7 Little Known Facts About Addiction

7 Little Known Facts About Addiction
Carly Jacobs
This post is sponsored by Problem Gambling NSW 


bout a month ago I published an article about my brother and how he beat his addiction to gambling. It was a pretty big stretch for me because I don’t like sharing stuff about my family because I’m greedy and protective, but the post has quickly become one of the most viewed articles this year on Smaggle and it opened up a beautiful conversation about the difficulties of overcoming gambling addictions, and my brave brother has inspired many people to seek help or continue seeking help. Such a brilliant outcome so I’m partnering with Problem Gambling NSW again this month to talk about the nature of addiction.

In a past life I used to teach kids that had experienced trauma and this meant spending lots of time with child addicts. All kinds of addicts but mainly drugs and alcohol. They used to love to talk to me about their addictions and it fascinated me. I’ve led an extremely vanilla life and it’s written all over my healthy, glowing face. These rough, hard kids would take one look at me and know they’d seen things that I couldn’t even imagine. I learned so much about addiction from these extraordinary, broken, wise and beautiful kids. I just kind of assumed that people became addicts because their parents were addicts and that’s not even close to being true. Here’s 7 little known facts that my students taught me about addiction.


It’s unpredictable 

No one knows when or where addiction will strike, how long it will stick around or if it will come back again. Addiction is like a wild animal – you can’t take your eyes off it for a second, even if it appears to be sleeping.

It doesn’t discriminate 

Many people falsely assume that addiction favours people in lower socio-economic areas or people that have a family history of addiction. And while these factors may be true in some cases it’s important to remember that successful and wealthy people can just as easily fall into an addiction.

It loves company 

Most addicts will be addicted to more than one thing. Drugs and alcohol, shopping and gambling, smoking and drinking, sex and drugs. This is why addictions aren’t really that different from each other – it’s all too much of a thing that makes people feel good until it destroys them.

It’s more common than you think 

Lots of people assume that they don’t know any addicts – but addicts are masters of disguise. All kinds of addicts can hide their addictions so well that their families don’t even know how deeply they’re in shit until they’re drowning in it.

Its definition is far more black and white than most people are willing to admit 

The line between excessive use and addiction isn’t as thin as most of us make out it is… Regular use of a substance or activity to cope emotionally, socially or physically IS the definition of addiction. You don’t have to be feeding the pokies for 8 hours straight a day to be considered an addict.

Addicts rarely seek help 

Addicts often don’t know they’re addicts until they’re standing in a pile of shit that used to be their life. The earlier people seek help for any addiction, the better.

It’s a disease that is treatable

It’s not easy. Ask any non-using addict (one of my mates told me that there’s no such thing as a recovering addict. Once an addict, always an addict) and they will tell you how hard it is to not give in to their addiction… It’s really hard to manage an addiction, but it is definitely achievable.43e39040

Gambling won’t fuck up your face like ice will or pickle your liver like alcohol. It won’t affect your relationship in the same way that a sex addiction will. Gambling is probably the easiest of all addictions to hide because it doesn’t show on your body but this is one of the reasons why it’s so important to get on top of it early.

The purpose of this post is to empower problem gamblers (and all addicts) and their families to make that first step towards recovery. Here are a few things you can do.

1. Visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au for info on free and confidential help by phone, online or face to face.

2. Post a comment below (anonymously) and ask any questions you like and I’ll have them answered by a problem gambling professional.

3. Email me hello@smaggle.com and I’ll send your question through to the NSW problem gambling social media forum where it will be answered by a problem gambling professional.

Please do pass this post on to anyone who may need it.

Problem gamblers really are stronger than they think and seeking help is the perfect opportunity to show everyone what they’re made of.

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I always end posts with a question but today I’m just opening the comments for a chat for anyone who needs it…


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P.S – By the way if you’re keen to keep up to date with Smags here are all the ways you can follow along –   FacebookTwitterBloglovinInstagram and the Smaggle weekly newsletter. No pressure, only if you feel like it!


