The term addiction generally refers to the situation where drug procurement and administration appear to govern the individual’s behavior, and where the substance seems to dominate the individual’s motivation and where the normal constraints on behavior are largely ineffective.
The individual is normally motivated to engage in a variety of behaviors. The relative importance of these rewards can be ranked to form a motivational chain of command. Addictive substances have the unique ability to disrupt this motivational chain of command. They do this in two ways. First, they can rapidly displace other motives in the individual’s life, thrusting them to the top of the motivational ladder. Second, they can disrupt the ability of other, natural rewards to motivate behavior.
Many factors influence a person’s initial drug use. Personality characteristics, peer pressure, and psychological stress can all contribute to the early stage of drug abuse. Stress is a major cause of addiction. When the external pressures build up some people use drugs or alcohol to shelter their stress and provide the sense of well being. The development of the addiction brings no longer relief but disharmony. Effective stress management requires two basic things:
- Alter our lifestyles to accommodate healthy daily practice.
- Go inside of our own heads, confront, and change our dysfunctional thinking with doctrine: The rational expression of thought.
Chemical dependency is a serious social, health, and metal problem. It disrupts families, ruins careers, destroys bodies, tears apart friendships, and leads to untold human misery.
Addiction can be described as:
- Of long duration of time; continuing
- Lasting for a long period of time or marked by frequent recurrence
- Subject to a habit or pattern of behavior
Consisting of interconnected or interwoven parts; with a group of related; often repressed ideas and impulses that compel characteristic or habitual patterns of thought, feelings, and behavior.
1. Moving forward; advancing.
2. Proceeding in steps; continuing steadily by increments
- Physiologically Debilitating:
Impair the strength of; to weaken; to enfeeble which interferes the normal functioning and characteristics of a life with one’s own health, social, and economic functioning.
This learned behavior is taught to you by repetitious and habitual actions. This self-inflicted problem centers on self and the free will of personal choices.
The most common misunderstanding is that addiction refers to a state of physical dependence on a drug or behavior whereby discontinuing produces a withdrawal syndrome consisting of various somatic disturbances. Addiction is better defined as a behavioral syndrome where procurement and use seem to dominate the individual’s motivation and where the normal constraints on behavior are largely ineffective. This condition may or may not be accompanied by the development of physical dependence. This condition has also been described as a “psychological” addiction (thus distinguishing it from physical dependence termed “physical” addiction), but confusion is minimized by using the term addiction to refer to the behavioral syndrome described above and the term physical dependence to refer to the condition associated with withdrawal reactions. The distinguishing feature of the condition commonly referred to as addiction is the ability of the drug to dominate the individual’s behavior, regardless of whether physical dependence is also produced.
The activation of brain reward systems is largely responsible for producing a drug’s potent addictive properties. Personality, social, and genetic factors may also be important, but the drug’s effects on the central nervous system (CNS) remain the primary determinants of drug addiction. Other factors are likely to be important in influenc
ing initial drug use and in determining how rapidly an addiction develops. For some substances, factors may interact with the drug’s action to produce compulsive substance use. In these cases, “addictive behavior” may involve use of substances that are generally not considered addictive.
Initial use of these substances is usually accompanied by mood elevation and other affective changes that lead to their recreational use. Some drugs have actions that produce other desirable psychological effects, such as relaxation.
It basically comes down to personal choice. What determines whether a person becomes dependent is how much he consumes and for how long, rather than his personality, psychodynamics, or biochemistry. Addiction is a progressive. It engulfs its victim psychologically and physically that creates a moral condition for which he or she is responsible.
Every human being has an inner need for a real and growing relationship with God. When the craving is denied, unrecognized, and unfilled, a search for something else will fill the vacuum. Addiction is any thinking or behavior that is habitual, repetitious, and difficult or impossible to control. Addictions have one thing in common they change moods. Almost any person can be psychologically and or physically on drugs if that person is exposed to a high dosage for a long enough periods.
