How to Guide: Using Your Addiction for the Greater Good

While you are in the midst of drug or alcohol addiction, sobriety can pose itself as the unachievable goal…

It can be near impossible to picture yourself without the substance you so eagerly crave right now. It can be near impossible to see how you could ever rebuild the life you once had. It can be near impossible to picture how you will get back your friends and family.

And, do you know what can seem even more impossible?

Finally, being able to give back to your community.

I know what you are thinking…

Give back? But, wait, you’re an addict. How will you ever be in a position to give back to your community?

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You don’t have millions of dollars. You don’t have your own business to just start giving homeless people jobs.

But, you do have one of the greatest gifts of all….

Your story. Your testimony. Your past.

Millions of people around the world are struggling with addiction each and every day. Oftentimes, they could really just use a helping hand. Someone who understands, someone who can offer valuable advice…

And someone who is actually credible.

Yes, of course, the doctors, nurses and program directors that aid in addiction recovery are very valuable, knowledgeable, and credible sources. However, for an addict, they still need to hear advice from someone who knows first-hand what they are experiencing.

Someone from the inside.

So, once you have taken the steps to overcoming addiction, how can you help others and give back to your community? These few simple ideas could turn your addiction around for the good.

Work harder and smarter.

When you become employed again, or even if you never lost your job, focus on being the best you can be and being 200 percent better than you were before.

Now that you have found a new take on life, focus your energy on improving your work ethic. At your new job, or just your revitalized same job, work hard to impress the boss. It will pay off not only emotionally but potentially monetarily, as well.

Lend a helping hand.

There was a time when you were the one in need – maybe of just advice or maybe even of food and water or shelter.

If you have a friend or know someone struggling, talk with them. See what you can do to help.

You could even join an addiction recovery support group

This will help you meet others like yourself and you can continuously work to encourage each other. You will be surprised how much of an impact you can really make.

Just remember, at one point you needed help – now, it is time to repay that debt.

Let’s Talk Science: The Biology Behind Addiction

You know addiction is unhealthy – whether it is drug addiction, alcohol addiction, addiction to pornography, addiction to food…

The list goes on.

But, whatever the subject of your addiction might be, it isn’t good for you. You know – like the saying “Too much of even a good thing is bad.” That is what I am talking about – even if it is something small like food, too much of it can still be bad.

Few people understand the true feelings and struggles that come with addiction, but even fewer people actually understand the science behind it – where it comes from and how it affects your brain.

Even as an addict you might not fully understand the “how” and the “why” behind your addiction. However, learning the hard-hitting facts about addiction might just be the wake-up call some people need to overcome it…

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What does addiction do to your brain?

The part of the brain known as the “reward circuit” is the area most commonly affected by drugs. As a result of the intake of the drugs, the reward circuit becomes flooded with dopamine.

Dopamine is essentially a neurotransmitter released when something is pleasurable.

Furthermore, the reward center is what controls the body’s ability to feel pleasure and motivates a person to repeat those activities – therefore, when dopamine is released, your reward circuit reads this and advises you to keep participating in that activity.

As the individual continues to use their drug of choice, the brain adjusts to the excessive amount of dopamine being flooded into the reward circuit and will begin to require more. This is why a person will begin to develop an “immunity” or “tolerance” to the drug and will need to consume more to feel the same high they once felt.

Long-term drug use can also affect:

  • Judgment
  • Stress
  • Behavior
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Decision-making 

Why do people become addicted to drugs?

Addiction can be a result of biology – the genes each person is born with account for about half of their risk of becoming an addict of some sort.

Addiction can be a result of a person’s environment – from economic status to their general quality of life, factors such as sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, and peer pressure can greatly increase a person’s susceptibility.

Lastly, addiction can also be a result of development – genetic and environmental factors interact with critical stages of development in a person’s life that can influence their risk of becoming an addict.

“A” is for Addiction: A Complete Overview of the Disease Plaguing America

By definition, addiction is the condition or fact of being addicted to a particular thing, activity, or substance.

