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Old 10-07-2009, 02:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Science of Addiction


I am in some classes now that are teaching me about the neuroscience behind addiction. It is quite fascinating to watch a power point presentation and sit there and hear them talk about something called "drug-induced dopamine deficiency" and then explain how it takes awhile for the brain to heal therefore depression and low affect is normal in the first year of recovery and show me how my brain is working and go in my head, "that's me!!" I had a number of those moments. I also think it is another form of validation and a very strong one. However, I could not regurgitate the science to you in any comprehensible way. There are a lot of sites out there that could. So for anyone who is interested, it might really give a boost to your recovery:

Addiction: "Drugs, Brains, and Behavior - The Science of Addiction"
The New Science of Addiction: Genetics and the Brain

A teaching power point from NIDA that is completely comprehensive (all NIDA materials can be freely distributed):
http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teachi...ads/Teach6.ppt
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting these SFG
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. I researched alcoholism when I suspected I had a problem, and the more I read the more I said, "yeah, that sounds like me!"

In the end, the knowledge I had about alcoholism just made me a smart alcoholic!

The piece that I REALLY struggled emotionally with was admitting I was powerless over alcohol - The science didn't help me with that one!

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Old 10-08-2009, 12:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. I researched alcoholism when I suspected I had a problem, and the more I read the more I said, "yeah, that sounds like me!"

In the end, the knowledge I had about alcoholism just made me a smart alcoholic!

The piece that I REALLY struggled emotionally with was admitting I was powerless over alcohol - The science didn't help me with that one!

Dave
same here with canabis....at one point i could draw the moluculair structure of a THC molecule...but did it stop me from smoking??? no way
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I read far enough into this study to see that they were including alcohol as a drug before I decided to quote this:
Quote:
How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Drug Addiction
Throughout much of the last century, scientists studying drug abuse labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When science began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. Those views shaped society's responses to drug abuse, treating it as a moral failing rather than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punitive rather than preventative and therapeutic actions. Today, thanks to science, our views and our responses to drug abuse have changed dramatically. Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain have revolutionized our understanding of drug addiction, enabling us to respond effectively to the problem.
There are some folks out there, even alcoholics in recovery that still feel that alcoholism and drug addiction are both the results of weak will power or morale flaws. All of the scientific proof that it is a disease is simply poo-pooed/ignored. I often wonder if they also beleive we never went to the moon and TV is all magic!!!

What I do find interesting is that so far all though there is no cure provided by science for alcoholism or drug addiction, the best long term solution for the majority of drug addicts and alcoholics has proven so far to be a spiritual solution.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What I do find interesting is that so far all though there is no cure provided by science for alcoholism or drug addiction, the best long term solution for the majority of drug addicts and alcoholics has proven so far to be a spiritual solution.
This is great timing for me. For the last week or so this idea has been grinding away at my conciousness, just sinking a little bit deeper and gaining some traction.

What has changed in the last 70 years about alcoholism? Only that we've written down a lot more information concerning it's causes and effects. That's it. We know a lot more about the science of addiction than we ever did before.

The solution remains the same.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There was a recent article in the Journal of Addiction that said that people who didn't drink where more likely to be depressed than those who do, even those who drink excessively. Those who drank excessively, however, were more likely to suffer anxiety.

Hmm... Maybe the dopamine thing, that kind of fits, uh?

Many conclusions could be reached. It does, I think, underscore the importance of some type of recovery program for those alcoholics who stop drinking. For me the spiritual solution seems a good fit and definitely has prevented depression, for me anyway.

I don't know... I just have this built in bias that there is something so intangible about our psyche that science will never find it... Maybe whatever that is doesn't have to be seen in a spiritual context... But still, we are so much more than the sum of our parts and the ratio of our neurotransmitters, for example...

Good stuff sfgirl, I know where you are coming from here... We are not unique, there are certain biochemical reasons why we feel things and how... It still leads us to the same question, right? How do we recover?

