Addiction can be viewed as a learning experience because it results in the development and use of a unique set of skills, knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors. Individuals do not intuitively know the effects of drugs and alcohol or how to obtain and use drugs. The addiction lifestyle teaches and reinforces a complex set of behaviors, beliefs, knowledge, and skills.
The experience of addiction is influenced by many factors in an individual’s life. These include their: physiology and inherited genes, gender identity, family experience and life experiences, level of poverty or affluence, cultural expectations, level of life skills, total community environment, and immediate personal surroundings. This book focuses on the positive and negative influences on lapse and relapse that are within an individual’s control. It gives practical examples and information on how to make life changes that increase the probability of leaving addiction behind.