Alcoholism

Bottles of liquor lined up on concrete surface outside

Bonding With Liquor

There is much concern in the media about vaping, opioid use disorder and even the legalization of marijuana, but why are we forgetting to address alcoholism? The world keeps spinning and new drugs keep reaching the surface, but alcohol has been around since 80 million years ago, when our human ancestors consumed rotting fermented fruit rich in ethanol.

We’ve been bonding with liquor since the beginning of time; alcohol is the real epidemic that needs to be more carefully addressed! The question is, why do you like alcohol so much to the point of sacrificing your health, relationships, job or even your life? Many people will give you different responses, some honest and some based on denial.

The most uncommonly common answer is, “I just like it!” You have to understand that not all alcoholics have developed their addiction based on the unfortunate circumstance of getting hooked on the drug. Many simply just like the taste, smell and high that they get from alcohol.

When people think of alcoholics, they believe that something bad must have happened in their lives, and that they unfortunately self-medicated with alcohol to the point of becoming addicted. That’s not always the case! Many people also started binge drinking in college for the sake of partying, and eventually lost control.

Many adolescents start binge drinking in high school and eventually lose control. The loss of control over the use of alcohol happens for many reasons. Again, one big reason that is often left out of the picture is the love for the high that alcohol provides. It makes the user feel elated, relaxed, disinhibited and it’s easy to consume: just pour it in a glass and enjoy!

Bonding with liquor can be a truly enjoyable process as compared to other drugs. The ingestion of alcohol is so convenient and there’s always the mental comfort that it’s legal to use. But with other drugs such as marijuana, the act of smoking or even worrying about legality is too much of a pain and concern.

In addition, not everyone likes the feeling of other drugs such as marijuana or opioids, because they still want to be functional while under the influence. With alcohol, one can still go to work intoxicated and no one may have a clue! Alcohol is also very easy to disguise: just mix it with some Pepsi or Coca Cola and you have yourself a concealed mixed drink on the go!

Overall, ease of use, functionality, disinhibition, burial of negative emotions and a pleasantly confident high are the main reasons why alcoholism develops, and why more than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States.

What are your feelings towards alcohol?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Addicted To Addiction

Closeup photo of green and white signage of person running towards arrow and door

Warning: Addiction Territory Ahead

No matter the amount of pleasure that some people seek and receive, it never seems to be enough. Either more of where that came from is their thought process, or they seek a new form of pleasure. Not every source of pleasure is derived from a substance, but all sources of pleasure have the potential for inducing an addiction.

Why are some people more prone to developing an addiction? What is an addiction? Why do we feel the need to provide ourselves with pleasure? These are all fundamental questions that need to be answered in order to better understand ourselves, and the decisions that we make in our everyday lives.

An addiction is a state of mind that involves a person becoming dependent on a source of pleasure. Dependence is a state of relying on or being controlled by something. People can be dependent on alcohol, drugs, sex or even other people, known as dependent personality disorder!

Some people are more prone to developing an addiction because it has a great deal to do with their personality traits and genetics. If their relatives had addicting personalities, there’s a high chance that their genes were passed onto them; genes have a great influence on personality. Some people also enjoy pleasure more than others: what might be “fun and cool” for one person hitting a fat J, might be “amazing and dope” for another.

The “amazing and dope” person could be that one person who develops Cannabis Use Disorder, Severe. The same applies with sex, eating, gambling and any other type of pleasure that happens to be very reinforcing. Reinforcing means that you want it over and over again, because of the intensity of the pleasure; your behavior for seeking a particular activity is credited, strengthened or reinforced with pleasure.

We feel the need to provide ourselves with pleasure because it’s human nature to feel rewarded and happy. Without pleasure, life would be mundane. Depression and suicide rates would probably be astronomically higher than they already are. But keep in mind that pleasure can also lead to a mundane, depressing and suicidal state of mind!

At the end of the day, pleasure is innate in all of us. We need pleasure to survive. But what we don’t need is that invisible line that we are all susceptible to crossing over into addiction territory. You’ll never actually see the line, but you’ll be bombarded with warning signs and flashing lights! When this happens, stop and return back from where you came from. It means that you’ve overdone it with pleasure.

Don’t overdo pleasure; it’s much sweeter in moderate amounts.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Parents Of Addicted Loved Ones

Crying monk statue surrounded by outdoor plants

Stolen Soul

Addiction has no boundaries; it swarms in like swat and gets the job done. In this case, the drug or behavior gets you hooked. The first thing that is stolen is your mind: your reward center in your brain essentially tells you “forget your boring past, I want me some more XYZ.” Then you get more XYZ and the rest is history.

This is followed by your body: it often feels relaxed while using a drug or participating in an addicting activity. This good feeling is provided by your brain; you can’t complain, especially while on opioids. The last thing that is stolen is your soul. By this time, the drug or addicting activity has changed who you are as a person; you have been transformed into a new character.

Parents of addicted loved ones are experiencing a living nightmare. Can you imagine how difficult it is for them to see their son or daughter transformed into an addict? They were once that little boy or girl who was running around in the playground or being tucked into bed for a comfy afternoon nap, looking back into their eyes saying, “I love you mommy!”

