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Posted by on in Drug Addiction
Addiction is the great equalizer.
 
Why? Because it cuts across every demographic, psychographic and geographic profile that there is. It hits rich and poor, young and old, black and white, big and tall, skinny and fat. It doesn't care how educated you are or what you think about politics, music, or sports. It doesn't care  what your profession is. Addiction cuts across America and the world. As addicts we all have the same traits. Just as my dog wags his tail because because he's a dog. So we addicts behave in certain ways, very distinguishable and identifiable ways,traits and characteristics, because we are addicts.
 
Addiction attacks the top executive at a Fortune 500 company, a housewife,  bus driver,a teacher or student and brings them all to the exact same point. A point of desperation, a point of severe suffering , a point where they know their addiction has entrapped them and is out of control, even if they won't admit it to others, or even themselves.
 
Like a small army of ants can bring down even the strongest and largest buildings that were thought to have such great foundations. We watch as they come crumbling down . The same is true for the addict, addiction eats away at the very core of a persons mind, heart,emotion, soul, body and being. The end result is always destruction.No matter how much they did or what drug they did. The addiction had the same effect on everybody. It destroyed them. And that is why it's the great equalizer.      
 
Do you need a reality check?
 
How many times have you heard that phrase, "you need a reality check?" That usually means we think that somebody is involved in delusional thinking. That they don't see the truth, facts and the actual circumstances that are happening around them. Thus their definition of reality is not only inaccurate and perverted, but the saddest part is they really think it's real. Now the Russian philosopher Dostoevsky  stated and argued that 2+2 = 5 if indeed that is your belief.  In essence stating that people create their own reality. From a philosophical standpoint we may be able to embrace that concept of thinking. However from a reality standpoint, it just doesn't work. Here's why. Let's assume my perception of the speed limit is it should be 100 miles an hour. So I believe that is the speed limit and so I went 100 miles an hour. When the flashing red lights appear in my rear mirror and the police pull me over and write me a ticket for speeding, regardless of what I tell them my own reality is, they will tell me the reality of the world. So therefore the reality of society and circumstance and law is a reality under which we are all bound by.
 
The addicted person often lives in a world and mindset governed by, and created by, their own definition of reality. Which is usually quite different than their friends, family, society and the world's definitions. The addicts definition of reality is that he can do whatever he wants to make himself feel good at the expense of anyone else. The addicts definition is, we always put our own self desires ahead of anybody else's, regardless of the consequences to other people. As long as we get what we want then nothing else matters. That is truly the reality of the addict. Whether they have consciously chosen to embrace it, or their addiction has overcome them and put them in that position and perception of reality, that is what they think and what their actions are based on. Would it be logical for a person to continue using drugs and alcohol to the extent that it causes him to lose their job, their drivers license, their family and eventually wind up in jail, or dead. Obviously if you were asked that question on an exam, you would answer 'NO" that's not logical, rational or a good idea, and its a terrible perception of reality to have. Yet that is exactly the perception that the addict has. So yes oftentimes the addicts thinking is delusional and above all they need a reality check.
 
However many addicts are in denial. They refuse to accept the world's reality and insist upon accepting and implementing their own warped, perverted definition of reality which justifies them getting anything they want, anyway they have too, at any cost, no matter who they hurt, and blaming everyone else for their circumstance and situation except themselves. Their reality also includes  thinking that the only place they can be accepted, feel-good,  and get relief and escape from the worlds demands, obligations and requirements is by using drugs or alcohol.
 
Now the good news. Oftentimes in recovery the scales come off the addicts eyes and by learning new information and by gaining new knowledge and by having a spiritual awakening, the addict actually sees the reality of life as it truly is. They come to learn to accept themselves for who they are and what they are and see how they can be better and live joyfully and function in the world as it is, instead of creating an alternative addiction world, where they survive miserably until they die or go to prison. So the good news is there's hope for every addicted person. I have learned never to give up on anyone. As God has shown me many miracles in the lives of addicted people who I thought were beyond help and hope.  God showed me no one  is beyond help or hope as long as they are still breathing. Our job is to make sure that when the addicted person seeks help, there's qualified help and information available to show them the way and the path to a better life. We do that by teaching them what their options to recovery are and connecting them with the people who can walk them down the path of success.
 
