Chronic debt = always being in debt.
There is a common expression, a slippery slope. That means you think you're doing something sensible or that you can control but you're in danger of "slipping" and falling down that (metaphorical) slope faster than you can control.
Having sexy conversations on the Internet with a man whose not your husband can put you on a slippery slope to infidelity. Having a cigarette just when you're out at a bar (after you'd stopped smoking) is a very slippery slope to becoming a full-time smoker.
Buying just one thing on credit may seem okay, but if you buy many things on credit before you've paid off the first thing, you're on a slippery slope toward never being free of debt.