A compulsive or obsessive relationship with one or more substances or processes such as: alchohol or other drugs, food, sex, gambling, internet, exercise, relationships, work, or money.

Although this word is becoming ever more common in our culture today, it is still a scary concept. Just hearing the word conjures up visuals of junkies in abandoned warehouses shooting up heroin, drop-out meth-heads breaking into your car for whatever can be sold for ready cash, or wild-eyed coke fiends destroying the lives of anyone who dares to care about them.

Actually addicts come from all walks of life and have a potentially terminal disease. They have the same level of moral development, the same level of intelligence, the same amount of will power, and the same love of family as any other segment of the population.

So what is different about someone with an addiction? This person has a potentially fatal disease which can be described as a dysfunction of the mid-brain. The addict can not be smart enough, moral enough, loving enough or have enough will power to not have the disease. The propensity for addiction is inherited but environment also plays a role.

The addict may look just like anyone else at work, at church or in your neighborhood. She or he may be your lawyer, your physician, your clergy, an elected official, an officer of the law, a grandparent or babysitter. Although there are signs to look out for, often these signs are well hidden.

Some of the more common signs include:

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