If you’re concerned you may be suffering from alcoholism…if you find yourself thinking about the next drink, the next cop, or the next score…if your days and nights are spent thinking about pills, lines, joints, caps, dippers, or which local cocktail lounge has the best two-for-one special…you’ve got a problem.
If you’re at the point where you can finally admit that you’re addicted and things could actually be out of control, you’re ready to face the realities and the challenges of overcoming what is actually a disease.
The first thing you need to accept is that your alcoholism or your addiction to drugs has nothing to do with any personal failing of character, moral weakness, or lack of will. You may be out of control, but your moral fiber is not the reason why.
Your dependence is fundamentally a chemical and behavioral adaptation to the very powerful addictive qualities of the drugs or alcohol that suppress your body chemistry while artificially stimulating your brain’s internal “pleasure circuits.” Your brain may be easily fooled by the drugs (and that includes alcohol, which is itself a powerful drug), because they mimic your body’s natural “pleasure messengers and receptors.” The drugs are actually able to deceive the brain’s reward centers and create a physical and psychological reflex adaptation known as addiction.
If you’re ready to do the work of overcoming your addiction, it’s time to do away with the popular misconceptions and myths about alcoholism and drug dependence.
- Myth #1: Alcohol is not a drug. Not true. Alcohol is indeed a powerful drug. When you’re addicted to it, withdrawal from alcohol can be even more challenging than kicking drugs.
- Myth #2: It just takes enough willpower to control alcohol or drug use. Not true. Our chemical reaction to alcohol or drugs becomes programmed into our brain’s pleasure centers memory, strongly affecting reasoning processes and diminishing our abilities of rational control.
- Myth #3: Addicts and alcoholics have no control over their lives. Not true. The underlying difficulty is drug and alcohol use itself…which often leads to control issues in other areas of life. Once the drugs and alcohol are brought under control, the rest of life becomes much more easily managed and enjoyable.
- Myth #4: Alcohol consumption is a normal part of everyday life. Not true. Advertising, mass media propaganda, and widespread social customs promulgate the message that alcohol consumption is expected of us all. The reality is that 6% of the population consumes 50% of the alcohol sold in the U.S. Fully 20% of Americans drink no alcohol at all.
- Myth #5: Other people or a bad relationship can make you lose control. Not true. Addicts only lose control over their drinking or drugs use because of internal chemical imbalances and repetitive subconscious programming through repetitive artificial stimulation of our brain’s “pleasure” mechanisms. Other people actually have no influence over the addiction process; only the drugs themselves create the addiction.
If you’re addicted to either drugs or alcohol, you’re suffering from a physical disease no different from someone afflicted with arthritis or stomach ulcers. Our brains are always in “survival mode,” and when our pleasure centers react to drugs or alcohol, the brain’s normal chemistry is altered. We wind up with a physical compulsion that trains the mind to habitually seek stimulation of our brain’s neurological pleasure center. Before long, we’ve lost our physical and psychological ability to control alcohol or drug intake, or to rationally interpret the effects and consequences suffered by minds and bodies imposed by their use.
If you’ve got the “habit” of using drugs or alcohol to “feel better,” you may well be truly addicted.
Give us a call. We can talk it all over quietly, and together we’ll find your personal path to a much happier and more fulfilling life.
Your recovery starts today at Santa Barbara’s Recovery Road Medical Center.