Narconon Arrowhead, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation and education center located in Oklahoma, recently released its booklet, The Life Cycle and Mechanics of Addiction. Authored by the center’s Executive Director and long-time professional in the field of drug rehabilitation and education, Gary W. Smith, the booklet explains the Three Barriers to Recovery which the addict must overcome to successfully reclaim his or her life from addiction.
The First Barrier to Recovery: Cravings
Every addict or alcoholic without a doubt knows about cravings, the strong and uncontrollable urge to use alcohol or drugs; and which drives the person to once again use the addictive substance.
Overcoming the physical and mental cravings for alcohol or drugs is the first challenge an addict must overcome in order to kick his or her addiction.
Smith notes that the craving an addict experiences “will feel like life itself” depends on getting and taking their drug of choice; and the addict will say or do nearly anything to get the drug he or she needs to handle their intense cravings.
Once the craving is satisfied, the user will feel relief until the drug wears off—and the craving returns.
The author details that some cravings and withdrawal symptoms are caused by vitamin depletion and poor nutrition which follows substance abuse. The cravings and withdrawal symptoms may also result from toxins—those substances the body perceives as poisons—that accumulate in the body with repeated drug use.
Moreover, Smith explains that “the addicted person has learned to medicate” their physical or mental problems with drugs, and will continue to use drugs as the solution whenever he or she feels poorly.
A resolution to overcoming the first barrier to recovery is detailed in The Life Style and Mechanics of Addiction, and is vital data for anyone seeking recovery for themselves or another.
The Second Barrier to Recovery: Depression
Smith explains that depression is another factor keeping “an addict harnessed in his addiction”.
While some traditional medical and psychiatric-based treatment programs diagnose and treat the addict’s depression, claiming it to be the fundamental cause of the addict’s drug or alcohol problem, Smith presents us with a different view—one which makes sense.
Smith notes that in most cases, the individual’s depression manifests after becoming addicted, not before; the cause of the depression “linked to the damage done by the drugs themselves.”
In brief, the author reviews the physical, mental and social factors at work in creating the depression and lethargy (apathy, sluggishness and laziness) which addicts experience. He covers the aspects of declining and poor physical health, the declining quality of the addict’s life on a social level, and the difficulty the addict has experiencing any happiness or joy on a mental level when not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
He closes the chapter detailing why it is that depression occurs in the addict.
The Third Barrier to Successful Recovery: Guilt
The third and final barrier to an addict’s recovery is guilt. Guilt, as Smith says, “Acts as another strap in the harness” which keeps an addict trapped in his or her addiction.
The reason for the addict’s guilt stems from the dishonest deeds he or she has committed against the people the addict cares about. This factor is an integral part of the life cycle of addiction.
Smith details earlier in The Life Cycle and Mechanics of Addiction that addiction starts with a problem, and that the addict has chosen drugs or alcohol as a solution to that problem. He notes that “physical and mental complications then follow.”
The overall result is a serious decline in the individual’s quality of life.
Smith points out that for a rehabilitation program to be successful, it must help the addict face his or her transgressions—the violations of agreements, rules or laws—thereby enabling the person to clean-up “the wreckage of his current life” resulting from addiction and dishonesty.
The booklet closes with a section entitled, Turning the Corner to Recovery, taking an insightful look at what constitutes a workable approach to recovery.
It is a vital read for anyone seeking to understand and overcome addiction.
For a copy of The Life Cycle and Mechanics of Addiction, click here.