Welcome, ברוך הבא, Welkom, Добро пожаловать, Bienvenue, Bienvenido, 歓迎, υποδοχή

This site is dedicated to those who are serious about what Christian life is all about. This is a place to discuss modern Church and life issues. You can leave an anonymous comment if you feel the need. All comments are moderated. All posts will be answered. No requirements are needed.

If you want to study Biblical lessons click here http://ideasoftimbible.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 20, 2011

LXVI. The Addict

Why do people allow substances, feelings, actions, thoughts, or desires to overtake them?  What causes people to turn to lifestyles they would not have normally turned to given any other circumstances?

Here is an interesting article, http://www.hbo.com/addiction/understanding_addiction/index.html?current=0.  Perhaps the answers can only be answered by those who have had addictions.  But here are the results from last month's poll:  Which of the following causes more people to have addictions than the rest?
  • 37% said Emotional instability.
  • 37% said Spiritual weakness
  • 25% said Bad decisions.
  • 0% said Physical illness, a disease.
  • 0% said Genetics
  • 0% said Bad childhood.
  • 0% said Other.
First if all what needs to be remembered as you read is that addictions are not just about drugs.  There are plenty of forms of addictions.  There are drugs, alcohol, work, sex, money, power, crime,  and others.  All of the above cause pain in our lives, even the ones that no one voted for.  The problem is not in the circumstances that shape our lives of pain.  The problem is in the reaction to that pain.  Some choose to seek new relationships.  Some seek a higher power.  Some seek medicinal treatments.  Some seek physical pleasures or mutilation.  These actions can cause addictions and could put many people on a path to destruction.  We all have some sort of circumstance in our lives that could or have formed into some sort of addiction, so we all can have opinions on this topic.

Those who have emotion instability are usually ones that have had some sort of relational problem in their life.  They have been hurt by someone in their life.  Betrayal, abuse, and neglect (traumas) are usually not absent in cases like these.  This one could be added to the choice of bad childhood and perhaps that is why no one chose the answer.  They move on from relation to relation.  They can't seem to find that someone who will take them away from all of the pain they have suffered in their own mind.  When that person can't take the pain away they move to another person.    This relation does not necessarily mean one that involves sexual action.  This could be friends.  They can't seem to keep the same friends over time.  It could be parents.  Children start to look for other father or mother figures to have someone in their life.  If they can not find the "perfect" relationship they look for a way to cope with that relationship by finding an outlet.  That outlet becomes the addiction.

Oddly enough, no one said that genetics are a leading cause of addiction.  But as stated in the article posted here 60% of alcoholics have had alcoholism in their family history.  But maybe we recognize that even though our family has had problems it doesn't mean that we will.  And it definitely doesn't mean that we have to follow those footsteps.  But you can see this as being true.  If babies can be born addicted to crack they can be born addicted to other things as well, or at least predisposed. 

No one said physical illness or bad childhood either. Physical illness can cause addiction by either someone trying to relieve the pain they have in their live. They over use the prescriptions such as many celebrities do. Or they are being so stressed out by some situation they feel like they have nothing else to lose. Probably the reason why no one said bad childhood is because it would be a redundant statement. Starting down a road that has plenty of bad decisions probably can not be pinpointed where it all started such as in your childhood. Besides one has to start making your own decisions and not blame the past for all the mistakes made.

The article has another page that talks about myths of addictions.  Two of the myths are myths, in a way, that is.  Science treats addiction as a disease.  It's not a disease, but a sickness.  But a sickness of what?  The mind.  The substance or action plays on the mind of the individual and the individual can not break free from this thought and thereby causing the person to make irrational decisions, changing the individual into someone they are not.  The doctors try and treat the disease by using other forms of medicine.  This is the myth that is a myth.  The article said that many (when appropriate) are given medicine to curb their instincts, their brain functions back to normality.  But then that means they will have to rely on the new medicine to stay functioning.  That is better than the alternative but it doesn't cure the problem.  The other myth-myth is that addicts are not addicted to all drugs.  That is true for the most but there is an underlying factor here that is not mentioned.  During an AA meeting at a rehabilitation center, after the prayer of serenity was said and all formalities out of the way, one patient said that he was glad he didn't escalate into other drugs and that he didn't start to substitute one drug for another.  Meanwhile the room was getting foggier and foggier because everyone in the room had an average of about nine cigarettes in the hour meeting that was observed.  Nicotine is a drug too.  The man was substituting one for another but didn't realize it.  That could be an example of how addictions are treated with other "medicines".  The other myths seem highly accurate.

