Stopping the abuse of drugs and alcohol is something more complicated than most people are aware of. Those who are not addicted have the luxury of stopping and starting whenever they want. Those who are addicted cannot stop once they start because of the allergy of the body and the obsession of the mind that completely takes them over. Unless you have an addiction, you can never really understand the complexity of what happens once you take that first drink or drug.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous addresses the comments and questions that make people skeptical of why an addicted person does not stop even when their consequences bear too big of a burden for them. Page 20 states:
“How many times people have said to us: “I can take it or leave it alone. Why can’t he?” “Why don’t you drink like a gentleman or quit?” “That fellow can’t handle his liquor.” “Why don’t you try beer and wine?” “Lay off the hard stuff.” “His will power must be weak.” “He could stop if he wanted to.” “She’s such a sweet girl, I should think he’d stop for her sake.” “The doctor told him that if he ever drank again it would kill him, but there he is all lit up again.”
Basically, they cannot fathom that if the ramifications are more than what they can handle, why would they not decide to end their sprees? This concept is probably the most baffling part of addiction which is excellently explicated on page 24 in the Big Book.
“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.”
An addiction centers around the mind including the physical aspects that persist from withdrawal. The main objective for ending the hostage situation that pursues from drug and alcohol abuse is to change the thinking which surrounds the addiction. Without understanding the full magnitude of what happens mentally and bodily, a person stubbornly will probably not concede to their innermost self that they are addicted and that they need a defense against that first drug or drink.
Learn about addiction
You may think that the behavior that you display under the influence is what everyone does. If you are drinking every day, putting drugs and alcohol before everything else, drinking and driving, losing the things that matter the most, blacking out, passing out, or anything that is putting yourself in danger in any sort of capacity, you may not understand the degree of your substance abuse. Educating yourself on what happens to the body, mind, and soul once you take that first hit or that first drink is important to recognize what you are doing to yourself. Going to recovery meetings and listening to what happened to others is a good way to relate them and understand that you are not weird or a bad person. You have a disease that tells you do not have a disease and wants to keep you hostage. Learning how to have power over your addiction instead of letting it have power over you is key.
Learn about “the why”
Without the full range of recognizing why you pick up mind-altering substances, you will continue to use them to cope when life gets tough, or when life is boring, and even when life is full of happiness. Pinpointing the reasons why you use alcohol or drugs is important for cessation. Although the allergy of the body and the obsession of the mind are what cause you to keep using and drinking, distinguishing the reasons that make you believe being under the influence is the solution is crucial to identify. Staying sober is dependent on knowing what makes you tick when emotions of every kind happen especially when your past trauma is triggered. Working through this pain and knowing “your why” is critical in maintaining your sobriety.
Learn about “your how”
Now that you have started and cannot stop, you may be wondering how your addiction will ever end. Cessation may be scary for you to think about because drugs and alcohol now define your whole life. You drink and use to stop the withdrawals, to feel better, to cope, and end your fear, so what will you do now? The best thing you can do is start implementing addiction recovery into your life. You may grasp that this process will be really difficult at times and will make you dig deep, but realistically, trying to maintain your tolerance or prevent yourself from getting sick from withdrawal takes up wasted time which could be better served by putting more of that effort into your recovery.
Getting sober by going to meetings, attending therapy, and working the 12-Steps can make the difference in your life and give you back the joy that you once had and then some. Finding “your why” and using that towards “your how” can be the biggest influence you have to stop your addiction from taking you hostage any longer and finally give you back your freedom in sobriety.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463