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I’m Addicted to Addiction. Please Show Me the Way Out.

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For any of you reading this post, I’d like to begin by expressing my non-judgmental love towards you. My intent is to help you understand some of the medical background behind addiction, as well as offering some assistance as you continue your journey.

Addiction is a complex condition characterized by compulsive drug/alcohol seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered a brain disorder because drugs of abuse target the brain’s natural reward system, leading to profound changes in brain structure and function. Here’s a breakdown of the medical explanation of addiction:

Brain Reward System: The brain has a reward system that reinforces behaviors necessary for survival, such as eating and socializing. Drugs of abuse hijack this system, causing it to respond to the drugs as if they were essential for survival.

Neurotransmitters: Drugs of abuse typically act on neurotransmitter systems in the brain, particularly dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. When drugs increase dopamine levels, they create a euphoric sensation, reinforcing drug use.

Neuroplasticity: Prolonged drug use leads to changes in the brain’s structure and function. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, involves alterations in neurotransmitter systems, neural circuits, and even brain anatomy. These changes can make it increasingly difficult for individuals to control their drug use and contribute to cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Tolerance and Dependence: With repeated drug use, tolerance often develops, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Dependence can also occur, where the brain adapts to the presence of the drug and experiences withdrawal symptoms when drug use is reduced or stopped.

Cravings and Compulsion: Over time, individuals with addiction experience intense cravings for the drug, driven by changes in the brain’s reward system. These cravings can lead to compulsive drug-seeking behavior, even in the face of adverse consequences such as legal, financial, or health problems.

Genetic and Environmental Factors: Addiction is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Genetic predisposition can make some individuals more vulnerable to addiction, while environmental factors such as stress, trauma, peer pressure, and availability of drugs play significant roles in the development and progression of addiction.

Co-occurring Disorders: Addiction often co-occurs with other mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or trauma-related disorders. These disorders can contribute to the development of addiction and complicate treatment.

Understanding addiction as a medical condition underscores the importance of evidence-based treatments, including behavioral therapies, medications, and support services, to address the complex biological, psychological, and social aspects of the disorder. Treatment approaches aim to help individuals manage cravings, develop coping strategies, address underlying issues, and rebuild healthy, drug-free lives.

Please take a moment here to consider the information above. Perhaps your main focus in explaining your addiction to yourself has been that you simply are not strong enough to say “no”. Using only this logic challenges our self-worth, and gives us only one solution in recovery, which is, “To just be stronger”. Using this logic only spins us in the never-ending loop of addiction.

To put things simply, your brain has been rewired due to the factors listed above. Understanding this is an important step in developing a plan through the addiction, and back to a healthy lifestyle.

I’d like to begin by starting with the reason for addiction that I am most familiar with. In my lifetime career in health care, I have experienced many individuals who have turned to drugs/alcohol as a way to self-medicate. To again simplify the process, let’s say that what they were self-medication from was the illness of depression.

Depression is not only feeling sad, it is disabling. Patients do not want to get out of bed, face reality, or even exist. Their depression is such an emotional hurt that just making it through a day seem to be too much of a task. One patient described the feeling to me of the same type of emotional hurt that one would feel is they had just committed a serious crime, and their conscience was pestering them 24/7.

It is understandable that if a person was in this predicament, they would search for something to take the pain away…ANYTHING. The drugs seem to be the solution, yet now they have led to the challenge of addiction.

Come with me, down the path of understanding for a moment. If this same person were to gain control of their addiction, they are still left with the awful pain of depression. Doesn’t it make sense to treat the addiction AND the depression at the same time? If the depression pain is no longer there, that make the drug lose some of its power to continue using it for the treatment of your depression.

With an open mind, I would like for you to consider the reason(s) you are self-medicating. Depression, trauma, anxiety, failure, a loss of someone close? Write them down. These are JUST as important in treating as the addiction.

So, where do I start? Can I say, if you have followed along with this reading, you have already started. =) You have identified the road block that has kept you from successfully defeating addiction in the past.

You Must develop a team of support. Even though many of you are very bright and intelligent, a team is necessary to get you moving into that sunny peaceful place that you desire.

