How do you change an idea? How do you make an old fact into fiction? How do you stop a landslide of false ideas and insert the truth?
That is the task here. One of the first things that needs to change in order for you to actually 'recover' is the idea that you are plagued with an 'incurable disease'.
Lets start simple: it is NOT a disease, and it is NOT incurable. Although I could give you literally hundreds if not thousands of citations (scholarly and peer reviewed even) to back this statement up, I'm not going to. Its time you stopped letting your life be driven by those around you. It's time for you to take control again. As the end of the Invictus poem goes "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."
You are on the web now if you are reading this, so I dare you ... no, I double dog dare you to google: "benefits of nutrition in addiction recovery", "natural remedies for stress", "benefits of exercise in addiction recovery", "benefits of meditation", "benefits of mindfulness", and "benefits of Cognitive Behavior Therapy" just to get started.
So what is addiction if not a disease? A better explanation of addiction is: "the hijacking of your reward system". Look at it like a tug of war between what makes you happy, and what is making you miserable in life. The more things you have pulling you to the bad side, the easier it is to allow 'addiction' to make you happy. This explanation also makes it easier to understand the 'why' behind why some people can or have used and did not become addicted while others did.
Think of it like this maybe: its like falling in love with someone else while you are still married. Your brain has become rewired to what you are looking forward to. Even though you know what you are doing is wrong, will hurt people, could end up badly, could destroy your life as you know it, and on and on ... you still can't wait for your next few 'stolen' moments with the 'new love' of your life. Your brain's reward system has been 'hijacked'.
Do not misunderstand this. There IS a huge impact and influence from your drug of choice as well. The drug itself also plays a major role in creating the addiction, based on how hard it 'hits'. As in, how 'high' it can make you, and how quickly it gets you to this high. An example would be: drinking opium in a tea or tonic would not be nearly as addictive as smoking it, and smoking it will not be as addictive and shooting it up. There is more that is happening below the surface here, but for simplicity sakes, those are the main points.
But it's not just about the drug itself, it's also about the prep (which is why people can get a relief by snorting a crushed aspirin, or by injecting water), and the chase (which is how you can feel almost 'high' by just getting the call or driving to where you are getting it).
Just a note, I will use 'drugs' synonymously for both drugs and alcohol (as I'm pretty sure its the drug 'ethanol' in the alcohol that people are addicted to, and not the food coloring) and 'addiction' for anything that can control your reward system.
The idea that addiction is 'just' a chemical imbalance, or even just a 'disease' is very misleading. Not only to the person dealing with the addiction, but everyone that comes in contact with those struggling with addiction.
Yes you can be addicted to just about anything: people (co-dependency), food, shopping, sex, gambling, gaming, collecting, caffeine, nicotine, and drugs (this is NOT a complete list). The issue is, if you are addicted to gaming, you may not be the most social person in the world but it probably won't kill you. If you are addicted to hording, unless a pile of things falls on you and smothers you will sleeping, it probably won't kill you. But if you are addicted to drugs, unless you find a path out, you will either end up laying on a cot in a jail or on a metal slab in the morgue.
Another issue is, many programs just 'preach' abstinence. Just don't do it! So if you are addicted to 'food', how do you just stop eating? If you are addicted to 'work', how do you pay your bills and eat if you just stop working? If you are addicted to 'shopping', how do you go about getting your food, or gas without 'buying' anything?
The idea that you just need to 'stop' until the desire to do whatever it was fades, has faded. Science has come up with much better ways of dealing with redirecting your reward system back on track. But until this limited thinking and ancient understanding changes, the information that needs to be out there will continue to be shunned, ridiculed, and not applied.
This reminds me of the quote: "The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively not by the false appearance of things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice." The idea of "Imagine what we could learn, if we didn't already 'know' everything".
So it is a must that we change the mentality behind what those in active addiction are actually facing. I have seen way to many not even try because "it's not curable anyway, so why does it matter what I do?" It is time to change this thinking.
Who am I?
I have been called "Sirthinkalot" and "The mender of souls." I am an addiction specialist and a full-time psychology student on the way to Dr. Davis in clinical psychology. I am currently crusading for the expedited paradigm shift in addiction recovery!