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Can Addiction be "Cured"

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by longhornfan1 longhornfan1 (Member)

longhornfan1 specializes in Acute/ICU/LTC/Advocate/Hospice/HH/.

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You are reading page 25 of Can Addiction be "Cured". If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

DolceVita is a BSN, RN and specializes in Correctional Nursing.

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I could really use some feedback from someone who is not allergic to ETOH. How did I go through all the struggles in my life like I did and never have the desire to drown my feelings in drugs or alcohol? Why did I become addicted to lortab after I had my tonsils out? It hurt alot, I needed pain relief. But I kept taking them after I quit hurting. That is the chemical addiction. Which lead me to experimenting with stronger drugs like morphine and demerol. The chemical addiction drove my inability to abstain, drove me to "see what it would feel like" with morphine IM. So, providing I don't expose my body to the chemicals that caused the addiction initially, then my mind can make the obvious and correct choice to abstain? Right? I just believe that preventing the chemical addiction will allow the mental desire to stay sober take over. Dumb?

I wonder if it occurred to you that you used other coping mechanisms until you found a chemical one? Perhaps you even used quite healthy coping mechanisms so I am NOT saying dry drunk.

A very wise man in my first home group used to say that drugs (including alcohol) were the easier, softer way. It made sense to me because when I found alcohol it just worked. I didn't have to expend the same effort as I did before to deal with stuff -- I had alcohol. More healthy coping behaviors took sustained effort and I just couldn't be bothered. I called it "letting off steam" and "letting my hair down". With my new chemical coping mechanism in place, there was never any active choice for me to use alcohol. I was like water and I took the path of least resistance.

Maybe something similar happened with you?

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jackstem specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,.

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So, providing I don't expose my body to the chemicals that caused the addiction initially, then my mind can make the obvious and correct choice to abstain? Right? I just believe that preventing the chemical addiction will allow the mental desire to stay sober take over. Dumb?

Not dumb. It's known as "addictive thinking". For an excellent discussion of this phenomena, read the book titled, amazingly enough, "Addictive Thinking", written by Abraham Twerski, MD.

Read the information regarding the biochemistry of the disease of addiction. It explains much of how it is addicts/alcoholics( the same thing, simply a different drug of choice) fail to see their own decline as the disease progresses, and how it is that addicts seem to be incapable of learning from the crazy things they do when under the influence (hard to learn when the part of your brain necessary for learning doesn't function normally as a result of genetics and mood altering chemicals). If all it took was to abstain from the chemicals, why would people who abstain struggle with remaining abstinent?

At the current level of understanding from the extensive research over the past 25+ years, the brain of the addict is significantly different than the non-addict, chemically and structurally. But, since we lack the ability to predict who will become the addict, we are stuck studying the brains of those with active addiction, leading to a dilemma...is the addict's brain lacking something at birth and addiction occurs as a result of the missing something? Or, is the addict genetically predisposed to have the disease triggered when the right substance, in the right amount, under the right circumstances? Based on everything I've read in the 19 years since my disease became active, I think it's the latter.

Based on my experience dealing with my disease, I know that my brain has been altered. There are certain foods I used to enjoy that I can no longer eat. There are certain places that can cause me to have "flashbacks"...vivid recall of times when I used. Songs, smells, textures can do the same thing. That recall isn't nearly as powerful as it was in the first months and even years of my journey of recovery, but it still can occur. If I'm not prepared for that, I can actually have thoughts and cravings recur. Having a group of other recovering individuals who I can call on when those "things" happen can assist me in getting through those times. Recovery is learning to accept that I have the disease, learn the triggers that are specific to me, and learning to deal with those triggers when they occur. And interestingly, research has shown that the brain of a documented recovering addict of over 20 years is STILL activated by sights, sounds and smells associated with their drug use. If they were "cured", their brain wouldn't react to those cues.

I have a question for you. Would you have this "debate" if you were diagnosed with diabetes? While strict diet, exercise, and close monitoring of blood sugar and appropriate use of insulin can signficantly reduce the adverse effects of the disease, right now we aren't able to cure a diabetic. Would you "struggle" with that realization? Would you argue with others about whether your diabetes could be cured? If the answer is no, why is it so devastating to realize you have a disease that alters your brain and the way you think and feel? And by avoiding the non-medical use of mood altering substances, attending meetings where you share your struggles in dealing with living life without the use of chemicals, you can actually keep your disease in remission. Why is that so "unacceptable"? This unwillingness to accept addiction as a disease that is incurable is baffling to me. If anyone can explain it so it makes sense, I'd really be grateful.

Jack

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arelle68 specializes in Mental and Behavioral Health.

