Dealing with Addictions: I Can!

The central theme behind every addictive behavior is the ‘’I can’t do without it’’ mentality. Whether it is voiced out or even acknowledged, it is what keeps the addiction going. For most people, it is largely an unconscious thing and for some, it is the excuse they hold on to in order to continue in the addictive behavior or to console them when they fail to resist the urge to return to the behavior.

It is largely a defeatist attitude, and that is one way your body is going to betray you. When the urges come or when the withdrawal symptoms appear, your body is literarily telling you that it needs that drug or that behavior and that it can’t do without it. That is the physical part, often termed ‘physical dependence’. Another form is the preoccupation with the addictive behavior or substance. You cannot focus on any other thing and even when you are trying, intrusive thoughts of the addiction keep distracting you. That is the psychological part, termed ‘psychological dependence’.

Dealing with the physical dependence is hard, it often involves pain as the body learns to do without the substance and it is often the focus of the detoxification program in drug rehabilitation centers. However, the distress from the psychological dependence is more. It is subtle, sometimes not easily identified and often lasts longer than the physical dependence. Dealing with this is the key to staying sober.

Your mind tells you that you can’t do without your addiction and it manifests in restlessness, loss of concentration and repetitive intrusive thoughts and flashbacks of the ‘high’ from indulging in your addiction. That is the hardest war an addict has to fight. It is what determines whether or not he/she will return to the behavior.

It can cause a relapse even after several months or even years of sobriety. In drug addiction treatment centers, an addict is monitored monthly for two years, and if sobriety is maintained, the addict is then discharged from medical treatment, though attendance at self-help groups is still encouraged. It is believed that if an addict can maintain sobriety for two years, he/she would have mastered the act of dealing with the urges and will have built up his life to an extent that he/she would have a lot to lose by returning to the addictive behavior and thus make it difficult to slide back.

Scientific studies show however that the percentage of people maintaining sobriety after five years of drug rehabilitation is very small. This shows that even after mastering the urges, there is still a chance for relapse. The reason is not far-fetched, most addicts still believe that they cannot do without the behavior and even though they fight the urges because they now have something worth fighting for, they eventually lose the battle at some point. The underlying cause is the defeatist attitude of ‘’I can’t do without it’’

Let’s hear from victor

“I had gone for one year without indulging in masturbation on two different occasions and still found myself doing it after a year. On each occasion I was devastated. It had not been easy staying sober but it had become easier gradually to not give in to the urges but the battle was still ongoing. I will find myself wondering if I really could be free from masturbating. There are days when I would think of stimulating myself just to be sure that I could resist.

A part of me was still desirous of the pleasurable feelings that I get from masturbation and I was worried if I would ever find the act totally repulsive. So when finally, I went back, I told myself that I couldn’t really be free. If after one year I was still not strong enough to not be able to say no, then it was not likely that I was ever going to be able to fully resist. I asked myself what the point in practicing abstinence was.

From then on, I stopped trying and just gave in to the urges whenever they come. I reveled in the pleasures and when the guilt comes, I simply push it to the back of my mind. I developed a thick skin to that part of me that was berating me and I didn’t mind the self-loathing.

‘After all, I had tried’, I told myself. ‘I just can’t do it’.

I was in that state for many months before the guilt could not be suppressed anymore. I couldn’t hide from myself and the feelings of self-loathing any longer.

‘You can do better than this’ I heard my mind whisper to me, ‘You can try again’.

I decided to try again and it was harder than the last time. My body was screaming and I was going crazy from not masturbating. ‘You can’t do this, you are not strong enough, and you will eventually give in’, my mind screamed repeatedly.

Some days I could ignore the voices in my head and those were good days. Dry days. On some other days the urges will be so strong that I believed the voices in my head and I told myself that I was not strong enough to fight myself, because that was what it was- a war against my own body. On those days I lost. I masturbated. And I felt powerless and weak and dirty. Horrible days.

It took me a while to discover the pattern. On days when I believed that I was weak and powerless, I eventually lost the battle. On days I told myself that I could do this, I won and felt good. That was when I discovered the secret of winning, the “I can” attitude.

It has not been easy employing this attitude I must confess. It goes against all the way I had been wired for years. I have to unlearn the defeatist attitude of ‘I can’t do this’ and learn the new one ‘I can!’ but I am trying and taking it one day at a time.’’

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27 Comments Add yours

  1. Yemie says:

    I really give it to people who rise up above whatever forms of addictions they’re battling with. The road to recovery’s a long and arduous one, definitely not for the faint-hearted. Self-determination, substantial courage and a lotta discipline’s needed to overcome, with God being on their side of course.

    I also believe that words are very powerful, if you say you can, chances are that you really can and vice versa. Its all a thing of the mind. Thanks for sharing this insightful piece. Maybe you need to dig deep and write a book on addictions. You could either write generally or be specific ’bout a particular type. So many types of addictions plaguing folks out there. Shopaholics, Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, Tat- Addicts( tatoos), Sex Addicts, Internet Addicts, Couch potatoes addicted to non-stop TV viewing, and a host of others too numerous to mention. Folks could do with literatures treating the subject of any type of addiction. Think ’bout it.

