Substance Abuse relief should begin slowly
Drug addiction is what most of us think of when we think of substance abuse addiction. And this is understandable because there is a physical dimension – the addiction is not just psychological but has physical effects. And it is illegal which means that extra time and effort is required to feed the substance abuse addiction – finding the money, the supplies, the location and keeping the activity private and secret.
The physical dimension and the hidden dimension does not change the basic judgement regarding drug addiction – that the way to overcome drugs or substance abuse is no different from any other addiction, but is perhaps a more intense process.
In terms of cocaine for example: Is the anticipation of that high and the relief from stress …. but the eroding self-confidence that will also come soon after you snort, different really from any other addiction? All that is happening is that a surge of dopamine (which is cocaine near as possible) is flooding your decision centres and overwhelming that better part of you – that part of you that knows what you really should be doing.
The first step in moving on from substance abuse is to set objectives that get needs better met – or a balance returning to life. Arousal levels will then be reduced – so that longer-term considerations begin to embed. With drug addiction also, there is often a deep emotional pattern from childhood or trauma that must first be addressed.
Treatment for substance abuse
Beyond Pre-contemplation and Contemplating that something does need to change. I would assume that you are past these stages. I suspect that you may already be Determined that change will come with Action underway or being seriously investigated. If you are there already then Maintenance and working through the Relapses is where actually you are now.
These are the stages of substance abuse drug addiction change identified by Feelbetter Counselling:
- Building control and empowerment by getting needs better met– working indirectly in this way you will be taking the right kind of action that will speed up the maintenance phase and minimise the disruption of the relapses towards drug addiction relief.The drug addiction, arising out of behaviour which at the beginning was moderate, would have reflected a life that was not working in some way. This could have been in response to a crisis – at work or family perhaps – or something more deep-seated concerning basic safety and security, relationships and work and meaning. Auditing needs then and now will be important.
- The secret is not to rush into complete drug addiction cessation but to set objectives that make sense and work in a way that does add to the pressure but in fact relieves it.
- The identification and clearing of an unhelpful emotional response – triggered by a past event or set of experiences. To draw the timeline – your relationship with drug addiction through good times and bad.
- Practising relaxation and self-awareness. General relaxation can help, as awareness grows, while in a relaxed state, rehearsal can be undertaken of particular trigger situations
Extracts from my drug addiction relief audio scripts
My hope is that by reading and contemplating these (and staying with them), there will be a new kind of benefit for you.
The intense excitement
They have done research on the feelings of excitement that shoppers have as they look forward to that purchase – whatever it is – a shirt, a dress, a car, a TV, a perfume. That excitement of looking forward to pleasure is the dopamine surge – that ubiquitous chemical flow again. But afterwards, there is always disappointment, flatness, and the feeling that another fix is the only way to recover. That is what researchers find and it is what you know too – don’t you?
Realise just how short and truncated and small and controllable is this surge of dopamine pushing you to indulge – why, if you just hold back and not give way and say hold on, no and just let it play out – like a tantrum of a naughty child – then in just a few minutes it will fade away.
That’s right – that is all it is – a quick surge of a chemical (the anticipation of pleasure chemical – a little bit of coke actually) that travels along a well-travelled path in your brain – where the obstructions and stones have been beaten down into smoothness.
Identifying habits in drug addiction or other addiction to shift
See the other paths to travel down and you can even now see those new paths taking shape in the undergrowth.
When is the most vulnerable time for you – what is happening then, where are you and what part of the day is it. And how might you change the pattern. Just do something different at that time and see where it will lead.
Facing the truth of Substance abuse
How strong is that disappointment and let down for you – when the substance abuse high is all over – and how quickly does the disappointment and let down overwhelm the disappearing feeling of pleasure? Feel that false dawn again – or is it more like a fast-talking salesman at the door smiling and promising you the earth if you buy that insurance or double glazing. And then you do – only to realise that you have bought a pup. You have been fooled, duped.
Do you endure panic attacks? Many do who use coke and other drugs. And what of your capacity for sexual relations built on desire? What happens to that? Go to that disappointment. Really feel it now – that false promise, the letdown, the self-disgust and that awful loss of control. And understand and see again the most vulnerable time for you when the compulsion towards the addiction feeling is most powerful – what is happening then, where you are and what part of the day is it. And how might you change the pattern?
And that what you told yourself about the benefits of the addiction is illusory. It does not build confidence does it – but destroys it …. It does not reduce stress does it – but feeds it … and it does not open you to real relationships does it – but destroys your capacity for friendship, connection and intimacy. And there is no lasting and worthwhile meaning from the drug is there – only self-disgust, a lack of control and a dead end.
Building motivation to overcome substance abuse
Go to that disappointment. Really feel it now – that false promise, the self-disgust and that awful loss of control.
Or perhaps you are looking to the future – and find yourself drawn to somewhere much better or are you pushing away from a bad, dark and fearful place.
So as you rest comfortably and listening, see two doors in front of you. One is red and dark and the other is green and light. Open that red door and peek inside. Sense the blackness and mustiness and stagnancy – it is cold and listless. This is the door that opens to your future with the addiction running unchecked. What is it that you can see? Perhaps there is a photo album or a homemade video you can look at.
Can you see the loneliness and despair for yourself? Living and locating in poverty – not just material poverty but emotional too – lacking family and friends – flushed away on that torrent of self-disgust and hopelessness – and not being able to fulfil your potential for work and a contribution. Perhaps you can see your death – early and alone and painful – and the path you might take to get there. And can you see your face at that moment –anguished and hopeless– with eyes dying and brightness extinguished? And how might those who love you be looking on at your end approaching?
And now close that door ..and open the green door. This is the door to your future as you relinquish your addiction and reclaim your life. Can you smell the freshness and experience the bright refreshing light? Warm and breezes gently blowing. And allow yourself to imagine that changed life – and you are living a life free from that addiction. Really see it. That new and better photo album and video clips. With that weight lifted – how would you be looking …. and moving? And how would those who know you are seeing you differently?
Smiling and engaging more perhaps. And as your mind is freer, what might you be focusing on – study, work, building friends, giving and thinking of others. Who needs you and how would they respond to your time and attention.
Allow that motivation and strength to grow within you – taking you towards that good future and driving you from the pain. And as you feel the power of your imagination, know that this will guide you and watch over you. Stronger and stronger is the feeling now, in your body … and expanding … filling you up.
And how quickly will you find those new habits and pathways in your brain forming – and seeing and feeling and recoiling from the letdown and disgust. And what will you be noticing that gives you that inner sense that permanent change is transforming you. And when will you notice this – in a day or so or will it be a little longer.