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i have an addict's brain. there is a desperation in me. an emptiness. it feels like it will swallow me up alive.

there are times when i feel so desperate for some kind of comfort. any kind of comfort. i feel so bad, that i would do almost anything to feel better. even a little bit better for just a little while.

i have to have some relief. have to have. i'm so glad i've found it: jesus.

what i really need is love. i need love to feel secure and happy. i've found love. not a human relationship that i could lose through death or divorce, but loving and being loved by someone i can not lose. i've found the source of eternal love: jesus.

what i really need is joy. i need joy to give me strength to bear the difficulties of life. i've found joy. not happiness that may come and go with the ebb and flow of life, but joy like an bubbling fountain in my soul. i've found the source of the fountain of joy: jesus.

what i really need is peace. i need peace to rest my heart and mind. i've found peace. not the peace that only stays when everything is calm in my life, but peace that will never leave me nor forsake me. i've found the peace of god: jesus.

so, when there is a desperation in me. an emptiness. it feels like it will swallow me up alive. and, when i feel desperate for some kind of comfort. any kind of comfort. when i feel so bad, that i would do almost anything to feel better. even a little bit better for just a little while...

i remember that jesus told me that his father was going to send his holy spirit, and that the holy spirit was going to be my comforter, and that the fruit of that spirit would be love, joy, and peace. not a bottle, not a pill, not a needle, not a human relationship. jesus!

i have an addict's brain. i have the same life-destroying human weakness that so many people have. i still have the need. i have the son of god. i have the life-giving supernatural strength that only comes from god. the difference between me, and any other addict is: i've found something to fill up the hole in my soul. jesus! as long as i have jesus, i have what i need: love, joy, and peace!

Edited by arelle68

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geekgolightly is a BSN, RN and specializes in MICU, neuro, orthotrauma.

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Geek, have you really ever been around a "real" binge drinker? Maybe you have, but it sounds like you haven't. Really. No offense,, but I have. And it is not just a few drinks, and it is NOT just drunk,,, just a few times a year.

TO me,, and I may be wrong on this one... but to me, a binge drinker is one that takes the drinking into another day.... He/she's drinking one night, having fun,, and wakes up the next morning and starts drinking again.

I grew up with an alcoholic father, thank God Almighty he has been sober for ten years. When he would go on his "drunks" as my mom would call it,,, he'd leave for weeks. Eventually we knew where to go and find him. On "skid row" as it is called in Houston. We'd find him sitting outside of an old honky tonk/beer store with other "Hobo's" just living it up. Drunk as all get out. Homeless. And this is a man that was very educated, his salary was in the six figures each year, back in the 80's and 90's. But still,, he would stay drunk for days/weeks on end. Until finally he got so old that he almost killed himself doing it.

THAT IS BINGE DRINKING.

I'm sorry, but just a few drinks, and getting drunk just a few times a year,, to me is not binge drinking.

But, like you said, getting drunk as a skunk,, with kids around,, that is bad. I just don't know if I would call it binge drinking if it only happened a few times a year. Maybe that's just me.

You've been AROUND a binge drinker, I have BEEN the binge drinker. I know this perspective very well. And I grew up in Houston, just as an aside, and if he called Montrose skid row, your father and I have probably hung out at the same places.

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24 Posts; 1,492 Profile Views

Hi there!

In my experience with this topic, I feel that addiction is much related to wanting to control the feelings we have, to change them according to the way we want to feel. It seems like you asked yourself "Why am I doing this" (like when you mentioned that tonsil pain was gone, but you used anyway.) By the way, my drug of choice was ETOH, and although I suffered extreme health complications (no legals- thank God) I drank anyway. I was preoccupied with it 24-7 and enjoyed the feelings that you described using opiates. And those feelings are entirely real, wheather they came from the drug itself and it's direct effects or the feeling of control from being able to escape from what you are truly not wanting to feel. Sometimes to me, it was just that I'd rather not feel at all, then I could get out of myself and survive on that numbness and never get hurt. Trust me, this I understand.

You have a family history of pain (abuse, addiction etc.) so yes, there is a good chance that your body was chemically set up to produce a high that may or may not be the same effects that others feel when taking certain drugs and drinking. Nonetheless, I think that if we are aware of these things and have been informed of certain predispositions, then we have a choice (like was stated in an earlier entry) as long as we are sober/ out of our addiction state (not using, or in a mental relapse or whatever). I personally had to do the 12 steps, make daily "gratitude lists" (even if they are just little notes to self in my head) and constantly remind myself to do the "next best right thing always". You'll be amazed how this takes the focus off of you and reminds you of how lucky you are to be you, which was something that I forgot during my addiction.

The other thing I grabbed onto is something I read in one of the posts above... "once an addict, always an addict". It's true; I found other addictions, (although less destructive) that I engaged in. Saying this, I can guarantee that if I had allowed them to be, they could have become as destructive as my drinking was, and I luckily had the knowledge and the experience of my AA group (and God) to help me recognize them and halt them in their tracks.

They say that our use is "but a symptom" of our disease, and I truly believe this. I heard one guy say at a meeting: "My problem is me, not the alcohol, I am addicted to self". I thought he was crazy at first, but it is entirely true. When I am focused on me and what I want constantly, or in a chronic state of the "poor me syndrome" I am unable to see the real issue. I am of little use to myself or anyone else. It's our way of self protecting, just like when we studied mental illness in school- (not that we are mentally ill) but we fall somewhere on that continuum of disease and when we are sober, we have the ability to beat it, or let it beat us.

It sounds like you have taken a lot of positive steps in your recovery and are seeking out help, even by writing this post. Don't ever underestimate the power of God (higher power or whatever) and his ability to work through other people to help you. I believe addiction is a spiritual malidy, and a psychological state of ill health with physiological symptoms. So wheather of not that constitutes disease, I am grateful today that I can talk to others about my feelings, and that I have the choice to do the "next best right thing". Good luck to all who have come through this and chose to live life as well as those who still suffer.:)

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59 Posts; 1,878 Profile Views

I could compare addiction to a lifelong struggle of eating junk food & keeping off the weight. I mean it's always a conscious decision whether to do it or not & you have to live with the struggle. You have to employ certain techniques to help you avoid this urges.

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