    1. topazo says:

      thanks ma’am for the kind words…like it’s said, the dog that has it’s owner’s backing would slay a monkey. with your encouragements and support, I can!

      1. Yemie says:

        Dog slaying a Monkey ke? Now that’s a new one o. Me I no know book o, I cannot fit to shout. LOL!

        Best of luck in your endeavours Doc, you’ve got all it takes and sooo much more to achieve whatever you set your mind to doing.

        1. topazo says:

          new one ke? abi u no too sabi proverbs and adages…

          thanks ma’am for the kind words…you are a blessing!

          1. Yemie says:

            Don’t mention omo iya, you’re a blessing to this generation too, in so many ways than one.

            Just so you know, me I no sabi plenty proverbs, I be City Lass. Sue me! LOL!

            1. topazo says:

              city lass? *coughs…

              1. Yemie says:

                Ariiii! Pele o Topazo, eeyah! That self-inflicted cough wll not be the death of you. Ero pese, j’ebure se o gbo? ROTFLMAO!

                1. topazo says:

                  hehehehehe…ese ma, owo yin naa la ba nbe

                  1. Yemie says:

                    LMAO. Topazo, o serious o. You be case, I swear. Omo ake l’ota e, chai! Na which kain person be dis o? God help me o! Haba! Gentle lady ni mi , emi kii se fighter o, ki enikeni maa sin mi lo sibi ija. Especially you, Doc.

                    1. topazo says:

                      sin e lo si bi ija means you are eager to go and are just looking for a sidekick or in this case a sparring partner….and you found me! and now you have got this adrenaline rush….

                    2. Yemie says:

                      What can I say? Different strokes for different folks. I see it differently from where am standing. You see ‘6’ and I see ‘9’. So I can understand your plight. Me I no be fighter chikena. But I can defend maself, see the difference, Doc? Egbe osi! LOL!

                    3. topazo says:

                      yes, I can see clearly…you are the meekest woman on earth! @’egbe osi’…lolz

                    4. Yemie says:

                      Na u sabi o. Shoot me! *tongue out*

                    5. topazo says:

                      shoot you? haba, I am not like you na…count me out

                    6. Yemie says:

                      Will you just look at that! Of course I know you’re NOTHING like me, you couldn’t possible be na, I’m in a league of my own, igi imu jina s’ori na. Do you remember that Goldie’s song? Goldie of blessed memory, the one she featured Eldee? It goes a lil something like this: ‘We’re not the same o, I’m in my lane o, igi imu jina s’ori, o ye ki won kilo fun e…… LOL!

                    7. topazo says:

                      remember fela’s song( fela of blessed memory? since we are talking about dead singers) ‘me and you no dey for the same category..’
                      yes, you are so right…my level is waaaay past yours….hehehe

                    8. Yemie says:

                      Dreams can come true, Doc. Afterall Mo Abudu says if we can dream it, then we can do it. Don’t worry, iwo naa a gun oke agba lalaipe laijina. Amo o, o maa se opolopo suuru. You’ll get to ma level and surpass it, just keep on singing that Fela’s evergreen song. And I know you’re a damn good singer, so please, don’t stop. By all means sing,sing and sing some more, don’t stop o. Omoluabi, omo ire b’iyan! LMAO!

                    9. topazo says:

                      lolz! mama niyen! e pe fun wa o…..

                    10. Yemie says:

                      Amin ojare, aburo mi to daa. Omo boy to chan! Omo boy ti o we, to n dan. Wa sere jo! Oti Popopopopopoju! Ekun Baba! Maa jaye oloba ojare, kosi nkankan. Maa jo lo, mo n w’ehin e, omo Ogundare, ko s’iberu fun omo Jesu. Doki Oloye, wa gbayi! ROTFLMAO!

                    11. topazo says:

                      mehn! only me?! my head wan burst o….lolz!

                    12. Yemie says:

                      Burst ke? Ki a ma ri! What can fa? Ti ori e ba wu ju ba yen lo, iyen o le rara; lehin ki a la igi mo. Lobatan abi? LOL!

                    13. topazo says:

                      lolz….who will do that? you?

                    14. Yemie says:

                      I’ll sooo gladly do the honours if you don’t mind. I mean, I’d consider it a mighty big honour to render my humanitarian services and free of charge too. My kindly heart wouldn’t bear to collect a dime from you, aswearigawd! You’d like that wouldn’t you? As long as the head retains its original shape, then no lele. And we’d all be the happier for it. LMAO!

                    15. topazo says:

                      really…you would do that? look me in the eye and put forward your hands to strike me? oh generation of eve…looking adam in the eye while offering him the deadly apple….*resignstofate

                    16. Yemie says:

                      C’mon Man, don’t be so melodramatic! Na wetin concern Adam ati Eve for dis matter na? Ok, we’ll find a better option to getting your head back to assuming its normal shape with a less severe approach. So ease up, stop fretting. Se mo w’ire? LOL!

                    17. topazo says:

                      now your talking! that’s my dashing big sis…*widegrin

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