It is human to desire pleasure. If we were to abstain from all pleasurable activities, life would become ungratifying and reward less. Pleasurable substances and activities offer us a relief from stress and life’s difficulties. The key is to moderate our participation with pleasurable substances and activities so that we are not causing harm to ourselves or others.
It is easy to become addicted to things that are physically or mentally pleasurable, like food, sex, enjoyable substances, exciting activities, stimulating fantasy thoughts, etc. When we participate with pleasurable activities, our brain releases a chemical called Dopamine. Our brain remembers this pleasurable feeling and wants more and more. If we continue participating with a substance or activity to a level that causes negative consequences for us, an addiction forms.
Our negative consequences could be:
*Financial, from excessive spending, gambling, shopping etc.
*Physical, such as obesity from overeating, lung problems from too much smoking, health problems from too much alcohol and drugs etc.
*Emotional, from impulsive or self-degrading thoughts. Self-destructive choices due to feeling unloveable, or unworthy of happiness etc.
*Relationship based, from sexual misconduct, self-centered choices, dishonesty or isolating, etc.
If we are told and come to believe that we are powerless over our addiction, then our belief can help create that reality.
Powerless means ‘Lacking power to act; helpless’. You always have the power to act in a non-destructive way. You are not helpless to make a healthy choice, instead of a harmful one.
We were born with free will, which means voluntary decision. This indicates we are free to decide what substances or habits we will or will not participate with.
Addictions are often used as an attempt to cope or distract from uncomfortable feelings that arise from past childhood abuse, anxiety, depression and unhealed hurts. Not everybody wants to give up their addiction, because they may not have found something better, that can replace the relief or pleasure they still get from participating with their substance or habit.
For people who do want to manage their addiction and choose a healthy lifestyle, with fewer negative consequences, addiction is treatable. Recovery is always a choice that you have the power to make!
Some treatment options include:
* Individual counseling. Psychology Today has lists of thousands of qualified professionals http://www.psychologytoday.com
* Support groups that encourage addiction free lifestyles. This could be a 12 step group http://www.12stepgroups.com
* Spiritual support through Church, meditation, yoga, God, nature etc.
* Reading books and articles that offer strategies and helpful information for addiction free-living http://www.amazon.com/Books-about-Addiction/lm/2BCO53ZEZV1JB
* Addiction free help lines
* Inpatient treatment facilities for addiction:
It is important that every addict know that they are loved and have value as a human being.
Written by Elisabeth Davies, MC
Elisabeth would love for you to join her addiction Facebook page