Drug addiction is a powerful and destructive force that rips families apart and ruins the lives of good people every day.
It is important to note that drug or alcohol addiction is not just about the individual on drugs. It’s about the families, loved ones, friends and community that surround the addict who also suffer, sometimes as much or more than the addicted person themselves.
The greatest suffering for those who love the drug user is almost always the helpless feeling of not knowing what to do to keep the person from destroying his or her life with drugs.
Usually, those individuals who love and care for someone who is addicted are WILLING to help the person get off drugs, but often lack the knowledge of what it is they are dealing with. Therefore, many efforts to help the drug user get better or quit drugs are not successful. When these attempts fail, a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness often results.
Fortunately, no matter how hopeless it may seem, the trap of addiction can be undone. With a complete understanding of addiction and the proper tools to apply, virtually anyone can rid themselves of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol and lead a productive and drug-free life. By reading this, you are gaining an understanding of addiction and will see how the Narconon® Program can help.Why People Take Drugs
For drugs to be attractive to a person there must first be some underlying unhappiness, sense of hopelessness or physical pain. These negative emotions, feelings and sensations are “problems” for the person, as they don’t want to feel or experience them.
The problem the person is having seems overwhelming and they believe a solution is not available to them. This could be a physical discomfort such as an injury or chronic pain. It can also include problems such as having difficulty “fitting in” as a child or a teenager, anxiety due to peer pressure, or as is often the case with young people, shyness or even boredom.
Everyone has experienced problems like these in life to a greater or lesser degree. The difference between an addict and a non-addict is that addicts choose drugs or alcohol as a SOLUTION to their unwanted problems or discomforts. They then adopt drug or alcohol use as a common, “fix-all” solution to any other problems they become faced with in the future.
There are hundreds or thousands of “problems” that a person might be attempting to solve by using drugs or alcohol. The truth is that these problems are actually NOT solved by the use of drugs or alcohol, they are only masked temporarily. The real underlying problems remain untouched.
When the drug user becomes addicted they feel ashamed of their own inability to control their life. This being another problem, the person will then resort to the same “solution” which caused these problems in the first place: MORE DRUGS.
Drugs are never the solution to problems, if only because they create far more problems than they could ever hope to solve.What Drugs Do
The simple truth is that drugs are essentially poisons. One of the first destructive side effects that drugs have on any individual is the burning up of the nutritional stores in the body. Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are the actual fuel that the body needs to properly function and to repair itself.
Taking drugs accelerates the burning up of these nutrients. It is partially the rapid consumption and depletion of these nutrients that helps to create a totally artificial sense of well-being while under the influence of the drug.
This causes cellular damage often leading to discomfort, pain, disease and unfortunately, the need for more drugs. As the person continues to use drugs, their physical condition becomes worse and worse.
As the amount of drugs taken increases, the physical damage done to the addict’s body becomes greater as well. By constantly blocking the body’s internal warning signs the person can allow real physical problems to grow out of control. The drug user can often be dreadfully sick, yet be utterly unaware of the illness due to the numbing effects of drugs. The end result is a continually worsening physical condition and in some cases, disease-related death.
This presents a problem. Drug users hope they can quit drugs and live a normal life. However, when they attempt to stop, they have no energy and feel bad all the time.
They naturally want to feel good and not sick. As they are unaware of the actual causes of the way they feel and have no alternative method of handling the problem they are caught in the trap of having to go back on the drug or suffer through life without it..How The Body Adjusts To Drugs
(Dangerous effects of continued use)
In time, as the person uses any drug, his or her body will begin to adapt to the presence of these toxic chemicals. The body, in effect, gets used to having the chemicals in it.
People’s tolerance to a drug will increase the longer they use the substance. As the tolerance builds, the euphoric effects become less and less the more and longer they use the drug. They compulsively try to achieve the same good feelings the drug once gave them by taking more and more of the drug.
The body’s tolerance to the drug masks the poisoning effects of the larger and more lethal amounts of the drug that the addict needs to take to kill the physical pain or discomfort that exists when they are not under the influence of the drug. At this stage of addiction, the individual is prone to overdose.Other Dangers OF Drug Use:
We experience the world around us through sensory channels such as smell, sight, touch, hearing and taste. These sensory channels are like the microphone and camera lens of our mind’s video camera that receive the sensations and perceptions we use to handle our environment and function in day to day life.
Without the ability to sense the environment a person can become a great danger to themselves and others around them. Drug use causes people to lose their ability to perceive the world around them, making them a hazard to themselves and others.
However, life doesn't have to be this way! The Narconon Program offers a road out. There is a very specific technology used at Narconon to address each aspect of drug addiction. We will first explain how drugs get stored in the body and then how the Narconon Program actually works.Understanding Drug Cravings And Relapse
The experience of craving drugs is sometimes just a passing thought by the person during a busy day. Sometimes the drug craving can seem like an overwhelming, unstoppable urge that only the use of more drugs can satisfy.
In either case, drug cravings are the leading cause of relapse for a person who is desperately trying to leave drugs behind. Fighting these daily or hourly desires to use drugs is a humiliating and frustrating battle for those who seek to quit drugs. The process of craving drugs can literally go on for the remainder of the drug user’s life if the CAUSE of the drug craving is not completely handled.
