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IN MY VIEW: The definition of addiction

This is a definition from one of the dictionaries: addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences; a powerful statement describing many.

In My View with Harry Maksagak

When we look around and see the living conditions and the state of the residents across Nunavut, we begin to realize that something is not quite right. There are many reasons and situations that cause people to act and react the way they do in their present circumstances. I believe there is a positive ending to a lot of the negatives in our lives today if we choose to change.

Our place of employment will often have us in a state of happiness and contentment – or absolute disappointment. I can attest to this while working at the Lupin Gold Mine several years ago. It seemed like there was no end in exploring and developing the ore body for commercial enterprises, but the day came when we had just reached the 1,500 meter face and we were told within days of this that we had mined out the gold.

What do I do now? Where am I going to work?

It is the beginning of winter and everything is slow and no significant advertisements were out at this point. It was a disappointment and hard to adjust to for some time.

Other situations revolve around relationships. The most common approach today is the attraction to an individual, the two begin living together and soon there are children born to them.

But for one reason or another, this does not last and substance has been introduced or has been a practice during the early developments of this relationship. The use of substance turns to a dependency and unfortunately turns into a serious addiction. Not only has the relationship broken down but their health begins to deteriorate. Their kidneys fail, the liver is not functioning the way it was meant to because of the alcohol poisoning, the heart begins to weaken and the individual is distraught and depressed. The doctor finally says, if you do not consider what you are doing to yourself, you will not be with us much longer.

This I think is the turning point in the lifestyle, and recovery begins. Although there is that period of detoxification, it is too little, too late. The vital organs are destroyed and daily medication and treatment replace freedom of movement and usually confinement to a bed or treatment centre. All because of the addiction.

Other situations are a result of prolonged trauma – namely the residential school syndrome – that has not been dealt with properly and people choose to numb this with alcohol/drugs.

In closing, although the trauma and the painful memories may be replaced for a few hours of indulging in substance, your health and your state of well-being and your relationships will be seriously affected unless you decide to do something about your habits.

You have to make that choice. No one can choose for you, but the encouraging part is: you are not alone. The support group you engage with will be there for you and someone is also there to listen and to share with you. Be strong, be brave and make up your own mind.