Our lives are a series of habits, held together in perfect sequence by our subconscious mind. Whether it is over indulgence or the task of typing on my computer keyboard, the subconscious takes me through the paces without having to think about results – or consequences. Over 90% of our daily living is an action of habit, systematically driven by our subconscious mind. Healthy habits like washing our bodies, brushing our teeth, driving a car or looking both ways before crossing the street are behaviors learned by the Subconscious mind and fed back to us without a conscious thought.
The subconscious takes me through the paces without having to think about results – or consequences. Over 90% of our daily living is an action of habit, systematically driven by our subconscious mind. Behaviors learned by the Subconscious mind and fed back to us without a conscious thought.
“Only a small percentage of the brain is under conscious control. We are responsible for this part of our thought processes. The vast majority of brain function is Subconscious.”
“Only twenty percent of our decisions come from the conscious or the reasoning mind. The rest come from deep within.”
The surface problems that hinder our progress are only a result of the root causes with in us. These root causes are our internal adversaries and barriers deeply rooted with in our unconscious and subconscious mind. These hindrances have been designed to oppose us internally because of repetition and affirmation for periods of time.
The term addiction generally refers to the situation where drug procurement and administration appear to govern the individual’s behavior, and where the substance seems to dominate the individual’s motivation. Two features that distinguish addiction from other behaviors are its extreme motivational strength and its motivational toxicity. Motivational strength refers to how hard the individual will work to obtain the substance, while motivational toxicity describes the substance’s ability to disrupt the individual’s normal motivations. This latter characteristic is particularly interesting because it may serve as a defining characteristic of addiction.
The individual is normally motivated to engage in a variety of behaviors. The relative importance of these rewards can be ranked to form a motivational chain of command. Some motives will rank high, being extremely influential in the individual’s behavior, while others will rank low, being relatively unimportant. The relative positions of motives on this chain of command will vary from individual-to-individual as do what motives are even included on the list.
Addictive substances have the ability to disrupt this motivational chain of command. They do this in two ways. First, they can rapidly displace other motives in the individual’s life, thrusting them to the top of the motivational ladder. Second, they can disrupt the ability of other, natural rewards to motivate behavior. The drug addict characteristically places substance use as their top priority, while losing interest in life’s other rewards. The intense desire to experience the effects of the addictive substance combined with the inability of natural rewards to engage behavior is subjectively experienced as a “loss of control.” This perception, in a sense, is correct: the normal controls on the individual’s life have lost their significance and behavior focuses on procurement and self-administration of the addictive substance.
No-one sets out to be an addict – to be dependent on a particular drug.
Unfortunately with many substances the process is inevitable, and it’s only recently scientists have started to understand what’s going on when a drug user becomes hooked.
Clare Stamford of University College London, who studies the biochemical process of addiction, says: “People continue to take drugs because they like what the drugs do and want to keep on taking more.
“Unfortunately, people keep taking drugs because if they don’t, they get plummeted into a withdrawal syndrome which can be uncomfortable and life threatening.”
Drugs like morphine and heroin work by entering a “reward system” in the brain.
The quicker the effect of a drug wears off, the more addictive it tends to be.
But the issue of drug addiction goes far deeper than just a biochemical process in the brain
They attach themselves to custom-built receptors into which the drug molecules fit like a key into a lock.
We live in a society that is terrified of feelings. In the addictive system that characterizes our culture, feelings are avoided through the institutionalization of shame and the use of the addictive process. Both are diversions. Both are taught and supported by external forces. Each feeds upon and reinforces the other. Alternatively, shame is used to avoid facing an addiction and then the addiction is used to avoid facing the shame. Both are used to distort, deny, or divert feared and unwanted feelings. The use of the addiction as a “fix” to avoid experiencing shame is a temporary solution; it merely results in compounding the problem by increasing the shame. And so the cycle continues.