  1. merilyn 6 years ago

    you are a good seed smags!
    this is a very worthwhile post!
    i once was a drinker sometimes to excess but now I’m not!
    one day i thought
    i don’t need that to make me happy,
    sad, numbed, dizzy
    off the planet crazy!
    itchy scratchy
    so i chose to stop! …
    what a wowser i am now! …
    i’ll dance, paint, sing.
    do my thing
    for my serotonin! … lots of love m:)X

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      I struggle with drinking sometimes… definitely not in a worrying way (I have about 5 AFDs every week!) butI have a hard time stopping at one drink. I love exercise for my serotonin… works every time!

  2. Sarah 6 years ago

    I wish we could talk more about everyday alcoholism in Australia, and of the role shame plays in alcoholism and indeed in all addictions. I had a close family member who died from alcoholism, and if she’s had an environment where she’d been able to socialise without having to have a f*cking drink – very, very difficult for a certain middle aged rural/regional demographic–then maybe she’d have had the breathing space she needed. And if she’d been able to talk about it – to talk about what it means to lose control of your body, your mind and and your life in an age when women, especially, are meant to have all that under control or at leats not talk about it–then maybe she’d still be here today. Thanks for opening the discussion, Smags. And thanks to your brave, brave brother too.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      My pleasure and I totally agree – I give up alcohol for a few months every year and it’s harder for everyone else than it is for me. I have friends who actually prefer to not hang out with me when I’m off the booze. I had an American blogging mate come to stay a few years ago and she was quite shocked when I ordered a third glass of wine when we were having dinner. Their drinking culture isn’t anywhere near as bad as us and 3 glasses of wine was shocking to her. To me 3 glasses is a fairly tame night! I think talking about it really helps and it also makes people more aware of how their drinking can get out of control.

      • Bec 6 years ago

        Yes! I have a new American friend who doesn’t drink much, maybe one on a night out, and it really puts things here into perspective.

        • Author
          Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

          It does! We SLAM alcohol… and the worst thing is that we’re conditioned that way.

    • Bec 6 years ago

      I agree with you Sarah. A close family member of mine has a really bad problem, so much so that I avoid answering my phone after a certain hour when they call and am considering only daytime visits from now on. I just can’t handle seeing them turn to mush after 5pm. It’s been discussed many times in the past and refusal to go to AA and excuses is all I’ve been met with. It’s hard when you feel like you’re still meant to be the kid and they are meant to be responsible. I hope they can get help before it’s too late.

      • Author
        Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

        Oh love, that’s awful for you. It’s so awful that the hardest part is admitting that they have problem. It seems to get so much easier from there…

      • Sarah 6 years ago

        Hi Bec, I totally get the after 5pm thing. I think the shame around the whole issue makes it so much harder for people to get help – and in many cases it means they stop seeing their GP, because the GP is the first one to notice the effects it is having on their health. That obviously compounds things massively. Maybe women find it even more difficult, because being drunk is seen as so unladylike? I don’t know, but I am sorry for you and your family member. It’s a terrible disease. Perhaps a sly youtube link to one of Brene Brown’s talks on shame and vulnerability, framed as being for you rather than them? A bit cheesy, but I can’t help but think if my family member had seen one of them she would have felt some sort of recognition, even if privately. It might have helped. Good luck.

  3. Gosh lady, you have such a beautiful way of educating us. I knew a little bit about addiction, but you’ve just taught me a whole lot more. Thank you. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      Oh thank you darling! That was the whole point… it’s such an unessessary taboo to talk about and something that I only know about through random experience so I’m glad it came across well! xxx

  4. It’s a sad thing addiction, it’s a little close to home this subject but we all know someone going through something right? Cherry Mristmas Smags, thanks for the laughs and the serious this year!

  5. nonnuclearmaven 6 years ago

    This is a pretty tough thing for me to comment on. I have somewhat of a jaundiced view. I’ve been dealing with my mother’s addiction for the last 25 years, I’m 34 now, after a long haul of different things, she’s settled on drinking, being the most accessible, affordable and socially acceptable. I’ve also had my own battle with drug issues and drinking. The thing that sticks with me the most is that my mother says that she never started out as an addict, this might just be what saves me. It also, unfortunately at times, makes me hyper aware of other peoples drinking habits and often magnifies the potential dysfunction. I’ve seen first hand the roller coaster of rehab, many times. I truly hope that anyone who seeks help gets the help they deserve. Addiction is a hell of a thing for a family to go through. Thought provoking post Lady Smaggle! Hopefully the discourse can open up and some of the sides of addiction can seem less hidden and taboo.


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