25 Oct Mind-altering Substances | Addiction
Addiction is often characterized as the use of mind-altering substances. However addiction includes both substances and behaviours. In today’s culture, alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, porn and sex are readily available.
“Addiction is the repeated involvement with a substance or activity, despite the substantial harm it now causes, because that involvement was
(and may continue to be) pleasurable and/or valuable.”
Nobody wants to believe that they are an addict. And although we often talk about denial, not many people understand what it means. Denial in a nutshell means refusing to admit the truth or reality of something. Perhaps it would be easier to understand denial as a means of avoiding confrontation. Confronting the very things that we do not want to see, the things we do not want to acknowledge and the things we do not want to accept.
Although for many suffering from addiction they are aware of their behaviours and issues, subconsciously they ignore the severity of it. Accepting we have a problem and confronting the problem is scary and challenging. There are many different reasons people pick up, some people describe their first experiences as sheer exploration, or peer pressure, whilst others find that they use to deal and cope with their lack of confidence, with stress, with anxiety and depression.
Addiction is better understood by the frequency and consequences of using, rather than the type or amount being consumed, and of course, the inability to stop. People from all over the world are struggling with addiction, there is no cultural divide. Many people are using substances, food and relationships as a way of altering their mood. How do you know when you are in over your head?
The first step states that “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It makes sense that the first step to resolving any problem, requires the recognition and realization that we have one. Taking this first step and admitting you have a problem with addiction requires strength and courage and is the foundation for recovery and change.
The following questions are posed to help you start asking yourself the difficult question of whether you have a problem with addiction.
Do you find that you need more of the drug of choice to experience the same effect that you once felt? Have you built up tolerance in your drug of choice?
Do you use to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms such as shaking, nausea, restlessness, insomnia and anxiety?
Do you find yourself using more often than you planned? Breaking promises or boundaries that you have set in place to help you control your using?
Do you find that you keep using even though it is causing problems in your life?
Do you find yourself neglecting responsibilities?
Do you find yourself using drugs/alcohol/ food or sex even though it puts yourself or others at risk?
Have you ceased to do activities that you used to enjoy?
Are you experiencing any legal troubles?
Are you experiencing problems in your relationships?
3) The cycle of obsession and compulsion
Many people find themselves locked in the cycle of addiction and feel that they have no way out. It is important to understand addiction as a cycle as it helps us realise that we are not bad, that we are not horrible people, but that we are caught in a never ending sequence of events, and in this we get to admit that we have a problem. That we have an illness that needs treatment.
One of the aspects that many people do not understand is that addiction does not start and end in the behaviours. The behaviours are simply the symptom of the illness, they are a result of the obsession of the mind. Finding yourself thinking about your drug of choice, craving, feeling desperate without it is more than satisfying a physical need. The obsession is part of the very problem that we at Oasis try to help our clients gain freedom from.
Do you find that your life revolves around drugs?
Are you constantly thinking about drugs and how to obtain them?
Do you find that you stuck in a cycle of obsession and compulsion?
If you have answered yes to the questions above, it may be time to start accepting that you may have a problem with addiction. Once you’ve recognized that you’re in over your head, it’s always a good idea to be honest with yourself and with someone else about the problem you are facing.
“This is hard, this is not what I wanted. This is not what I dreamed of. But, it IS. Nothing about addiction is easy. It is a devastating disease. I can make it worse, or I can face it head on. Eyes wide open and make it not worse. This is what I can control.”
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