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Cross Addiction

If you understand the fundamentals of addiction, you’ll understand that it was never about the drugs or alcohol or other self-destructive behaviours.

What characterizes addiction is the obsessive and compulsive nature of the behaviour and also what happens when we do act out on that behaviour. We start a process that is exclusive to our condition, POWERLESSNESS. Powerlessness means that we lose control and our lives become unmanageable. Unmanageability can be characterized by looking at certain areas of life.

Socially, Financially, Spiritually and emotionally. If we take an honest look at those areas of our lives, we will see, specific examples where the powerlessness has affected our very core.
Cross addiction is when you swop one drug of choice for another, quiet plainly it’s just allowing the manifestation of obsession to filter into different areas.
The way the brain works in addiction is like this. Our pleasure centers get overloaded with dopamine to name but one chemical.
Dopamine is a brain chemical involved in many different functions including movement, motivation, reward – and addiction. Nearly all drugs of abuse directly or indirectly increase dopamine in the pleasure and motivation pathways and in so doing, alter the normal communication between neurons.
-drugabuse.gov

Living in Recovery

There is a difference between recovery and abstinence.

It took me close on ten years to figure out the difference between the two. One is a fight, the other is freedom. I’ve often heard people saying that it’s a constant fight to stay clean. In my opinion that is abstinence, if you are truly in recovery there is no fight. The desire to use has left me and my days are about freedom of choice. I know I can decide to use if I want but I don’t have that pull any longer. Don’t get me wrong, obsession is still alive and well in me, it just manifests itself in other areas of my life or tries too.

I have the ability to “log” off and sit on the couch all day watching TV. I also have the ability to let my need for pleasure take over and run my life, I don’t mean with drugs or alcohol. If something like sex makes me feel good, I have ability to become too dependent on it. The pleasure centre of my brain is abit broken it seems, my experience shows me that I will do whatever it takes to feel good. One key aspect of addiction I need to remember is that if I’m a drug addict, using drugs doesn’t satisfy that craving. If I’m an alcoholic, drinking doesn’t soothe that thirst. It shows me that the drugs were not the problem. The problem is me and what’s inside of me. My coping mechanisms are did functional, my ability to handle stress is limited, and I coped with situations by putting chemicals into my system, an exterior feeling exterminator if you will. Something had to change.

My life is not easy, I still have my struggles. My life is simpler though, I have a basic routine that I follow that seems to help keep me in check. I do all the same things that got me clean at the beginning of recovery and guess what? A miracle happens, I stay clean. Those few simple things are as follows;

Pushing Through

It’s not always rainbows and sunshine in early recovery. Gone is the myth, just because I’ve stopped using everything will be okay now. On the contrary, because you’ve stopped using or acting out on your addiction you will start to see the REAL wreckage of your past. All those feelings that have been pushed down for so many years start to surface. Don’t back away, it’s now time to move forward and start sorting through it all.

Pushing Through To Recovery

My experience with this was particularly moving. There have been very few times in my life when I have experienced such an immense amount of freedom through turmoil. Digging into the shame and guilt of the past was difficult but I noticed the harder it was to feel and deal with, the more freedom I experienced.

It isn’t and hasn’t always been easy since those days.
I’ve often heard people say “Life on Life’s terms” and I realize that I’m not only powerless over my addiction but I’m powerless over people, places and things.