignoring widespread stigmas and consciously participating in constructive groups of wholesome individuals can be essential to maintaining a balanced recovery.

“The key is to ensure that the company you keep uplifts you, benefits you and whose presence calls forth your best.” - Epictetus

Written By: Vidhi Vohra

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