But the over all problem that causes addictions is the over all worldly problem of having spiritual weakness.

People turn to physical solutions when the real solution lies in the spiritual world.  Places like AA, thank God for AA, even acknowledge that people have to recognize there is a higher power.  But even as great as AA and other rehab centers are, there still needs that openness to not just accepting a higher power but embracing a higher power.  Accepting a higher power is fine, but what is needed is a full surrendering to the higher power, because if you don't then you are still fighting the sickness.  And yes, the higher power is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

20 comments:

hawkssong68 said...

I've tried to respond to this over and over. I keep deleting it...purposely. I have to give others the right to their opinion.

Two things I believe are necessary to address. And please don't argue.

Alcoholism and addiction are not entirely the same thing. Put 30 people in a room, give them equal amounts of alcohol for 30 days, only a few will come out alcoholic. However. Put 30 people in a room, give them heroin for 30 days, 100 percent come out addicted.

I understand the article attached was meant to help debunk the stigma attached to addiction and alcoholism. And certainly the author has every right to his opinion. The statement that AA doesn't work for everyone is not entirely true. AA works for everyone who works the program. Unfortunately, in today's world, most people are too selfish to adopt an unselfish program of recovery. That's why today, it seems to "fail" people.

And by the way...to your readers...to the one who will inevitably compare AA to a cult. AA is not a cult. In a cult, everyone does what they're told to do. In AA, you can't even get them to follow suggestions!

Hugs (not drugs)

hawkssong68 said...

One other thing and I will be silent. Well, unless someone REALLY ticks me off<--LOL

I know this is a Christian blog, but some of your readers may need help and may not appreciate the "religious" aspect generally associated with AA (ie--Higher Power):

"ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. THE ONLY REQUIREMENT FOR MEMBERSHIP IS A DESIRE TO STOP DRINKING. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. IS NOT allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

Many members have no religious connection and anyone in any meeting claiming otherwise is not fulfilling his or her primary purpose. Some members find the group itself sufficiently fulfilling the need for a Higher Power. A Higher Power is simply something more powerful than oneself.

Feel free to check out this blog for a personal story of recovery. It's awesome!

http://hawkssongfactory.blogspot.com/

Gozreht said...

Great insight.

Not arguing, just asking...

I agree with your assessment. Alcohol is differentthan heroin. But desire after a substance (or action) that cuase someone to do things they would not normally do is addiction, isn't it? If someone wakes up in the morning and "needs" a drink, isn't that the same thing as a heroin addict who needs a hit? Same with the workaholic, sex addict, smoker, health nut. Anyone who feels the needs to do things with so much desire, it changes their chemistry, is an addict and has an addiction. Your insight was very helpful.

The Higher Power idea though is of course a big difference. You may not have to believe in God do be in AA. Understood. But what is the higher power that is more powerful than you? Semantics and denial will not get rid of God.

BUT, the real problem you are posing, even though you were not trying to do this, is actually the real problem with this whole situation, and it is shown in the poll. We have a spiritual deprevation. Not spiritual as Madonna or Tom Cruise are, but real closeness and relationship with God. We choose to live for ourselves and when that doesn't work we then blame God for not being there. We smoke too much, drink too much, get divorced too much, get high too much, lust too much, and that is just the Church. Even Christians have lost their real spirituality. And until there is recognition of a need for a relationship with the real higher power, this problem will always be around.

As stated before, AA is a great entity. And as you have stated if people actually follow the steps then is is a path way to help. I will post a link to your site (I have read it pleny of times since it was created) in my friend section.

I hope everyone can learn from this.

hawkssong68 said...

