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"Guilt" The Third Barrier to Successful Recovery Part IV   PDF  Print  Email 

The third and final barrier to the harness and trap of addiction is "Guilt".

An addict is filled with guilt. He feels guilty because he has lost his integrity; he has become a dishonest person and consequently loses his self-esteem.
For any rehabilitation method to be successful an addict has got to face his transgressions and be able to clean up the wreckage in their life that is there because of their addiction and the dishonest deeds that are part of this life style.

A person who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol doesn't just wake up one day and say; "Gee, I think I'll start using drugs until I destroy my family, my relationships and my life in general."

As discussed in this series of articles, addiction starts with a problem; drugs or alcohol are chosen as a solution to relieve the discomfort one is experiencing by not being able to solve the problem; then the physical and mental complications occur all adding up to the person's quality of life in a state of decline.

Before the life cycle of addiction starts, addicts start out as basically good people with some sense of right and wrong and with no intention or desire to hurt others.

As the cycle of addiction progresses and the cravings and other mechanics of addiction begin to dissolve the individual's self-control, they begin to get into situations where they are doing and saying things they know deep down aren't true or right, all to cover up or hide their drug use.

If the pattern of abuse continues they eventually become trapped in a vicious cycle of using drugs, hiding the fact, lying about using and even stealing to support more drug use.

At each turn, the addict is committing more dishonest acts and with each act is creating more damage in their life and relationships, all of which has been committed to memory.

When the addict commits a harmful act or dishonest deed, they develop a memory of that deed and all the surrounding circumstances at the moment the deed was done.

Contained in each memory is who was involved, the time and place the deed occurred and what the end result of the dishonest deed was.

The addict knows these negative actions are wrong and because the person himself, not the addicted personality, is good they will feel bad or guilty after the dishonest act was committed.

These memories of guilt accumulate and can then get triggered in the present or future when they see the people and places that were involved when the transgressions occurred and they feel bad about it.

In time these transgressions are committed more and more often and the people in the addict's life where these transgressions have occurred become "triggers" that remind the person of the dishonest act or deed.

The people, family members, loved ones and friends' appearance to the addict triggers the guilt. Family or friends don't necessarily have to say a word to the addict--just the sight of them can trigger the guilt!

Guilt is an unpleasant feeling and so can prompt the addict to use more drugs to temporarily relieve themselves from this unwanted condition.

The addict will also begin to withdraw more and more from friends and family as the transgressions committed by the addict increase in number.

They will eventually pull away from the family, seclude themselves, and/or become antagonistic towards those they love.

Remember, the basic personality of an addict is good and the reason they end up withdrawing from those they love is because they know they are doing the wrong thing and the act of withdrawing from those places and people that the addict has harmed is the addict's attempt to restrain themselves from committing any further transgressions to those places and people they care about.

Coming next… The Life Cycle and Mechanics of Addiction: Overcoming the Barriers to Successful Recovery: Part V

News and Topics of Interest
The abuse of prescription drugs has increased dramatically in recent years, with marked increases in the abuse of some of the online pharmacies' best-selling products, such as narcotic painkillers and anxiety drugs like Valium. Hydrocodone, the active ingredient in Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet, seems to have seen the biggest jump in usage. In its annual drug use survey, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found prescription drugs were second in popularity only to marijuana among substance abusers last year. In 2002, some 6.2 million Americans - 2.6 percent of the population 12 and over - were nonmedical users of prescription drugs, meaning they had abused drugs at least once in the month before taking part in the SAMHSA survey.

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