But this is what addiction does: it not only destroys the user but the family unit. It is often very difficult for parents to ever accept their addicted loved one back into their life. The great pain which they have experienced has led them to create a barrier from their addicted loved ones, in order to prevent any more suffering.

Addiction is a very difficult mental disease to live with for everybody involved: the addict is clearly suffering but so is the family. Many would argue that the family suffers more because they have to bear the pain and frustration of seeing their addicted loved one collapsing into pieces. At least the addict reaps spurts of joy here and there from their pleasure of choice.

At this point in time, the fight to treat addiction has not been successful by relying just on medications and therapy. This calls for a new action plan: the bringing together of humanity and holding open discussions about how we can help one another stay sober and free of addiction; an international shift in mentality. The DSM Ready Movement is that platform!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Alcohol State Of Mind

Rock glass filled with green alcohol in front of bar

Giving Up Alcohol For A Month

Ethanol has a very sneaky way of slithering into your life; sometimes it’s present for an appropriate and lovely evening, while at other times, it’s joining you on a midday binge. The legality of the substance is a deception. Alcohol is one of the most addicting and deadliest substance known to mankind.

It’s excellent at disinhibiting you and allowing you to flow in and out of conversations; even with strangers. For some shy folks, alcohol is their miracle drug; they have finally found a solution to shedding away their personality and replacing it with a new and improved one.

Of course, any “new and improved” personality brought upon by alcohol is part of the deception of the slithering potion. Paradoxically, your perception of a new and improved personality is often painful and disgusting for others to bear and tolerate. Family and close friends suffer when they see a loved one robbed of their true self.

And that’s what alcohol does best: it makes you grandiose, boosts your confidence, disinhibits you and makes your surroundings more enjoyable but at the expense of your true colors. When a person crosses the invisible line from social drinking into pathological drinking, they have left their true self behind.

Giving up alcohol for a month is a good start! But prior to arriving at thirty days of sobriety, it is important to take baby steps:

  • Step 1: decrease your quantity of alcohol during weekdays
  • Step 2: decrease your quantity of alcohol during weekends
  • Step 3: drink a lower quantity of alcohol on fewer weekdays
  • Step 4: drink a lower quantity of alcohol on fewer weekdays + weekends
  • Step 5: avoid drinking alcohol during weekdays
  • Step 6: avoid drinking alcohol during weekends
  • Step 7: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire month
  • Step 8: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire six months
  • Step 9: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire year
  • Step 10: avoid falling back down to step 1

When alcohol senses that you are trying to break up, it will attempt to hit you harder by introducing insecurity, uncertainty, depression, anxiety and withdrawal symptoms into your life. This is alcohol’s way of keeping you hooked; any indication that you are trying to break free and the hook digs deeper into your soul.

To avoid battling alcohol addiction, you must avoid ever experiencing an alcohol state of mind. For some people, they will never get addicted. But for most who expose themselves to large quantities, the addiction was born prior to their first sip; their mind knew that one day their nucleus accumbens and ethanol would toast together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cocaine Cowboys

Human anatomy display of cocaine effects on the body

Why Cocaine Addiction Bites

The addiction to cocaine has never ended, despite an ongoing opioid crises. There is concern that cocaine use is on the rise and that a stimulant epidemic may be awaiting the end of the current opioid epidemic. Why is cocaine on the rise and what do people like about it?

Cocaine comes from the coca plant native to South America. It is considered a stimulant like coffee but much stronger. It has a strong psychological potential for addiction; no physical dependence is evident, meaning no physical withdrawal occurs when a user stops using the drug.

Why people like cocaine:

  • It provides a feeling of intense pleasure
  • You become more talkative and confident
  • It provides a full-body stimulation
  • It makes you feel more superior than others
  • It increases your self-esteem
  • You feel more energetic and sociable

Unfortunately, users experience many negative effects with cocaine:

  • Memories of euphoria increase the risk for psychological addiction
  • Anger, paranoia, anxiety
  • Nausea, increased body temperature, increased heart rate
  • Seizures, heart problems and death
  • Psychosis and hallucinations
  • Weight loss, high blood pressure, severe tooth decay

Cocaine has a very short-lived intense high. When users become hooked on the drug, the high is followed by depression and a strong craving for more. Tolerance then increases, resulting in higher doses of the drug needed to achieve a similar effect as before.

Overall, cocaine may see a resurgence in the near future. If you or anyone you know is suffering from cocaine addiction, seek help as soon as possible. With mental health and addiction support services, a place in your heart to stop and The DSM Ready Movement here to listen and provide a caring environment, you can defeat cocaine addiction today!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Why E-Cigarettes Have Hit A Left Turn

Person in black hoodie vaping

Smoking Mirrors

E-Cigarettes were never meant to be targeted towards the adolescent population. They were in fact designed to be a replacement of cigarettes for long-term smokers. But somewhere along the lines, adolescents started to get their hands on them, resulting in a massive epidemic. Adolescents see these devices as fun, easy to use and easy to hide; vaping can be done in bars, restaurants, malls or even in schools. The vapor has no smell and it disappears within seconds.

