My definition of addiction is, a compulsive behavior, or set of behaviors, that move you in a generally negative direction.
In my life, I've had more than a few rough patches where I was sliding down that slippery slope with partying too hard and everything that goes along with it (i.e. sex, drugs and rock 'n roll). With my personality, I tend to gravitate to extremes. I work hard and I play hard. With respect to substance abuse, I can honestly say that I've never been "compelled" to use anything. I've tried just about everything under the sun, short of sticking a needle in my arm. I've stuck plenty of needles in my ass back in the day when I was using AAS and I did it safely and with very positive results using information gleaned from this website. I have never had a negative consequence as a result of using drugs or alcohol and I've partied pretty hard in my day. I never had trouble quitting anything, putting it down for a few months or a few years even, or going cold turkey with any drug or substance - including alcohol and cigarettes. I currently do not smoke at all and I drink socially a few times a week (two or three drinks). I don't use any illegal drugs, although I'm not morally opposed to it, I am just focusing on my career at the moment. I manage that part of my life just fine - always have.
My thumbscrew was sex and women. I first figured out how easy it was to fuck women when I was in High School. I was a pretty good looking guy, always been well built, socially intelligent, and I lettered in three sports, went to the Junior prom when I was a freshman, and went through most of the cheer leading squads at two different schools by the time I graduated. I fancied myself a "cocksman". I think that shit is genetic, because my grandfather was legendary: his senior year at an Ivy league college, he actually rode a horse in the home coming parade so everyone could see John D**** have "one more ride"... We can debate nature vs. nurture some other time, but the more research I do, the more I am convinced that NATURE has more to do with our tendencies and personality than anything else, but I digress....
Until my late 20's, I left a trail of broken women in my wake. I was a liar, a cheater, a "man's man" and a "player's player". In between girlfriends, I fucked more chicks, had more threesomes, foursomes and general debauchery than I can remember. I was like a pendulum swinging (pun intended) from one extreme to another - I would get into a relationship and then fuck it up and go back to being wild again. (I always use condoms, and I've never had an STD so save the flames please) It got to the point where it was truly an obsession. Don't even get me started on internet porn! I got my first computer in '97 and that thing was a three thousand dollar jerk off machine! Then I discovered all of the PUA material online and it was like adding gasoline to a fire. Most of that stuff is bullshit, but some of it is GOLD! It got so bad that I graduated to having multiple long term relationships where none of them knew about each other. I got married because I thought it would set me straight but the divorce just ended up costing me a small fortune.
As fucked up as it sounds, that's when I woke up and smelled the coffee - when it hit my wallet. That got my attention QUICK! So I started getting more into evolutionary psychology, NLP and Tony Robbins stuff, I did the New Warrior weekend and attended a weekly group of like minded men seeking to evolve. I developed some very powerful friendships with men who took (and still take) the time to mentor me and, more importantly, call me on my shit. I did affirmations, listened to self hypnosis cd's, studied human behavior from the lens of an anthropologist. I've read over a hundred books with topics ranging from evolution to sexuality to spirituality to science, etc.... And I took an amazing journey inside my self and really established some boundaries with my behaviors and with the behaviors I will accept from other people. Good stuff.
I started that journey when I was 30. Since then, the quality of my relationships have improved immeasurably. I still don't like having just one girlfriend, I could start a whole new thread on my views on monogamy (i think i did last month) but I am open and communicate with every one I'm intimate with and there are generally no hurt feelings. The point being, I no longer let that part of my life control me and move me in a negative direction. I am not ashamed of my desires nor do I care about being judged by others. The real bonus was that once I got that part of my life handled, it had a synergistic effect on everything else - my business, my finances, relationships with my family, my health, etc...
If I could sum up all of the things I learned into two words, it would be this: DON'T LIE. To yourself or anyone else. If I catch myself having the urge to lie that is my signal that I'm starting to slip. Creating that space between the stimulus and the response and having the awareness and presence of mind to change an ingrained habit or tendency is when the results of your work start to pay off.
Sorry if this got kinda long - hope someone gets some value from it.