The mind is the addict’s biggest enemy. It only tries to protect itself, by what it remembers as the one thing that worked for it in the past. We have to teach ourselves new coping techniques. New ways of managing stress, and controlling stress. Addiction doesn’t take the fear, or stress away, it hides it from us, and addiction forces us to think only about one thing, the substance. It’s easier right? Only one thing to think about. It gives us false sense of security.
Normally at the beginning stages of recovery, we have a lot of things in our lives to sort out. Relationships, Finances and of course staying clean. It causes us to stress about a lot of things at once. Fear starts to set in if we don’t see results as quickly as we wanted. You will get memories from your past, memories of how easy life was on the substance. Which is totally false. As your stress hormones increase in your brain, the mind tries to balance itself out. It searches for past experiences, what it believes as positive memories. In the past the substance caused huge spikes in the reward and pleasure centres of the brain, so of course that will be the first thing it thinks of. In the past the substance was the main coping mechanism. That’s all it knows. That’s what it wants. That leaves us to crave, and we start to fear that we will never stay clean, and that we might as well give up, because everything was easier on drugs.
It is extremely important to recognise this. It can lead us back to addiction. But how? How can we change the thinking pattern of our mind? The one thing that we can supposedly trust. Our mind, fails us. We as addicts should realise, that addiction is a disease. It’s a disease of the mind. We need to relearn it. We need to show it other ways to manage without the substance. Every time we overcome a problem without the substance, a new pathway is formed in our minds. In time the mind relearns to cope without the substance. It takes time, and al lot of self-control, discipline.
The mind can be our greatest enemy or ally. It makes us who we are. We need to learn to recognize, when it fails us. We need to teach it new ways of thinking. New ways of coping. We will fail if we don’t.