How-Addiction-Works, is getting hooked on substance abuse cravings, urges, and impulses.
Substance Abuse cravings, urges, and impulses can be unlearned.
How-Addiction-Works is that getting hooked makes us an addict.
But, We Can Change.
How-Addiction-Works can be understood. Through awareness we can start to unlearn our substance abuse habits, recognize the cravings, urges and impulses for what they are. And let them go.
When you finish this screen you’ll have a better understanding of How-Addiction-Works, what it is, and what it is not.
You’ll also have a good idea about how addictive behavior can be treated , arrested, or simply unplugged.
We’ll grasp the roots of substance abuse which underlies our addiction and learn how to apply that understanding in our daily lives.
Addiction is addiction as addictive behavior is addictive behavior. And getting hooked is getting hooked whether that is obvious substance abuse like alcoholism, or other drugs, or behaviors, such as eating, sex, porn, or gambling.
Some of us have been fortunate in our life’s addiction in that we can get our “jollies” from a well placed adverb or the appropriate use of a conjunctive. Many of us though require stronger more risky measures or medicines.
How-Addiction-Works is to Enslave us to Immaturity.
At ground level substance abuse addiction is a search for immature gratifications, like that of a dependent child.
The treatment to overcome getting hooked on substance abuse addiction means growing up and taking on an adult role in life.
In recovery we learn to take responsibility for ourselves, our behavior, and our actions. And we also take responsibility for the other people we have in our lives.
“Self-discipline is self-caring.” M. Scott Peck
We can no longer see ourselves as powerless addicts. We no longer feel a need for our addictive behavior, our substance abuse. It simply has no place in our life, our personal awakening.
In our recovered life we are no longer an addicted person.
But, in all fairness, it takes a “minimum” of three to six months to make a new behavior permanent. And sometimes longer.
We know it takes time to learn to play tennis or to master the piano, but with addictive substance abuse change we expect it to succeed instantly.
Finding a healthy substitute for a substance abuse addiction including establishing a reward system for doing so and a way to steer clear the recovery sabotage of cravings, urges, and impulses, takes time.
An addictive habit is more strongly reinforced when the positive effects of the behavior occur intermittently, now and then, rather than when they are constant.
This is the reason gambling, porn, fishing, videogames, hunting, and other behaviors that have an intermediate and unpredictable pay-off are so addictive.
Of course, this is also why an attempt to cut down, moderate, our addictive behavior usually fails so abysmally.
How-Addiction-Works is that when we struggle to make gratification less constant, we are actually reinforcing our attachment. That is intermittent reinforcement.
How-Addiction-Works makes treatment and recovery implications clear. The only really effective way of ending an addictive behavior, like substance abuse, is to stop it. Anything less will almost certainly aggravate the situation. Few have “cut-back.” Recovery Is Through Your Activities of Daily Living.
How-Addiction-works is that Abstinence works Better.
If not, our attachment becomes like quicksand; the more we struggle and flail about with our will power, the more mired down we become.
Now you know why diets don’t work.
And why permanent weight loss is very difficult. It requires lifestyle change. The cravings, urges, and impulses are just too embedded and are so effective in their sabotage efforts.
How-Addiction-Works makes Abstinence almost an absolute. Of course, with substances we need to consume or behaviors we need to perform, total abstinence is usually not possible or desired.
Food, shopping, work, and sex are examples.
However, for those addictions which respond to abstinence it is best.
An absolute “first step” starting point: Stop the Addictive Behavior. Stop the Substance Abuse. Make a commitment to sobriety, living sober.
We’ll need our Sobriety Prayers, our Serenity Prayer and our Recovery Affirmations for living sober to keep the cravings, urges, and impulses in check.
And it will take personal courage to learn to let-go of addiction’s substance abuse crutch.
Many of us concentrate on a narrow band of negativity. This obstructs our view. When held too close even a penny obstructs our view of the world. Try it.
We must learn to challenge the logic of our negative judgments. The Serenity Prayer is our guide.
Although we are a species wired for survival, we have the odd habit behavior of getting hooked on things that can kill us. Evolution should have weeded out addiction by now.
If it is hard driving under the influence of substance abuse, think about how it would be running from a tiger.
To see How-Addiction-Works lets go inside the brain of an addict. Which brain chemicals are out of balance? Addiction can affect the brain by hijacking memory-making processes and exploiting emotions.
Addictive Behavior is learned lke all else.
How-Addiction-Works is repetitive reinforcement.
Addictions are repetitive behaviors in the face of negative consequences, the desire to continue to do the same things you are fully aware that are bad for you.
Getting Hooked on Meth is a prime example. Often devastating the addictive individual.
How-Addiction-Works is when exposed to drugs, our memory systems, our reward circuits, our decision making skills and conditioning urges and impulses kick in full gear. Man, we are rolling.
This increases our all consuming pattern of uncontrollable craving. And, in addition of course, some may have a possible genetic predisposition to behavior which can become addictive. Tough way to go.
Behavior from gambling to shopping to sex may start out as habits but slide into addiction. It is often a slippery slope, a loaded proposition.
Sometimes a specific behavior may be a root stimulant. For example: Pathologically obese people who are compulsive eaters exhibit hyperactivity in areas of the brain that process food stimuli---including the mouth, lips, and tongue.
For these obese folks activating those regions is like opening the flood gates to the pleasure center.
How-Addiction-Works is not just about Substance Abuse.
Addiction disrupts the processing of pleasure so that the balance point shifts and you keep creating more and more cravings, urges, and impulses, and so you keep desiring more and more.
Milkman and Sunderwirth add:
“ In the drama of human excess, experience is the protagonist, and drugs or activities are merely supporting actors.”
How-Addiction-Works is that addictive behavior goes far beyond the compulsive use of alcohol and drugs.
As we know, it is possible to become addicted to what may seem a harmless pleasure, such as sex, jogging, watching television, videogames, and eating.
We humans have an almost universal desire for pleasure and escape. Our brains produce mind altering substances what the sky diver has in common with the heroin addict. Both behaviors produce a high. And sometimes a low.
All addictions whether they are substances or behavior based, such as gambling, set off natural chemicals in our brains.
In our modern times addiction is running wild. You can walk into any convenience store and purchase nicotine, alcohol, junk food, lottery tickets, and pornography.
However, there are positive natural highs available. Involvement in the arts. Spiritual awakening. It is about changing negative behaviors that destroy into ones that enhance your life.
At this point you should have some idea of what addictive behavior is and how-addiction-works. We may never lose our vulnerability to our drug of choice. Say a drug called porn. We may need perpetual vigilance to avoid it.
How-Addiction-Works is that our very best approach may be to strengthen our conscious choices to find new non-addicted or better ---more moderate---satisfactions.