ADDICTION, not an easy topic to discuss as it’s not usually brought up around the dinner table or at the neighborhood BBQ. It’s a topic we deny within ourselves and for those around the addicted are usually enabling by evading the bad behaviors with silence hoping they will just go away, someday. Addiction, for many years, was considered a moral and ethical issue where the majorities without a classified addiction believed the inflicted actually had the capability to stop their behavior at any given moment on their own. Did you know addiction actually became a classified medical disease around 50 years ago?
Here the American Society of Addiction Medicine gives a short definition of what is now known as the disease of addiction… a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
When one finally has the courage to admit there is a problem it’s usually considered to be alcohol or non-prescribed drugs. But we cannot leave out sex, gambling, food, shopping and the addiction to money. We even use social media to seek reward. Addiction is tricky; it’s not just about the ingesting of a substance. I believe, we are reaching for the convenience of “things” outside of ourselves pursuing a quick reward to feel better so that we can turn away from the real inner problems.
As a species, we crave connection. We’re getting caught up in the use of social media for our “perceived” personal interaction. Let’s face it, we are fooling ourselves and it’s changing our brains. As studies have shown when we hit “like” on the facebook post a dopamine release happens serving as a reward which is confusing us to believe we are actually connecting through the wifi. It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s quick. We get the rush and we move on. I don’t know about you but when I get on Facebook time flies by and I’ve totally distracted myself for an hour or two!
But this is a limited and short term release and then later we go back to the outer reality and the unhappiness of our inner reality. So we are actually placing the distraction before making an actual deeper connection with ourselves or others. This distraction is taking away time to be with our own self which would inevitably help the inner problems to eventually go away. I see it all the time with my clients who are really craving the need for a true connection. Distraction is the real addiction. We justify the behaviors of convenience. We miss out on opportunities to actually deepen our relationships.
When treating addiction we consider it a Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual disorder, so we have to look at every aspect of life and treat from a whole person perspective. This is a misconceived idea by many who are not educated around the topic and believe healing is just removing the substance out of one’s life. We know there is no “cookie cutter” method or program that works for everyone and I see the treatment field transitioning out of “old school” teachings moving into a more “new school” belief and approach. Neuroscience is coming into main stream with more options in helping by providing the knowledge we can couple treatment with ancient learnings of mindfulness, meditation and even energy work to help those suffering. Every individual is unique in their learning of how to become a whole person again. The addicted just need to learn it’s ok to just be and it’s ok to be authentic. So, shop around to find the help that’s right for you.
Ask yourself what are the things I want to work on? What am I finding that resonates with me that would best serve me? Start by asking your higher-self for answers. I promise a higher intelligence will show up and step in with different healing options. It may feel overwhelming at first and you may feel lost, but trust me, you can’t go wrong when you are trying to rediscover who you are and what you need… from meditation to medication
Rediscovering YOU and realigning with better behaviors will lead you down a very different path then where you are today. So be open, be a sponge towards a “new life” and just see what is out there.
Try all sorts of things; you never know what might be the one thing that really clicks. I can tell you this; everything you try… are ALL working… even if you don’t think that last one you tried did. There is always something to be gained out of each life experience, so keep experiencing, the next one could be the one that got you ready… the next on could work exactly the way you were hoping.
To learn more about a safe and effective addiction recovery alternative, call Anne Ferguson, Certified Addiction Counselor and Higher Brain Living Practitioner at (612) 865-0281