The great news is that there is a recovery program available for each and every addict that can bring them out of their addiction into the free, joyful, happy life God intended for them to have. So a suitable recovery program is also a great equalizer. It works for all addicts, if they are willing to embrace it, regardless of how long they have been addicted, how much they have used and what they have used.
 
 
Addicts create their own reality.
 
We know that because of their addiction, most addicts are unable to deal with the demands, pressures and obligations of life. So in order to cope and to satisfy the desire to have what they want, when they want, no matter who it hurts, addicted people create their own reality. In this world they are obligated to no one but themselves. They are right about everything. Everyone is wrong about anything that relates to them. Everyone else but them, is to blame for their troubles.
 
They attempt to keep their emotional state and mood at a constant high level by continuing to indulge in their addiction. Thus they continue to use drugs or alcohol and have come to the point where they are dependent on the alcohol or drugs to elevate their  mood to an acceptable or  “bearable” level. The addiction has taken control of them and very often they will engage in risky, certainly detrimental and sometimes criminal behavior. For instance, missing appointments and not showing up for work is common. Blowing off obligations and responsibilities to family and friends is common. Not taking care of their physical health or appearance is common. Spending excessive amounts of money and time indulging their addiction is common. Stealing and lying are also common. The addiction now owns them and controls them so that the only time they can feel calm and in control is when they are indulging in their addiction. The fact of the matter is their lives are spinning out of control and they no longer have control. Yet that is the irony and insidious nature of the disease, it distorts reality completely for those under its grip.
 
The addicted person’s reality is focused and anchored upon making sure that they are able to indulge their addictions at any and all costs, including physical, financial, spiritual, emotional, and relationship costs. Usually addicted people will suffer in every one of those areas as a result of their ongoing addiction. The sad reality that they are trapped in their addiction is now very clear to the addicted person however, usually, they will ignore this fact and continue spiraling downward in their addictive behavior. They are now literally engulfed by the addiction. It has become the only way of life they know, it is their default survival mechanism. It is what they live for and what they mistakenly believe is the only thing that gives them pleasure, control or peace. In fact they have completely lost touch with reality and their addiction has completely overtaken them. As sad as it is, this is an often necessary step to the recovery process. It is our hope and desire that we see the addicted person “hit bottom” as soon as possible, so that they have felt enough pain, and are willing to do what it takes to begin the recovery journey, which is the ONLY WAY to get back their true life and break free from the bondage and prison of addiction.
 
 
Clear Signs Of Addiction.
 
There are clear signs of addiction that are reflective of the addictive personality... one of them is the addicted person's indulgence in their addiction of choice whether it's drugs, alcohol, gambling or other addictive behavior. These behaviors are indulged in by the addict in order to escape the painful realities of life that cause the addict unhappiness. These are the same realities of life that someone who is not addicted would have no trouble handling, being a part of and enjoying. But for the addict, the everyday responsibilities and circumstances that make up "daily living" need to be avoided at all costs.
 
So the addicted person creates their own reality, their own world, where they are in charge. Their own world where there is no perceived and no responsibility. They create this only and often by indulging in their addiction of choice. Much to the dismay of family and friends, who see their life spiraling downward, the addicted person continues to indulge more and more in their addiction. We know that our bodies build up tolerance to addiction of choice. So that it takes up more of the drug,  or more alcohol or more gambling, for their addictive behavior to provide them with an acceptable amount of "relief" from life's issues.  Thus we see the alcoholic drinking more, the drug addict using more and the gambler gambling more. The tragic thing about addiction is that even though they use more they are unable to have the addiction make them feel as good as they did when they first started indulging their addiction, because now the addiction is no longer pleasurable, but in fact very painful to the addict themselves. It is painful emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically and affects every aspect of their life.  They are addicted… and they are unable to break free of this addictive behavior without embracing a recovery program. But first and most importantly they need to hit bottom. To come to the point in their own life where they are willing to accept the help that is available to them, that can show them the way,that can break them free of addiction.
 