It's still apples and oranges. They're both fruit. But they're not the same.

Again, I've taken time to respond. And know, I can only speak for myself. AA is very diverse.

You're not an alcoholic. In the 40 (HAHA)years that I've known you, you have never displayed an addictive personality. You COULD take a drink, put it down and never drink again. You COULD drink occasionally. Normally. For the rest of your life.

However. God forbid, you get hurt. Let's say a doctor prescribes pain pills. Let's say you're on them a while. You WILL become addicted. At least physically. Maybe even mentally.

From what I've learned and experienced...I was an alcoholic from the moment I first consumed alcohol. I've reviewed my life and I know this to be true. It became an obsession from day one.

In the big book called Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a letter from a prominent doctor who treated alcoholics. He refers to alcoholism as an allergy of sorts. And, as stated, it seems to fit! I've been alcohol free for 3 1/2 years now. One drink, however, will start the debacle all over again. My many attempts to drink normally (and failing!) have convinced me of this fact. When I had my surgery a while back, I was prescribed percocet, a highly addictive drug. I took them as prescribed without event. I'm not an addict. I know someone, however, who can't take them at all. She is an addict. She can't take them as prescribed without becoming addicted.

Similar. Yes. Same. No.

Coming back in a minute. Already lost a long one!

hawkssong68 said...

Whew.

Now. What I've also learned about alcoholism is that the disease is three-fold. A physical addiction. A mental obsession. And a spiritual malady. Putting down the bottle only addresses the physical part. The steps take care of the rest.

And here we go. :)

As a member of AA, I MUST address the God issue you keep putting out there. I totally get that this is a Christian blog. But. Please stop it. :) And here's why....

"ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. THE ONLY REQUIREMENT FOR MEMBERSHIP IS A DESIRE TO STOP DRINKING. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. IS NOT ALLIED with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. "

Step two of Alcoholics Anonymous states: Came to believe. That is a process. Most newcomers are stinging and pretty beat up when they first walk through the door. Bombarding them with specific spiritual talk is the last thing they need. I know this was true for me. I almost walked away. I'd been hit with the bible too many times. It wasn't until someone took the time to explain to me that number one: I could have my own concept of a higher power and number two: the spiritual awakening would occur as a result of all twelve steps.

It's not semantics. There is no denial of God. We use the term Higher Power to include everyone's vision. That includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Native Americans, atheists, polytheists, agnostics, and even Mormons. Well, maybe not Mormons...

:)

I know many who use the group as their Higher Power (group>one). I still know one person with over 15 years sobriety who uses an old oak tree! It's certainly more powerful than she is! And it works for her.

Taking five....

hawkssong68 said...

Spiritual deprivation....okay. I'll buy it. Matter of fact, that was my vote. But...I sit here at 1:00 am, still wondering how that came about. We were raised in the same home. You bought it. I didn't.

Why? Did you ever wonder...what if life had switched us at birth? What if you had become the cynical gay alcoholic and I had become a respected teacher and leader in my church? Why did God choose me? Or, why didn't I choose God? Which came first? Alcoholism or spiritual deprivation...remember...I was five when alcohol became an obsession for me.

Just lucky, I guess!

And if you hadn't been such a wuss and retreated to the basement because it was "cold" last Monday, you could have been a part of this conversation with two guys who have over 35 years sobriety!

Hugs!

Gozreht said...

I really didn't want to respond to this since this is more family matters than public matters but I guess I should address some issues.

You're not an alcoholic. In the 40 (HAHA)years that I've known you, you have never displayed an addictive personality.

I am not going to air out my dirty laundry. I hide a lot of my pain. But I have issues I have struggled with as well, just not alcohol. The premise is still the same. If you let the desire overtake you it can become an addiction. Each situation is different for each individual. I can take a drink and no when to stop. It is not a desire for me. That is different for you. But given the right desire in front of me and I could do things I do not want to do. I am not as perfect as you think :) And we will leave it at that publicly.

What I've also learned about alcoholism is that the disease is three-fold. A physical addiction. A mental obsession. And a spiritual malady.

