It is not I who become addicted, it is my body. - Jean Cocteau

Addiction of any type actually changes the pathways in a person's brain. It changes who the user IS. For example, in studies, it has been found that those addicted to pornography have similar brain patterns to soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Their brain process has been altered because of the addiction.

The body has a physical response when the substance or behavior is used. The brain releases feel good chemicals, in addition to the drug that has it's own chemicals, that change us. The brain and body then become dependent on those feelings. There is physical and psychological discomfort, and even pain, when the substance isn't received by the body. The user is so uncomfortable, they partake again of the drug.

It's a circular pattern that is easy for the observer to see: Drug taken, body high, drug leaves, body pain and hurt, drug needed to sustain the unnatural feelings, drug taken. Again and again. Over and over. It's a downward spiral that is oh-so difficult to break away from. Most people dealing with addiction will not be able to over come it on their own.

When a person abstains from the drug of choice, withdrawal occurs. There are actually two types of withdrawal. Acute withdrawal is the first phase. This is where sweats, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, headaches, extreme mood swings, etc. are seen. This is the super ugly part where the physical hold the drug has on the body can actually be seen. This is usually a fairly short phase that the addict is most afraid to experience. It is painful and miserable and awful.

The second phase is Post-Acute Withdrawal. This is the phase where the rubber meets the road. The attempt at sustained abstinence from the drug of choice. The measured use of food, the Internet, exercise, spending, gambling or whatever it may be. And while the physical symptoms of withdrawal are greatly diminished at this point, they still exist.

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.