The key to it, which is one of the great tragedies for loved ones of addicted people, is we can't choose it for them, they have to choose it themselves. They have to hit bottom and be willing to turn around and want a different way of life and be willing to do what it takes to get it. The better life is there...it exists…there is a road map and path to it through many suitable recovery programs. However the addict himself must choose to recover. I join you in praying that time has come for those you love who are struggling with addiction.
 
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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Believe it or not, and you should because it's true. Many of the causes of addiction are rooted in our childhood upbringing. That's not to say that genetics or environment are totally responsible for someone being addicted, although many addicts use this as an excuse and blame other people and circumstances for their own addiction, when in truth that is just an excuse to continue to indulge their addiction. There is no doubt that genetic and environmental factors can play a part in someone being predisposed to addiction, but that is not and cannot be used as an excuse for the person not to choose recovery. If someone had a heart attack we would not blame them for getting sick. But if after successful heart surgery or other treatment, their Doctor had prescribed a healthy diet and exercise routine that would keep them healthy the rest of their lives, and they purposely chose to ignore it, instead going back to bad eating and poor exercise, then we would definitely blame them for not choosing to be healthy. Because the path to health was there, they are just choosing to ignore it. It's the same with addiction. We do not blame people for becoming addicts, and we understand many times circumstances and issues from their childhood played in role in their susceptibility  to addiction However we do blame them (and should blame them) for not taking the necessary action to resolve these issues once they know that there is a problem and there is help available.

As a child we all had defense mechanisms built in us that helped us cope with life as children. These defense mechanisms (our thinking and the way our brain processed stuff) were very helpful and appropriate  to us as children, for at that time they helped us cope individually with the circumstances, reality, and experience of childhood. When you were a little baby your mother pushed you around in a stroller because you couldn't walk by yourself. Also when you were a young child you had diapers on, because you had not yet been toilet trained.  Now of course it would be absurd to see you walking down the street today as an adult being pushed in a stroller, or wearing diapers. Why? Because you have outgrown these things. Obviously they are no longer necessary. There was a time and place in your life when they were very necessary and they served a very important purpose. But you've outgrown them and they are no longer necessary. 

 Unfortunately in the lives of some addicts many of the psychological defense mechanisms that they had employed in their mind to help them deal and cope with the realities of life when they were young children have not been placed aside or discarded as they should have been. As well they have not been replaced with healthy, adult thinking. Instead of thanking these defense  mechanisms and thoughts for helping us when we needed them as a child and then discarding them as is appropriate for an adult, many addicted people still cling onto them and that is reflected in their addictive behavior. That's why we often see addict’s behavior as childish, selfish, and often think they are acting like a baby…because they are!

One of the great things that an addict will learn in the rehabilitation process (either in a rehab/treatment center or through therapy or possibly in a 12 step program but not as likely) is their own individual reasons for clinging on to these childhood defense mechanisms. They will be able to identify them, which was a critical step for me (I was shocked and surprised when I saw my own childhood defense mechanisms that I was holding onto as an adult) and now having understanding of these things, they will be able to make a choice to put these things aside and move forward and not continue to indulge in their addiction. The key to it is for the addicted person to see the truth and then they can decide what to do with it. Usually most people upon seeing the truth will choose to put aside the past and move forward to a productive, happy, and joyful life. I believe this is a critical piece to an addict’s recovery, and makes for the most successful path to addiction recovery because it is truly a path to freedom. 

While there are some people who can overcome their addictive behavior and stop indulging in their addictive behavior without this knowledge and information about how the mind works (what they think and why, in other words understanding the basic traits of all addicts and why addicts think and behave as they do), I don't believe that type of recovery, one of abstinence without finding true peace and happiness, is the best type of recovery. I believe the type of recovery that shows us the truth and allows us to choose freedom and gives us freedom is definitely the way to go. That comes from learning about yourself with the help of others who can show you the way. I pray that is the choice your addicted loved one will make. It was a life- saving and life changing choice for me.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Obviously the first key to recovery is admitting you have a problem. People who do not think they have a problem will not seek help. However the first phase of recovery, (after you have admitted there is a problem) is to focus on a few primary areas. First, make sure that your primary concern is abstinence, not using drugs or alcohol. You have to focus on the things you need to do to make sure that you do not return to old behaviors and triggers that cause you to use drugs and alcohol again. In addition, we want you to start to get educated and gain new knowledge of what addiction is and the effects it causes. Knowledge is power, knowledge is wisdom, with knowledge comes understanding and the ability to change. Then we also want you to begin to learn refusal and coping skills, so you can use these skills to learn to deal with the stress and situations around you that previously had you running to indulge your addictions. 