Nicely put.

As a member of AA, I MUST
address the God issue you keep putting out there. I totally get that this is a Christian blog. But. Please stop it. :) And here's why...


I will only quote that part, the readers can reread the rest on their own.

Just want to make sure everyone knows that I am not connecting AA with any religious organization. It is a program where people can get help and it works as you say for those who work at it. My point was that even AA realizes though that our own abilities are not sufficient.

Gozreht said...

Continued...

Even the founder of AA, Bill Wilson, knew the higher power was God. I am assuming that is what he referred to as his.

Here is the bigger point; when I said spiritual depravity, I mean the world as a whole, not just the individual. We may be from the same background. The depravity shakes me too, though. And I know you will not agree with this part and that is fine but I do believe a lot of this is by choice. You didn’t have to take a drink. Just like now, you choose not to drink (which by the way being sober this long is a wonderful accomplishment, I offer no congratulations but love and support instead). You don’t have to be angry with God and the idiot Christians that you have seen in your life. You choose to be cynical towards them. I am angry at some of the same people. But I choose to let it go, forgive and move on. You choose to disregard God in your life, doesn’t mean He is not real. So you can ask me to leave God out of this equation but I can’t. The world is hurting because the world leaves God out of everything now. We get angry and wonder where He is. Well, He is in the same corner we stuck Him a long time ago, like a used toy waiting for us to pick Him up again.

Your insight on this topic is wonderful. I have read your blog many times and actually got some of my ideas from your writings.

To all the readers, Hawk is my sister, Amy, a person my heart feels for and loves dearly. We may disagree but the love is not lacking. Just so you all know

hawkssong68 said...

Wow. I apologize if you felt I was being too personal. That certainly wasn't my intention (making you uncomfortable). Being in AA, I guess I've gotten some rather tough skin. It's noted in the big book that we tend to laugh about things that would shock most people.

I am sincerely sorry.

And also note, that I've come a long way with God. That, to me, is more personal. I don't discuss my beliefs in an AA discussion. Everyone comes to God on his or her own terms.

And while most alcoholics, at one point in time, did indeed have a choice in picking up a drink, once the obsession took hold, they (including me) lost the power of choice. AA gives that power back. And, if I stay spiritually fit, I never have to lose that power again.

I wish I could explain it better. I feel like I'm missing the key point. The big book is online. Maybe reading it will give a better explanation. I urge you and all readers to check it out. The design for living outlined in the big book isn't exclusive to alcoholics. The 12 steps can work on anything that has made your life unmanageable! Matter of fact, and you'll appreciate this, alcohol is only mentioned once. God, as we understand Him, is mentioned nine times! LOL!

I love ya!

Hugs

ashok said...

Some try a substance out of curiosity and then get hooked.

Nice blog and useful thoughts here! I landed by chance after clicking next blog on mine.

hawkssong68 said...

Here's the link by the way:

http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/

I can't seem to figure out how to make a link in the comments! Bleh!

Gozreht said...

It wasn't about being too personal against me, I just think some things could be left between family members.

All walks with God are personal. I hope your path is clear. All do come to God, some on their kneees, some with fists, some go straight to His side. May yours lead straight to His side.

To get the link to work I think if you use "a" symbols like you would bold and italics.

Gozreht said...

Ashok,

Greetings to India. I hope you will be enlightened here as well as on your site. You are most welcomed to stay and give your opinions. If we somehow disagree on issues, that is okay. You will be honored and respected. I pray that God above fills your heart and mind with wisdom for all.

Some try and get hooked? Absolutely! But it is still a choice at that point to try it or not. Making the right decisions about any substance going into your body is very important. Thank you for your comment.

hawkssong68 said...

"During an AA meeting at a rehabilitation center, after the prayer of serenity was said and all formalities out of the way, one patient said that he was glad he didn't escalate into other drugs and that he didn't start to substitute one drug for another. Meanwhile the room was getting foggier and foggier because everyone in the room had an average of about nine cigarettes in the hour meeting that was observed."