  1. Medical Doctor is your go-to person to help you deal with the medical challenges in your life. If depression is what hurts, there are many successful pharmaceutical treatments available. I speak first-hand of this knowledge for it was an anti-depressant regime that literately saved my life. It removed the pain, as well as gave my brain the necessary serotonin and neurotransmitters necessary to return to a healthy state.
  1. Therapist can be your safe passage through. With your medical doctor being the first step, the therapist can serve as the workhorse of your recovery. They are there to assist you with so many different aspects of treatment:

Emotional Support: Therapists provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgment. This can help individuals feel heard, understood, and validated, which is often a crucial aspect of healing.

Coping Strategies: Therapists teach practical coping strategies and techniques to help individuals manage symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. These strategies may include relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices, cognitive-behavioral techniques, and problem-solving skills.

Insight and Self-awareness: Therapy encourages self-reflection and exploration of underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Through this process, individuals gain insight into their patterns of thinking and reacting, which can lead to greater self-awareness and personal growth.

Behavioral Change: Therapists help individuals identify and change unhealthy patterns of behavior that may be contributing to their distress or difficulties in relationships. By learning new ways of thinking and behaving, individuals can make positive changes in their lives and relationships.

Support for Life Transitions: Therapy can be particularly beneficial during times of significant life transitions or stressors, such as divorce, loss of a loved one, career changes, or relocation. Therapists provide guidance, support, and coping strategies to help individuals navigate these challenges more effectively.

Medication Management: Psychiatrists, who are medical doctors specializing in mental health, can prescribe and manage medications for individuals with psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. They work closely with patients to monitor medication effectiveness, adjust dosages, and minimize side effects.

Improved Relationships: Therapy can improve communication skills, conflict resolution, and interpersonal relationships. By exploring relational patterns and dynamics, individuals can develop healthier and more satisfying connections with others.

Crisis Intervention: Therapists provide support and intervention during times of crisis or acute distress, such as suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or emotional breakdowns. They help individuals stabilize their emotions, develop safety plans, and access appropriate resources for further assistance.

Holistic Approach: Many therapists take a holistic approach to mental health, considering the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. They may incorporate techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, exercise, nutrition, and relaxation exercises to promote overall well-being.

Overall, mental therapists play a crucial role in promoting mental health, offering support, guidance, and evidence-based interventions to help individuals overcome challenges, improve their quality of life, and thrive.

  1. Family, Friends, Others can be the link of love that you are looking for. Many who are caught up in the chains of addiction have distanced themselves from others for various reasons. You might want to start with just one person in this group to be on your team. It is important in your recovery to feel loved and important. LOVE has a tremendous healing power…I invite you to reach out.
  1. Sponsor Overall, the role of a sponsor is multifaceted, encompassing support, guidance, accountability, and mentorship in the journey toward recovery from addiction. By forming a close and trusting relationship with their sponsor, individuals in recovery can increase their chances of long-term sobriety and personal growth.
  1. God or Higher Power Many addiction recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), emphasize the importance of surrendering to a higher power as a cornerstone of recovery. This higher power is often referred to as God, but it can also be understood in broader spiritual or personal terms. Believing in a higher power can provide individuals with a sense of purpose, hope, and strength beyond their own capabilities.

Might I offer this advice? If you believe in God, or a higher power, and you believe that He has created you, then partnering up with Him is the ultimate solution to your addiction. He will lead you to solutions, as well as give you the strength to move forward. He loves you JUST THEY WAY THAT YOU ARE, and too much to leave you there. You do not need to be perfect to ask for Him to join your team.

I’m touched by the story that He left the entire heard of sheep to search for the lost one. I have been that lost sheep, and can attest that He indeed did come and find me. He is looking for you right now, and is prepared to scoop you up into His arms and care for you. Please let Him in.

As you gather your team, you will begin to see that recovery is possible. The peaceful life that you are seeking has already begun. I will continue to pray for you, and will look forward to spending an eternity with you someday.

All my love,

River



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    • patrickvw

      Hi River repeat over and over “NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO”, Everytime you get the urge for your addiction ! Let the Mystic Law be your addiction , the side effects are freedom from abusive addictions , wisdom , focus , enlightenment , happiness , good health , and good fortune !

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