Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town. - George Carlin

The brain is now functioning at a normal level. However, the user is conditioned by the drug use to expect the "high". The body is still craving the chemicals. So, even though the person is healthier and happy about making good choices, he or she may feel down. Or underwhelmed by life. Or consistently grumpy.

A very good example of this is seen in gastric bypass patients. The ability to get high from food is no longer available. They cannot get the physical response from eating that they used to. Thus, many individuals who have had this surgery develop addictions to other behaviors. The body is so conditioned to the high that the person replaces addiction to food with addiction of another sort to stave off coming down. It is so uncomfortable in their own skin without the high they must replace it with another behavior. To say addiction of any kind does not have a lasting physical hold on a person is a gross mistake.

In order for a person to truly overcome an addiction, the body has to reach a new equilibrium. The true normal. This process takes years. Two years, actually. During that time, even when the user refrains from use and life is undoubtedly better, he or she can't really embrace that feeling. It's a blanket of emotion that cannot be sourced. Meaning, if someone asked him or her to explain where the sadness or anxiety or lack of enthusiasm comes from, he or she really couldn't put a finger on it. He didn't just get dumped. Or lost a job. Or have a fight. No particular event or string of events can be identified as the trigger. It just is. And it can't be overcome. No matter how many times the blessings are counted, the laughs are had, the prayers are said or the friends called, the feeling is pervasive.

The good news is that this is an encouraging phenomenon. It means the pathways in the brain are healing. The body is being restored. While uncomfortable, it is finite. There is an end. The user is not a bad person. Or an unhappy person. Or a mean person. The person is feeling the repercussions of a destructive habit. For those who engage in the process, while repentance may have been completed, the consequences of the behavior remain.

1 comment:

LWR said...

I totally relate to all this in my weight loss. It's VERY uncomfortable! :( But true... and hard ...

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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.