A PROCESS addiction is an addiction to a way of living (which sometimes leads to acquiring an addictive substance). For example, the “dry drunk” is a person who exhibits the behaviors, attitudes, and thinking associated with the active alcoholism, but without using the chemical. A dry drunk is not using the infective agent, yet is acting as if she or he was. Thus not drinking alone does not constitute recovery; in order for an alcoholic to become sober and maintain sobriety, she or he has to make major changes in attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, thinking, and practice.
Thus addicts confuse the intensity of acting out, with intimacy, in feeling connected in the moment of intensity, the addict believes it is a moment of intimacy. In fact, it is a nurturance through avoidance. For the addict, different objects and events (eating, gambling, drinking, chemicals, etc.) all have in common the ability to produce a positive and pleasurable mood change, which is fundamentally rooted in emotional isolation, not in true relational connection. The process of addiction involves movement, development, and change. As an addiction develops, it becomes a way of life, a lifestyle.
This cycle causes an emotional craving, resulting in a mental preoccupation, leading to a behavioral action, which leads back to the emotional hunger. Thus for an addict the feeling of discomfort becomes a signal to act out, not a signal to connect with others, oneself, or with God. The more a person seeks relief from an inner emptiness and pain through addiction, the more shame they experience. Hence, she or he becomes shame-bound and loses self-respect, self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-love. The tragedy, and the powerlessness, of the addictive process are seen in the abuse cycle of the addict seeking refuge from the pain of addiction by moving further into the addictive process! Progressing , the delusional system will become more complex and have a quality of rigidity. The delusional system [of the addict] is commonly described as a wall surrounding the person.
Rituals have been described as a language of behavior, designed to give comfort at times of crisis or during times of conflict or stress. Addicts use rituals and addictive rites to create a mood, to ease their tension or discomfort, and so produce a sense of release. This inner struggle between control and release is a characteristic theme of a person involved in an addiction. Thus another way of describing the addictive cycle is as follows: Control Phase – Trigger – Release Phase – Shame – Control Phase etc.
Withdrawal creates a big hole or emptiness which may have precipitated the original numbing behavior. Thus, if the addictive process is rooted in compulsive acting out from feelings of emptiness, then in the recovery process the addict can learn to fill the emptiness in new ways which nurtures the Self. Addictions serve to disassociate the addict from his or her spiritual core. Frequently, the addict has learned the survival strategy in childhood of disconnecting from his or her feelings as a means of adapting to a painful emotional reality. Hence they become aware of an emptiness that cries out to be filled. Their addiction becomes the process of trying to fill the void.
Does the concept of “recovery” contradict the spiritual truth of becoming a “new creat
ion” in Christ?
- “Recovery” is in the Bible – The term “recover” actually does appear in the Bible in 2 Timothy 2:26. The Greek word used there, “ananepho” actually means to “return to a state of soberness, as from a state of delirium or drunkenness.” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W. E. Vine, pg. 263).
- Recovery is sanctification – Using the concept of recovery emphasizes the fact that it is a process, and not something that happens in an instant. This is just how the Bible refers to sanctification — the continuing process of growth into the image of Christ. In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul refers to sanctification as a process. In this passage the word translated “transformed” is in the Greek present passive indicative tense, which implies an on-going activity, rather than a one time act. Paul, then, exhorts believers to actively and consciously engage in an on-going process of separation from their old sinful way of life and to increasingly set themselves apart to God through a continual renewal of their minds.
- Recovery is an on-going process of “yielding” – In Romans 6:19, Paul shows how the yielding of our bodies to sin results in ever increasing wickedness and uncleanness. In secular terms, this is very analogous to the charts that illustrate the passage of the addict through the increasingly destructive phases of alcoholism. Later in the same chapter, Paul explains how, through the experience of becoming born again and walking in the newness of life in Christ enables us to become “slaves of righteousness.” Therefore, he urges believers to present the members of their bodies as “servants of righteousness unto holiness.” (KJV) The Greek word used here is “hagiasmos,” translated “sanctification” in many other passages.
The issue of personal responsibility in addiction cuts across neuroscience, clinical practice, religion, culture, and legal codes.
In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center