For example, a person who has been using drugs for years somehow manages to stop. He is currently sober, but his thoughts are constantly fixed on drugs and alcohol. Although he is no longer using drugs to solve his problems, he does not have the ability to solve his problems without drugs. He is usually miserable and life is a constant struggle. Life is consumed with the battle against drugs and it is everything he can do just to keep himself from getting high. The addict then decides that he would rather use drugs and “feel good” than be depressed in a life without them.Chemically Triggered Drug Cravings
The body identifies drugs as toxins or poisons as soon as they are taken. This causes the liver and kidneys to instantly begin breaking the drug down to allow it to be excreted by normal bodily functions. The drugs are broken down into what are called “metabolites,” which are more easily eliminated from the body. Unfortunately, many of the drug metabolites are drawn to the fatty tissues that surround the blood vessels and become trapped there. In other words, the metabolites stick to the fat cells in the body and build up every time more drugs are taken. Studies suggest that drug metabolites can affect the body’s functioning for a very long time, even decades.
Chemically triggered drug cravings occur when the drug metabolites that have stuck to fat cells are released back into the blood stream and travel to the brain. This can happen any time the person’s body burns fat for energy. Normal life situations like stress, exercise or anger can launch the metabolites into the bloodstream from the fatty tissue, where they flow to the brain and cause drug cravings.
While one may have heard stories about individuals having “flashbacks” from LSD, individuals who have used any drug can experience frequent and subtle drug “flashbacks” and can also have drug cravings for years after they have stopped taking the drug.
When these memories are triggered, the individual feels bad, but doesn't know WHY. Again, this can occur at any time, regardless of what the person is doing. All that has to occur is for the metabolites of past drug use to be released back into the bloodstream and travel to the brain.
While in this state, the person can easily fall back into the pattern of addicted thinking, which is: “if you feel bad, take a drug or drink and you’ll feel better.” In spite of real and logical reasons he or she has to NOT use drugs, the person involuntarily desires to use drugs again.
Without the total removal of these drug metabolites from the body, even an addict who has managed to come off drugs may experience these drug cravings, or chemically triggered drug memories, for years after getting sober.
Drug cravings are the most common reason for relapse after typical substance abuse rehabilitation. When these cravings hit, former addicts who have been clean for months or years can suddenly find themselves back on the street using drugs, baffled by their failure to control themselves and their addiction.
The only effective way to completely rehabilitate the individual is to address the biophysical aspects of the addiction. Without removing the toxins stored in the fatty tissue, the drug user’s chance at real rehabilitation is very low, as they are being constantly bombarded with the chemical triggers that cause drug cravings.
Drugs and other toxins lodged in the body can be flushed out and eliminated through a specific program called the New Life Detoxification Program. This process is one of the first and key steps in the Narconon Program. Only when the body is cleansed of toxins can the addict see what led him or her to drugs in the first place and address underlying, previously hidden problems.Declining Personal Values
Another problem that occurs with drug use is the gradual lowering of a person’s morals and personal values. Commonly, a drug user needs the drugs he or she has become addicted to but doesn’t have the money to buy them. To solve this problem, the person frequently steals money from their parents. The drug user knows that stealing money from their parents is wrong but commits the act anyway in an attempt at solving the problem of needing drugs.
In addition to stealing from the family, the person lies to the family about the things they have done. Each time the drug user comes in contact with his or her family he or she is reminded of these actions and must withhold this act from his or her parents because of the fear of punishment.
This is one reason that the person will start to pull away from or be unable to face or confront those people, places and things they have done wrong. It becomes easier to just avoid the family and the guilt they feel. The drug user may also distance themselves from the family by becoming angry toward them. This is another means of removing themselves from the family by making excuses to cut them off.
At this point it becomes appealing to the addict to join a gang, live on the street or to hang out with other drug users. In this environment, they will not feel judged by others and will not have to hide their addiction. Usually they find themselves getting in trouble with the law and in danger of going to prison. There is no limit to how low one can go once he or she has fallen into this trap. Here, the only future available to the addict is incarceration or death.
However, there are methods utilized by the Narconon Program to help the person get honest and straight. This part of the program gets the addict to take responsibility and confront what he or she did in the past, realize who may have been influencing them and show them how to unburden themselves from the guilt and shame that come about from drug use by providing a system to repair past transgressions.Overall
There is a false idea that drug and alcohol addiction can be effectively treated through the “magic pill” theory or the idea that someday there will be some “quick fix” solution for the problem of addiction. This has not been nor will it ever be the case. There is no pill that someone can take to overcome drug and alcohol addiction.
The Narconon rehabilitation method systematically resolves each of the underlying factors of drug or alcohol addiction and teaches addicted individuals how to repair the damage done to their relationships and improve their quality of life. It is not always easy, but those who have honestly done the Narconon Program know that people can stably overcome addiction and lead happy and productive lives. Our program is one of the most effective rehabilitation methods available today. Past and continuing studies show that the majority of our graduates achieve stable drug-free, ethical and productive lives.
You have an opportunity to give yourself or a loved one REAL help. Don’t take it for granted that there will always be time to deal with this or that the addict will not get worse. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the person can:
- Get arrested.
- Cause an accident and possibly die.
- Get robbed, raped or killed by a drug dealer or gang.
- Take a bad batch of drugs leaving them permanently damaged.
- Or simply continue to live a miserable life without meaning.