The first phase of recovery can seem overwhelming, but in reality it is not. Just think of it as if you were learning a new language and you heard these foreign words the first time. Of course they seem foreign to you at first because you don't know what they mean or how to use them. It's the same with addiction recovery. Yet as you go and learn, you become familiar with the meanings of the words and you gain understanding. Soon you are speaking a new language, in our case living a new life of recovery. It becomes a natural, reflex action. Then you get all the benefits from it!  

The beginning  of the recovery journey (Phase 1 as I like to call it)  is an exciting phase for those hungry and broken and seeking a better way of life, because they want the information, knowledge and tools necessary to overcome their addiction. For those who do not want to deal with their addiction problem and have not or will not admit their addiction is a problem, Phase 1 is often difficult and full of conflicts, because they are still resisting getting sober. They have not let go of their addiction, they had not surrendered it, it still controls them and they still wish to indulge in it. 

It’s not enough to tell addicts that recovery is a better way of life. We must show them how it works. Just as it’s not enough to tell me the computer is a good tool and can make my life easier. You have to teach me how it works for me to get the full benefit of it. It’s the same with recovery.

Now remember, you can have all the information and knowledge you need, but if you don't use it, it's worthless. You get no benefit from it.  So the bottom line is it’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do. I will often tell addicted people I am helping that they shouldn't make any promises to their loved ones, friends or employers regarding their stopping their addictions. Why? Because those promises carry no weight anymore. The addicted person has made many promises and has failed to live up to most, if not all of them. Their friends and loved ones and families won’t believe the words anyway. What the friends, families, and loved ones will believe, is seeing a changed life, based on the new actions and behavior of the addicted person. 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Over the course of this last year, I really learned about my power and a power greater than myself.  A little over nine months ago I was promising my wife in tears that I would never touch heroin or anything else again.  I meant it with all of my heart and soul.  A lie detector test would have proved me to be telling the truth. 

I had just gotten out of a detox and had exchanged numbers with one of the other patients. He called me to come pick him up for a meeting that same evening. So, no problems, right? I tell my wife I’m picking up another addict to go to a meeting.  The guy gets in my car and has two loaded syringes ready… there was no second thought.  Within moments, I was high.  This after truly believing I would never use again.  That’s my power.  I really learned the definition of powerlessness that night.

After that, there was two weeks of hotels and living in my car and then ending up in another detox.  Then two half-way houses.  Many of us have been through these journeys.  This was definitely not the first time. I had about five years clean and sober in the past, but for the last five years I’d been struggling to put time together.  I had been in countless detoxes, half-houses, and rehabs.  I just could not stay stopped.  That obsession always dogged me.  It was the devil.

It was not until the second half-way house that something amazing and profound happened. Although, I was sleeping on the floor, there were ten other guys, there were roaches…  There was a lot to complain about, something just struck me.  I was in the shower praying because that is about the only place I could get some peace.   

While praying I felt a total peace and then I just felt broken.  It was as though I was letting everything out.  All of my sorrow, pain, and despair… I was giving over to God.  That day, I stepped out of that shower a free man.  Everything was not going to be alright.  Everything was alright! I felt joy.  I’d not felt joy in five long years.  To this day too, with action, the obsession is gone.  It was a cleansing and an awakening.  My wife even saw something different and after time I moved home.   

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Top Ten Tips for Addiction Recovery

By Erika Cormier

 

Addiction recovery can be a long and complicated process. However, there are several tips to make the journey to long-term sobriety easier:

Work with a treatment specialist or treatment center to get the help and support you need to recover.

Treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs generally requires professional help to overcome the entrenched habits and behavior patterns of addiction.  Begin with a therapist and explore the addiction treatment options for your unique needs.

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