Vaping also is considered cool in the adolescent world: teenagers learn to do “vape tricks” and even get paid on Instagram for advertising the different types of E-Cigarettes. What do these companies get out of it? A large growing, vulnerable and immature portion of our population who is throwing money their way and helping the industry strive! It is unfortunate that this industry is taking advantage of our youth, despite the health consequences that come along with vaping.

The FDA recently reported that 35 people have had seizures from E-Cigarettes by accidentally or intentionally ingesting the liquid cartridge. 35 is a minuscule number, but will this be the beginning of a large study proving that E-Cigarettes decrease the seizure threshold in its users? And what consequences will this have on users who have a family history of seizures but are too addicted to stop vaping? In addition, vaping does not mean that one’s lungs are not harmed.

E-Cigarettes may be slightly safer than cigarettes due to the lack of combustion which results from lighting up the tobacco in cigarettes; however, they still contain a number of harmful chemicals: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, acetaldehyde, acrolein and formaldehyde. These chemicals are toxic to cells and can cause lung disease as well as cardiovascular (heart) disease. Acrolein is a herbicide used to kill weeds; it can cause COPD, asthma, lung cancer and acute lung injury.

E-Cigarettes have not been found to be effective in helping smokers quit. Nicotine is the addictive culprit. E-Cigarettes have only replaced the mode of inhalation, from smoking to vaping, but nicotine is still present when one inhales vapor; hence, the addiction never clears the smoke. The DSM community is about promoting excellent mental and physical health, and with knowledge and honesty, we can lead the way on promoting a healthier and more vibrant society.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Addiction Epidemic Of K2

A man lighting up a k2 joint

K2: A Parasite Of The Brain

K2 or Spice is a drug sold in convenience stores across the United States. It is made up of synthetic cannabinoids that bind to the same receptors in the brain that THC in Marijuana binds to. It is mass produced by chemists in China and other countries, resulting in mass-importation on the black market.

However, this garbage of a drug causes seizures, bizarre behavior, psychosis and even death. This is because the chemists alter the chemicals after the DEA bans the last batch’s chemical properties. In return, users never know what they are inhaling.

The drug continues to remain easily accessible because of the changed chemistry of new batches that enter the market. It is very unfortunate that people lower their standards and use drugs that are chemically manufactured and which serve no purpose. Supposedly, the high is similar or more intense than Marijuana, but why do people choose to smoke a fake version of Marijuana that can cause them to have seizures?

The answer is because addiction comes in many shapes and forms; it is like a demon creeping in the alleyway, waiting for its next victim to terrorize. That is why we must come together and better understand how to defeat addiction. Consciousness may be universal, and by coming together, we can create a better and more thorough understanding of our thoughts; sort of like a “world wide consciousness.”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Turn Your Addiction Into Self-Love

Two addicted burned out females smoking

Your Antivirus Is The Power Of Love

That bottle of Jack, that pack of Camels, that hit of a Fattie . . . all tempting compulsions that have been integrated into your daily habits as a source of pleasure; your brain releasing increasing amounts of the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Your consciousness suddenly enters the state of mind that you have been waiting for; you’re on Cloud 9! Now you ask yourself, “which enjoyable activity do I proceed to?”

The above statement is a typical mindset of a user abusing substances. And this pattern repeats itself for years, even decades for some. The problem is that the mind of the user, the brain per-say, has been hijacked; the reward system of the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens is in love with this new source of pleasure called “drugs.” It wants you to keep using, and in return, it gives you dopamine which makes both your brain and you, the user, feel good. But as I talk about in my other post, this relationship is not healthy and will never last, and if it does, it will last at a low depressing level. So how do we work on dissolving an addiction? Remember that thing called love? Sure you do; it trumps everything because the source is from God our creator. By calling on God to give you energy and love, he will help you curb your addiction. But first things first: you must work really hard to love yourself. No human who is addicted can possibly say that they love themselves, when they deliberately proceed with their drug addiction; you are basically hurting yourself. Once you tap into that source of love, you will discover that love will now reach the Nucleus Accumbens and naturally stimulate it to be happy without any substances; as it was intended in the first place when you were born.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Any Type Of Addiction With Self-Respect

An open container with needles, drugs, spoons and cigarettes

Addiction Ends When You Want It To

It’s no shock that we are currently experiencing multiple drug epidemics: methamphetamine and opioids. Some even suffer from Gambling Disorder. But what is driving humanity to becoming slaves to addiction? The answer is: lack of self-respect and control. We often seek a change in consciousness because we get bored with our reality.

We want something more exciting and enticing that will bring us stimulation. But that is where the problem lies; these addictions hijack our brain like a virus does to a computer, to the point that we must function under the virus until we feel motivated enough to undergo reprogramming.

Reprogramming is not always successful, truth be told. Sometimes the virus is so destructive that we end up losing the hardware. The solution is to increase your self-respect and avoid/prevent/or stop the process of addiction from taking place.

By self-respecting yourself and realizing how much you have to be thankful for (just the fact that you are living) should be enough! Resist the urge to seek a replacement for your current reality and instead find fulfillment in healthy activities that can bring you peace of mind and joy.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)