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The Frightening Insanity Of Addiction

Beware of the Risk Factors

Photo Liz M; Pixabay

Those of us that are in sobriety can always use refresher courses, and reviews no matter how solid or strong that recovery is. We are always one moment away from a relapse, and we have to not only keep our sobriety solid, we also have to keep our awareness turned on full time. I can attest to many things when it comes to relapse.

One major factor I have grown to learn is that relapse happens long before the actual physical use happens. Addiction, and relapse are much more than the ingesting of the drug. It’s a multitude of behaviours that build up intensely into an eventual relapse of the drug or drink.

This is a topic that I cannot write about enough. Even when I return back to the research to review, it feels like I have learned something new. As if I’m seeing something for the first time, every time.

LewiZ; Pixabay

What seems to evolve a lot as times goes on, can be the risk factors. Even when some may seem the same, I notice that my view of them evolves. As does the way I receive them. Let’s see what type of things we need to beware of.

First and foremost, we have to be mindful of replacement addictions. We learn about them continuously in recovery. It may not always be a worry at the very beginning, but I assure you, that it can become more prevalent as time goes on. These replacements can be anything, or any behaviour that can connect to something obsessive, addictive, or controlling. It can start innocently enough, but can quickly turn into an act that negatively affects life.

My personal example makes logical sense. My history is one that saw me struggle with major heroin and cocaine addiction. Of course that would mean that I need to stay away from those substances in order to remain sober. But for myself, I have decided to take it further than that. For instance, I remain free of all narcotic use and abuse. I also avoid drinking alcohol.

clarkdonald413; Pixabay

Finally, I really have to be very careful of so much more. Even food, sex, or gambling addiction can all take the place of a behaviour that used to involve heroin. For me, it’s all about the personality, and the self control. I can have an addictive brain, for anything that I can lose control of. So, for me, it has worked best to avoid all. The risk, far outweighs the benefits.

That takes into the next factor called people, places and things. We have to remain vigilant of our people, places and things. When looking back at my history of addiction, and relapses, I can confidently say that it’s one of those three categories that always contributed to my downfall.

It’s a simple concept, which can sometimes be the problem. We can make mistakes in this areas over and over and over again, because we keep swearing to ourselves that “we’re too strong for this, we can’t be weak, we’re too good for this” etc etc.

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes many mistakes before we learn that this entire world of sobriety is not about some type of inner strength, and it sure isn’t anything like willpower either. If I relied on willpower to get me sober, than I never ever would had remained clean for more than a few days. It’s about education, and more importantly, it’s about complete change.

We need to change our entire being.

Alexas_Fotos; Pixabay

If we don’t make changes on those levels, then we are almost more at risk to go into toxic directions. When we say people, places and things, we are talking about those fake “using” friends, who were only around when we either had money, or drugs.

We are also talking about those places that’s sole connection was our addiction. Whether it be a bar, a club, a fake friend’s house, or a street in a not so nice part of town. Where crime is rampant. Those neighborhoods where we always used to go, in order to purchase our drugs.

When we say things, we are referring to anything connected to our old days of addiction. They are things that we have absolutely no use for any longer, and it makes no sense to hang onto them. If we quit injecting heroin, but we have some spare needles we never used, is there a logical reason not to immediately throw them away? Of course not. It’s too risky, because even just the sight alone for a brief moment can set us off rather quickly.

Comfreak; Pixabay

We have to get rid of every single thing that reminds us of our days of active addiction. Either we have to, or we can get a trusting loved one or friend to do it for us. As soon as humanly possible. Some sober people like to go through their houses with a friend when they first come home from being away at rehabilitation.

Breaking these chains is an ability that is a great gift from God. Being able to break alone, can feel almost miraculous. And if it is a miracle, then let’s hold its value up high, and keep that recovery that for many years, we could never touch.

Remember what I said about willpower, being strong, and other related things. Addiction is not about those, and it’s about a lack of those. It’s about changing who we are. Understanding our character defects, learning how to avoid falling back into the old life. Learning all that, to make new habits. Don’t make recovery be something that is full of torture and white knuckle moments.

Make your sobriety a life you can enjoy.

Geralt; Pixabay

Michael Patanella

is a Trenton, New Jersey Author, Publisher, Columnist, Editor, Advocate, and recovering addict, covering topics of mental health, addiction, sobriety, mindfulness, self-help, faith, spirituality, Smart Recovery, social advocacy, and countless other nonfiction topics.



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