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Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

          When I first walked through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous I had no idea what to expect. Though quickly I was able to see what worked in others -  a belief in and dependence upon God.  As Bill once said "Would I have it? Of course I would."

          The Sixth Step of the program of  Alcoholics Anonymous is "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."  We learn through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous that alcohol is but a symptom of our true malady, our true malady is in fact self-centered fear. We are afraid we are not going to get what we want, afraid that we are going to lose what we have.  Once our fears are triggered we reach for our character defects in an attempt to satiate our human instincts.  The dictionary defines defect as, "the lack of something necessary for completion or perfection."

          We learn in the Fourth Step of the program that it is necessary to find out what it is about us that keeps the Grace of God from our lives. It is in doing this that we discover the exact nature of our wrongs, as we make the list of our defects. In the Fifth Step of the program we confess our character defects.  Then, in the Sixth Step, we are entirely ready and willing to have these defects removed.

          It is our character defects that keep us from the perfection of God - from becoming the human being God created each of us to be and not the self-centered people who care only for their human desires and what they think they need in life.  A person who is willing to use almost any means necessary to fulfill their desires is sick.

          With all of our human flaws we can become the being God created us to be when we turn from our human nature and surrender to His will.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction


It is through all our experience with our character defects that we've realized and recognized, set boundaries and applied cognitive therapy and behavioral modification but all to no avail - using these methods is like applying a band aid to a festering sore. What we really must do is get to the root of the problem. Our character defects exist in our human nature, not in the will of God. Therefore, if we are willing to perform the work necessary for the Spirit to be awakened within us by living in the back half of The Eleventh Step, "Praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out" (Alcoholics Anonymous) , our character defects will not and cannot possibly manifest in our behaviors. The power to carry out such knowledge must come from God, as our human nature will only try to sustain our selfish desires. Once we have taken this step we have pulled the root of the problem from it's poisonous soils.

          Some of us have learned through our experiences that we must do this - turn from our human nature and live in the will of God - if our character defects are not to exist in our behavior. Many of us have not.  In Alcoholics Anonymous it is often said, "Let go and let God."  The "let go" part is in the letting go of our thought process propelled by our human instincts. The "let God" part is thereafter, in which we surrender to the idea that God will propel our thought process through His inspiration.  Inspiration is defined as "the thoughts of God implanted in the mind and soul of man."  When this transformation of thought has occurred, the root of the problem has truly been healed.         



Posted by on in Drug Addiction

What is Drug Abuse?


Almost every person who is addicted to drugs first began by abusing drugs. Abusing drugs is defined as “intentional misuse, overuse, or habitual taking of legal or illegal drugs.” With illegal drug abuse often occurs fairly fast. As the user begins to use more their tolerance increases and they require more of the substance to get ‘high’. The drug abuse may begin as a once a week occurrence and escalate to a few times a week, then becoming a daily habit. In the case of legal drugs, such as alcohol and prescription medications, the drug usage often begins moderate and may stay that way for long periods of time before reaching the abuse stage. Alcohol abuse occurs when the person starts drinking more than a mild amount, drinking to intoxication and drinking more often than usual. The CDC defines alcohol abuse as “the misuse of alcohol; drinking over 5 drinks per day.” People usually fall into prescription pill abuse through a valid prescription from the doctor. The drug abuse begins when the person begins taking the pills more frequently than prescribed or taking more pills than prescribed. When this occurs, the person often goes to get more prescriptions, extra refills, or buys the pills off the streets. All of the forms of drug abuse described have a common theme, it involves an intentional misuse or overuse of a substance to bring about intoxication or get high. People abusing drugs may even require detox or medication to come off of the drugs.

What is Drug Addiction?


Psychologists define drug addiction as a physical dependency and/or a mental obsession towards using a certain substance. In earlier posts I have defined how people with addiction become addicted to drugs; through the dopamine reward pathways and pleasure center of the brain. Basically, the brain becomes used to the chemicals and actions that the drugs have on the brain. Eventually, with chronic use, the brain starts to become dependent on the drugs and stop producing its own natural chemicals. That is why when the addicted person stops they go into withdrawals, since their brain is not producing the chemicals naturally. Most people with addiction also have a mental obsession towards the drug. This means that they spend large amounts of time and energy a.) thinking about using the drug b.) finding or obtaining the drug c.) using and intoxicated by the drug. When forced to go long periods without the drug, the addicted person often becomes irritable and thinks about the next time they will get to use.

So What’s the Difference?



Posted by on in Drug Addiction
Losing Our Identity Discover

Addiction often robs people of almost everything; their freedom, finances, relationships, respect, health, sanity, etc. An often overlooked consequence of addiction is the loss of the addicted person’s interest in hobbies, sports, and other leisure activities. In active addiction, drugs and alcohol become a priority and many of the things we enjoyed before addiction are ignored. People who have been abusing drugs and alcohol for many years often can’t even remember what they used to do for fun without the alcohol and drugs. Sobriety is about self-actualization, finding out what activities and hobbies you enjoy and incorporating healthy things into daily living.

