Today is the third day of the April Blogging Challenge. Today I have chosen the 6 C’s of addiction and Recovery. Those six words of Addiction and Recovery are Choice, Compulsion, Craving, Consequence and Control and Choose Life. The first C word is, Choice which seems to be the greatest of the debate in this disease of addiction. Webster’s defines with word Choice: The act of choosing Before you continue reading I am curious do you think drug use is a choice? There are those who say it is indeed a choice and my loved on is the stupid one who chose it.
Then there are those of us who know that first time of use was all that it took. I am just wondering because you opinion also counts. Let me explain this to you. I hope you will understand. The hardest thing that we on this side of this debate have had to come to terms with is that while yes, our loved one could possibly have been pressured to use this drug, “just once” they said. Our loved one could have even been manipulated into trying this drug for the first time. The persuader told my addict, “Man, you will never know a high like a heroin high. ”
In the end, yes it was our loved one who made that first initial choice to try it. After that first time, just once the word choice is not even an option anymore. The other C’s of addiction take over the mind. That folks, is just one way to define the power of Heroin. Addiction is defined according to drugabuse. gov as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite the harmful consequences. It is considered a disease because drug use changes the brain. Drug use changes the brains structure and how it works.
These changes to the brain are debilitating, long lasting, and lead to many other harmful behaviors as seen in those who abuse them. So, to answer the question of Choice or Not? The initial decision to try a drug while voluntary due to power of heroin or of whatever drug of choice once addiction takes over in the brain it becomes less of a choice. It is now a need to feed the addiction. However drugs are powerful, especially when the drug of choice is Heroin. When the abuse takes over the brain, the users ability to exert self-control is severely impaired.
As a matter of fact, brain imaging and studies of the brain on those who suffer from addiction to drugs show that drugs do in fact cause physical changes to the brain. These changes to the brain are critical to judgement, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Scientists have proven that these changes do alter the way the brain works, and may explain many of the other behaviors associated with drug use such as, the compulsive and destructive behaviors of those who suffer with the disease the addiction. My sons drug of choice was heroin.
Heroin in fact is just one of the many other drugs that it only takes one time of trying it to get a person hooked. One of Heroin’s charms is a person who uses just once, will never feel that same high ever again no matter how many times a person uses afterwards. That is where the slang, Chasing The Dragon comes in. Have you ever heard that expression? That is because a user will forever be chasing that first high that heroin gave to them. That feeling in their brain when heroin teased the dopamine in their brain. That too is where the other “C” words come in. The other C’s are words Compulsion, Craving, Consequences and Control
Webster’s definition of Compulsion as it relates to an addiction as: An irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one’s conscious wishes. Someone trying heroin just once cannot control themselves which is due to addiction. Using heroin then becomes a must otherwise a user will get sick and start to go through withdrawals within just a few hours after only trying it once. Not using also leads to anxiety. To an addicts brain this compulsion leads to an overpowering urge to use again and again. Many wonder why someone just doesn’t stop. At this point when compulsion takes over their brain it is hardly an option.
Webster defines the word Craving as it relates to anything including addiction: A powerful desire for something. Overwhelming hunger, thirst and need. To someone actively using this is the greatest of urge. The craving for their next fix. Craving heroin to a user becomes powerfully overwhelming. Just like hunger and thirst is to someone not using. The only thing on their mind at that point is getting the drug back into their veins. Heroin at this point becomes associated with a life saving urge, even though it is the total opposite. Next, Webster defines Consequences as it relates to addiction as: A result of effect of an action or condition.
Unable to determine importance or relevance. Using drugs is negative but a users brain no longer sees it as a negative consequences to using this drug. To an active user their brain no longer functions like that telling them things like, “hey you touch that hot burner, you can get burned. ” Between the craving, the urge and the compulsion it is at this point that they often do anything to get their next fix. The brain no longer tells them that they can killed doing something. Which is why no matter how many times they have overdosed up to that point, the brain is no longer telling them that is something negative.
No matter how many times they have been saved, or had to go to the hospital or even committed crimes for their next fix, the brain no longer tells them that action is wrong. That is why it is at this point they can look you right in the eye lie and expect you to believe the lie. They can steal your checkbook, your money and possessions and never think they did anything wrong. Or, that their using is hurting you. That is why they don’t think that doing wrong can land them in jail. The next C word is Control. As it relates to addiction is the lack of self control.
Webster defines Control as: The power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events. Self Control is defined as: The ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations The power of all of these C words on the brain becomes too great. This is the addiction to the substance that has taken over the brain. Sometimes very early in addiction a person doesn’t want to use, but they cannot control the addiction nor can they control their brain functions. The brain says it needs it, the body says give it to me or you will get sick.
This is why it becomes harder and harder for an addict to quit on their own the longer they stay in their addiction. The last C word for today is to Choose Life. If you are actively using You are Worth It. If you are in recovery or practice recovery each and everyday, YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! Remember what the quote above says: “You must make the CHOICE to take a CHANCE or your life will never CHANGE” If you are reading this and suffering from an addiction, reach out today for help. If you love someone suffering from drug addiction and you need help or do not know what else to do, please reach out for help today.