I'm wondering what you all think.......

Do addicts ever REALLY recover?
I'm thinking about addicts to anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. Gambling. Shopping........the list is endless.

Can addicted people really change?

I'm throwing this out as a general question because I'm wondering the attitudes that exist on this topic.

I of course have my own point of view but I want to know what everyone else thinks first.

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five years later they decided to smoke again

Yes, the reason I felt I had to resolve to fight it for the rest of my life is because my friends' father had stopped when they were born but started again when THEY (the friends) started smoking at age 14.

That's really great that it never bothered you again

??? Another example of the charmed life I lead.

Actually I confess. I purposely smoked a cigarette almost a year from my previous. Believe it or not, I did it to reinforce my resolve. And, believe it or not, it did. What I knew would happen is this. This one cigarette flooded my body with deadly poison (as they do). I could feel every fiber of my body being poisoned - right down to my fingertips - I was horribly nauseated. The thing is that most (if not all) people starting to smoke feel this. The common cartoonish portrayal is the subject turning green. I believe there are masses of people who try to prevent their kid from smoking by forcing them to get sick on cigarettes. Although it involves ingesting dangerous amounts of poison, I'm not convinced that it's a bad idea. I wonder what the stats would say to that.

LOL!! I remember doing that too with cigarettes. After I quit I "tested" myself with the intention of remembering why I quit. It DOES work......but only for cigarettes.

Cool. And I can definitely get how it only works for cigarettes. Withdrawal relief is the ONLY reward tobacco offers. Other drugs at least have the courtesy of getting you high. And if one is not addicted, I cannot understand why anyone would CHOOSE to become (re)addicted to a poisonous substance which has NO up-sides.. But then the list of things I don't understand is endless.

I do believe there is a certain aspect of addictions that could be considered a disease. But only when a person is immersed into their addiction to the point that they begin to decline in health and well-being.

Addictions in general are complicated to unravel and comprehend, and there is no "one size fits all" approach to getting better and recovering.

A big aspect of the ability to recover from addictions is how much a person has seen a different way of living - a healthy way. It is much harder to recover if everyone in your life has been an example of an addict. But if a person has seen healthy examples of what life can be it is a lot easier to have a goal to aim for which can GREATLY assist a person who is addicted - particularly to hard core drugs or alcohol.

There is also the physiological responses our bodies have to certain drugs that creates an addiction beyond control. Withdrawl symptoms in and of themselves can be horrible to endure, prolonging and intensifying an addicts need to stay high, which leads to a cycle of doing whatever it takes (literally) to stay at their new drug induced "norm" and the longer a person keeps it up the harder it is to even fathom life without the drugs.

For those addicted to things like shopping or gambling (things that are not ingested) there is still a reward center of the brain that receives a jolt of a "high" that produces a REAL physical change in mood and brain chemistry. This reaction is of course temporary and so must be repeated if the person is not living a lifestyle that can replicate this brain "high" in ways that are not mal-adaptive behaviors (addictions ARE mal-adaptive habits in their most simplistic form).

The genetic component is overrated. There IS a genetic aspect to addictions but this can be seen as more of a survival "gene." We seek comfort. We do not want to feel pain. We want to feel safe. We have emotional needs. We need to feel a sense of "control." We want to feel love, The list goes on......

check out Maslow's hierarchy of needs: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs

People who develop addictions in mal-adaptive ways are simply seeking to meet the needs that are listed on the hierarchy. The problem is that they are disillusioned. Much like religion the addicted person cannot comprehend that they will never be able to reach the "self-actualization" level of well-being because they are trying to meet the prior more basic needs with a conduit of self-destruction (insert addiction of choice here.)...

For those who manage to leave addictions behind and formulate a life with GOOD healthy habits and fulfill their needs with good behaviors, they are no longer addicts. They are recovered. For those who leave behind one drug of choice but switch to another mal-adaptive behavior these people are still addicts. They have not recovered because they are still grappling with the balance of meeting their own needs but still in a mal-adaptive way.

And so yes. One can REALLY recover. Addictions are not a life sentence. AA is great. But there are some teachings within AA (those that stem from religion, surprise surprise) that are harmful. The idea that one cannot recover is straight out of Romans: "We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." And yada yada.....the "sin" aspect is the most poisonous and unfortunately the most prevalent. So much so that even those here who are Atheists still believe (because we are not taught otherwise) that they can never let down their guard or their addictions will come back, like a shadow that follows behind you. Once a person has reached a level of self-awareness and KNOWS how to cope with life and has a plan if things so awry, the danger of relapse is nil. But for an ex- addict to trust THEMSELVES that this mentality is even possible is an uphill climb. The AA message that we must keep our head down and clench our fists to stay sober/recovered etc for the rest of our lives, is a flat out LIE. It is however, not something that is achieved by accident. It requires HARD work. But YES - Real Recovery.....is possible.
You know Belle I've always thought that but kind of scary to think I'm well and can move on. Haven't seen the inside of a church basement in about 10 years. Great post btw, thank you so much for sharing that.
No hay de que Noel, you're free! Congratulations :)

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