When it comes to addiction, it’s easy to feel as though we can never break free. The drug controls you, the drink controls you, heck, even the retail therapy controls you. Everything seems to control you, and there’s a very real reason for that truth.
When we use a substance, no matter the reason, we are changing not only the chemicals in our brain at that moment, but we are manipulating the brain’s reward center. Every time we use, we tell our brain this thing is good, and it makes us feel better. So, not only does the substance physically make us feel better, but we are literally training ourselves to believe that picking up the bottle or shooting up is “good” behavior and rewardable behavior. Essentially, we train our reward centers to give us a gold star when we enact addictive patterns, and on top of that reward, we give ourselves the physical reward of a drink or a drug. But there is one major factor we forget when we continue with this cycle, and that’s the harsh reality that addiction is a disease, an injury that plagues us until we are able to step back and acknowledge the problem.
Rationalizing Irrational Behavior
It may not feel this way now, but addiction is not stronger than us, and it can be treated, but we must acknowledge that this rewarded behavior is unhealthy. If we can look at addiction for what it is, just like any other disease or injury, we can step outside of its reigns and understand it just like we would any other illness. Looking at the problem from the outside can help us stay rational.
Think about it this way. If Shane has a chronic shoulder injury and he continues to do things that will bother it, he is feeding into the injury. He’s not taking steps in the right direction towards pain management and healing. Shane’s not caring for himself just like the addict who continues to put harmful substances in their body. Shane needs to make a shift. He may need to change his exercise routine or stop working out altogether. This could bother Shane because exercise is important to him, but if he doesn’t stop the behavior, he may need surgery and or put himself in a situation where he damages his body beyond repair.
Shane is suffering from a serious ailment, yet he isn’t taking the proper steps to treat the injury. He can’t seem to get out of his own way because, just like an addict, he has physically trained his brain to go for the thing that will instantly make him feel better, in this case – exercise. Instead of going to physical therapy for the shoulder, he tries to control the shoulder. He says he is fine, and this is normal. However, the reality is that the shoulder is breaking down a little more each day getting one step closer to disrepair. His behaviors become an excessive need to control and distract, and he loses sight of rationality completely.
The same goes for addiction. We believe we are functional. We believe we don’t have a problem, but deep down, we know we need to make a change to get healthy and well. These moments of clarity usually occur the morning after a binge that leads to unfortunate circumstances. It’s in these moments of clarity that we need to act. Make the call to rehab, phone a friend or family member and ask for help, and reach out to someone who can help you stay in this rational space. Because if you don’t act in that short window of time, your brain will begin to rationalize the behavior and get your reward center firing on all cylinders.
Capitalizing on Rational Moments
Beating addiction means stepping outside of ourselves to look at our behaviors and choices objectively. This means looking at everything we do through the eyes of another person. What would you say to someone who was doing the same things you are? What if it was your child or a teen who came to you with the same problems? What advice would you give them?
Most, if not all, would never tell a kid to keep using or give advice that alcoholism is normal or healthy. No matter how bad our addiction gets, we always know the behavior is harming us. We’d never let cancer go untreated, so why are we doing the same for our mental health?
It’s not easy to acknowledge we may have a problem, especially if we’ve been a functional user or drinker for some time, but deep down, we know we are hurting, and we know we need help. Seeking treatment like the options provided at the Summer House Detox Center is a great starting point. We will get you clean in our step-down program and keep you safe and comfortable in the process. We know you’re hurting, and we are here to make getting clean and sober as easy as possible. Call now to invest in your mental health and your future.
If you know someone who is suffering from mental health issues and in need of addiction treatment in Fort Lauderdale, give Summer House Detox Center a call at 800-719-1090 to schedule a FREE consultation. You can also visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.