Although it is often thought of in relation to drugs or alcohol, addiction does not only apply to those two general substance categories. Addiction could be in relation to pornography, various sexual acts, food, or other items such as cigarettes.

Oftentimes, addicts feel alone. They feel as if they are the only ones who have ever experienced such pain and trouble. But, I think they often forget about the large definition encompassed by addiction. They forget about the people addicted to food, pornography, or cigarettes.

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Show Me the Facts

Just to remind you that you are not alone, take a quick look at these statistics…

  • In the United States, in 2014, 21.5 million American adults (ages 12 and over) battled substance abuse disorder.
  • Also in 2014, in the United States, over 7 million Americans battled a drug disorder.
  • In research done on porn addiction, 54 percent of men polled said they visit porn websites frequently.
  • Another recent survey done on porn views shows that approximately two-thirds of U.S. men – 64 percent – view porn at least monthly.

You are not alone. You are never alone. Someone else out there somewhere is also struggling to overcome their addiction.

How do people become addicts?

Many people don’t understand the “how” or the “why” behind addiction. Oftentimes, those looking in from the outside will wonder…

“Why can’t you just stop?”

“Can’t you just not buy the drugs or the alcohol and forget about it?”

Sadly, most addicts wish it was that simple. But, unfortunately, it is not.

Addiction is a chronic disease. It is characterized by compulsive, or difficult to control, behaviors despite the known harmful consequences.

It can be a result of a variety of factors – biology, development, and environment.

Oftentimes, those who become addicts have been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused. Or, they might come from parents who have a history of addiction.

Sometimes, the causes might even be unknown. But, typically there is an underlying event or trait that has led the person to become an addict. While ultimately the choice is still theirs, they might still have a predisposition for the disease – similar to cancer or Alzheimer’s.

But, that does not mean you cannot overcome it. With some determination, dedication, and a strong support system, you can be on your way to escaping the disease that is plaguing America.

Taking a “Leap of Faith” to Recovery

Do you remember when you first decided to walk with Christ? It literally took a leap of faith. It takes trusting something that you cannot see – trusting that He will guide you, take care of you and that He knows what is best for you.

The decision to go to recovery can be compared to that leap of faith taken in your spiritual life. It takes a leap of faith to trust that it will work. You have to believe that your life will be better once you overcome addiction. You have to trust that the staff at the Christian substance abuse treatment centers know what is best for you.

Even though the recovery facility might have a proven track record of success, it can still be hard to trust that it will work for you. Maybe you are just skeptical, or maybe this is not your first go around with recovery…

Whatever the case might be, it will take a leap of faith.

Most people who have overcome addiction had to do it that way – you just say you are going to get better and take the jump to get there.

But, what happens when you combine spirituality with your addiction recovery and do take that leap of faith?

You will become empowered…

The combination of your spiritual faith and the faith you must place in yourself to overcome addiction are magical.

You see, recovery is also in part a mental thing…

There will be several times when you think… ”I can’t do this anymore,” or… “I am a failure.” Addiction recovery is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. And, we won’t pretend that it is. It takes dedication, hard-work, and a major support system.

But, with the Almighty One on your side, you have the biggest support system you could ever want. Take the leap of faith – literally and figuratively…

Pick yourself up and go to rehab because you need it and it will make a difference in your life. But, also take the spiritual leap of faith and trust that He will carry you through the trials and tribulations that come with recovering from drug addiction.

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If you find yourself needing some words of encouragement, here are a few encouraging quotes that might help when going through addiction recovery:

  • “Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be only afraid of standing still.”–Chinese Proverb
  • “Release your past into the universe and embrace your future with opened arms.”―Delma Pryce, ABOVE AND BEYOND: My Spiritual Journey 
  • “Faith is, by its very definition, belief without proof.”―Stephen King
  • “… sometimes to find the answer, you have to take a leap of faith.”―Dianna Hardy, Summer’s End