Self-Discovery in Recovery

In Florida as a teenager, before my addiction took over, I enjoyed many outdoor activities and played a handful of sports. From an early age I enjoyed fishing and my family always seemed to live on a lake. As I grew up I realized my love for the game of tennis and played year-round throughout high school. When I discovered drugs and alcohol my passion for my previous interests disappeared slowly. I began playing tennis and fishing less, and instead staying out late and partying more. As my addiction worsened, my interest in hobbies and sports diminished. Towards the end of my drinking and drug using I hardly spent any time outdoors or exercised. My life consisted of taking college classes and coming home to drink and drug. I watched much television and played video games while intoxicated, but they could hardly be called hobbies. It was just a means to pass the time and distract myself from the dark reality my life had become.
Getting sober I was worried how I was going to fill up my days and avoid boredom. I was accustomed to spending all my free time getting drunk and high. I had to begin a process of self-discovery, finding out what my real interests and passions were. Quickly I found that I still had a passion for fishing and it became a great sober activity for me to relax. I tried playing tennis, but the spark was gone and it only brought me frustration. Reading books and stories is another area of my life that continues to grow and benefit me in recovery. Over the years I have uncovered many interests of mine that I never knew existed. For instance, I discovered that I greatly enjoyed card games and board games with friends and family. Camping, canoeing, and hiking has also become another pleasurable activity for me in sobriety. Getting connected with nature and being outdoors humbles me and calms my mind and spirit. Today I try to keep an open mind when trying a new activity or hobby, because it may become a favorite of mine.

Staying Open-Minded

All people have different interests and personalities, the things I mentioned above may not interest you. The point I am trying to make is that sobriety gives us a chance to re-invent ourselves to an extent. If you are willing to try new things and step out of your comfort zone, often you will be rewarded in some way. Maybe take a photography or art class for something you always wished you could do. Possibly find a used guitar or instrument that you have wanted to learn to play. It is never too late to begin learning, practicing, or enjoying something new. In sobriety it is easy to fill our time watching mindless television or sleep, but what are we missing out on? I challenge anyone newly sober to make an effort to give some new hobbies or activities a chance and realize that it’s truly possible to teach an old dog new tricks.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

As it is often said in the addiction treatment profession, there is a clear separation between abstinence and sobriety. Abstinence can be defined simply as physical free from mind-altering substances. Abstinence doesn’t address behaviors, emotions, mental health, etc. It just means that the person is free of drugs/alcohol. Sobriety includes abstinence, but also encompasses much more than just stopping drinking or abusing drugs. Read and find out why sobriety is the more rewarding and effective method to stopping addiction, and why abstinence is just the bare minimum solution.

Is Abstinence Enough?

In our addiction, many addicts and alcoholics develop unhealthy or negative habits and patterns that go beyond the drugs/alcohol. Perhaps we become dishonest, self-seeking, or reckless. We may say things or do something at the expense of others. The point is that we develop personality traits and behavioral patterns that are not directly a result of addiction. These character defects and selfish tendencies become part of our daily life. We may use them to get what we want or manipulate others. The emotions and feelings of others are cast aside in order to maintain our drug/alcohol habit and lifestyle.

Quitting drugs/alcohol will not completely remove the negative and selfish habits from our addiction. Some people think that when they put down the drugs, they will become this wonderful and admirable person. This is often not the case. In fact, sometimes those negative habits and tendencies get worse when a person stops using drugs. Why is this? During our addiction we used drugs or alcohol for many reasons; to escape, numb emotions, relax, find relief, etc. Once we stop the drugs/alcohol, our greatest coping mechanism (our addiction) has disappeared. Simply, we don’t have the experience, resources, or ability to handle life’s problems and stresses. Without substances to find comfort in, a person may resort to dishonesty, verbal abuse, anger, over-eating, compulsive shopping, co-dependency, etc. to find relief from the realities of life. Abstinence is not enough because it does not replace drugs and alcohol with a solution to face and handle life in a healthy way. On the other hand, sobriety is about finding a new way of living to replace our old life in addiction.

Sobriety: A New Way of Living

The main difference between abstinence and sobriety is that the latter includes a program for self-growth and actualization. Sobriety comes in many different shapes and sizes. There are recovery groups and therapy. These are both great ways to continue to learn about yourself and to get support from others who care about you. There are also other ways to get involved in sobriety, such as searching for spirituality and learning how to meditate. Even simple things such as exercise and reading can help replace some of those negative habits with healthy new habits. Sobriety is about learning how to be a good friend, a loving son or daughter, and a real member of society. Sobriety is about learning how to deal with emotions like pain, embarrassment, disappointment and emerging stronger afterwards. Living life sober, we are given a new lease on life and we have the chance to dramatically change our path. If you are just abstaining from drugs/alcohol and are not actively living sobriety, you are missing out on the true rewards of recovery.

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