True story...I was out on Dad's back porch smoking right after my last relapse. I had a coffee can I was using to snuff butts. Dad made a comment about the amount of butts in the can. I looked at him and said, "Those could be empty beer bottles."

One thing at a time. One day at a time...sometimes...one second at a time...

Hugs

The Equalizer said...

Shouldn't have went on business trip. Lost track of these sites.

Hawksong,
You probably don't want me talking about this since we have been on opposite sides before but we're closer here than what you may think.

My dad who claimed to be Christian had a problem with alcohol. Was a mean drunk when it happened and sometimes pushed my mom around. I grew up hating Christians until my mom explained it to me. She said it wasn't the Christian inside that was making him be that way, it was the alcohol. He had a problem since he was a child. I almost let these things get to me. I made a choice not to let them.

I went to your site a couple of days ago and read your story. One thing I picked up on is that you have to let go of the people you were angry with in your childhood. That is what I read from all of it. You are angry and blamed others for your anger which drove you to drink more. I blamed Christians for a long time because of my dad. It was the wrong blame.

hawkssong68 said...

Equalizer....

Read more. You'll find that I have successfully completed all the steps of AA and HAVE forgiven the people from my past. I live resentment free today, to the best of my ability. That doesn't mean that, on occasion, I don't choose to have a little fun and argue! I love to argue! With intelligent people! That's why I'm on here :)

No one learns anything from agreement.

My story is used to help others who are having difficulty staying or getting sober BECAUSE of the God (spiritual) concept. I've been there. I've come a long way. I've got further to go. Some days, it's there. Some days, it isn't. But, at least the cornerstone has settled.

What I want readers to understand is that TO BEGIN the process of sobriety, all one has to do is open up and develop a concept that works for that individual. That's all. The process that follows builds the spirituality the program offers. Too many times, I've seen too many alcoholics fail when TOLD they have to believe a certain way.

It's just not true.

One man, in particular, used to insist that newcomers had to be "saved" to overcome alcoholism. He bragged incessantly about how many men HE had led to Christ! That's fine. But that's NOT the program of AA. I always followed him during the meeting to allow for "the other way". And 82 out of 87 times, a newcomer would thank me and tell me that they had almost walked out.

The cart CAN'T come before the horse.

Peace

Hugs!

Gozreht said...

I see what you are saying. Telling them God is their higher power from the get go will scare many into not trying. They all have to find a higher power that works for them in order to know that they can not do things by themselves. Is that correct?

I can see that. I hope though that this will lead to a path for all who need AA to the real Highest Power.

And I am taking the comment of intelligent people to include me.

hawkssong68 said...

"I see what you are saying. Telling them God is their higher power from the get go will scare many into not trying. They all have to find a higher power that works for them in order to know that they can not do things by themselves. Is that correct?

I can see that. I hope though that this will lead to a path for all who need AA to the real Highest Power.

And I am taking the comment of intelligent people to include me."

<>
***CLAP*CLAP*CLAP***
<>

Exactly! :)

Hugs.

The Equalizer said...

Hawksong,

I do understand what you mean. And I did read how you forgave and how that is part of your healing process, if you will. But from many of your posts I would say you still have resentment. Maybe against God completely. I can't tell. Sometimes it seems like you agree with what seems to be your urbringing and then the next post seems like you resent that part of your life. Either way it's your life and you have to figure it all out.

But to your point about Goz leaving out God. Remember this is not AA. AA may be the place to find what you are calling a higher power and I am glad that you did in your own way. To tell a little more about me, I again had a hard time accepting this higher power as well due to my past and seeing my dad struggle with this addiction. But the only way I can see things straight now is not to substitute one higher power for the real one.

I feel what you are saying. But I also feel that until you and whoever needs to can come to the conclusion that the only higher power is God, then you will never be fully complete in your healing.

hawkssong68 said...

Equalizer...

I just went through about every post I've made on this blog, cause I'm just that kind of a person.

I'm reading that I have a much bigger resentment against Republicans than Christians! LOL!

Thanks for your concern. My relationship with my higher power is exactly where it's supposed to be.

Hugs!

Follow by Email