Thanx
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Our solution remains the same, not THE solution, for those of us in AA no matter how much science advances, they are still basically "proving" all of those conclusions Bill came up with all those years ago with Dr Silkworth and Carl Jung. He was spot on.

The twelve steps absolutely work (for me) but lets respect the house we are in, as in we are in SFGirls house right now, and she takes a more scientific approach to her recovery.

It's not I don't agree with yall, and I have the same solution and conclusion, I just wanted to point out it's OUR solution not THE solution.

Attraction not promotion fellas

This is what worked FOR ME

This is still my all time favorite outside the BB description of what thinking looks like in a still active alcoholic, I hope it's on topic

Quote:
Addiction means always having to say you are sorry Ó and finally, when being sorry is no longer good enough for others who have been repeatedly hurt by the addiction, addiction often means being sorry all alone.

Addiction is often said to be a disease of denial Ó but it is also a disease of regret. When the addictive process has lasted long enough and penetrated deeply enough into the life and mind of the addict, the empty space left by the losses caused by progressive, destructive addiction is filled up with regrets, if-onlys and could-have-beens. In early addiction the addict tends to live in the future; in middle and late addiction he begins to dwell more and more in the past. And it is usually an unhappy, bitterly regretted past.

The first casualty of addiction, like that of war, is the truth. At first the addict merely denies the truth to himself. But as the addiction, like a malignant tumor, slowly and progressively expands and invades more and more of the healthy tissue of his life and mind and world, the addict begins to deny the truth to others as well as to himself. He becomes a practiced and profligate liar in all matters related to the defense and preservation of his addiction, even though prior to the onset of his addictive illness, and often still in areas as yet untouched by the addiction, he may be scrupulously honest.

First the addict lies to himself about his addiction, then he begins to lie to others. Lying, evasion, deception, manipulation, spinning and other techniques for avoiding or distorting the truth are necessary parts of the addictive process. They precede the main body of the addiction like military sappers and shock troops, mapping and clearing the way for its advance and protecting it from hostile counterattacks.

Because addiction by definition is an irrational, unbalanced and unhealthy behavior pattern resulting from an abnormal obsession, it simply cannot continue to exist under normal circumstances without the progressive attack upon and distortion of reality resulting from the operation of its propaganda and psychological warfare brigades. The fundamentally insane and unsupportable thinking and behavior of the addict must be justified and rationalized so that the addiction can continue and progress.

One of the chief ways the addiction protects and strengthens itself is by a psychology of personal exceptionalism which permits the addict to maintain a simultaneous double-entry bookkeeping of addictive and non-addictive realities and to reconcile the two when required by reference to the unique, special considerations that Óat least in his own mind- happen to apply to his particular case.

The form of the logic for this personal exceptionalism is:

o Under ordinary circumstances and for most people X is undesirable/irrational;

o My circumstances are not ordinary and I am different from most people;

o Therefore X is not undesirable/irrational in my case - or not as undesirable/irrational as it would be in other cases.

Armed with this powerful tool of personal exceptionalism that is a virtual "Open Sesame" for every difficult ethical conundrum he is apt to face, the addict is free to take whatever measures are required for the preservation and progress of his addiction, while simultaneously maintaining his allegiance to the principles that would certainly apply if only his case were not a special one.

In treatment and rehabilitation centers this personal exceptionalism is commonly called "terminal uniqueness." The individual in the grip of this delusion is able to convince himself though not always others that his circumstances are such that ordinary rules and norms of behavior, rules and norms that he himself concurs with when it comes to other people, do not fairly or fully fit himself at the present time and hence must be bent or stretched just sufficiently to make room for his special needs. In most cases this plea for accommodation is acknowledged to be a temporary one and accompanied by a pledge or plan to return to the conventional "rules of engagement" as soon as circumstances permit. This is the basic mindset of "Iăll quit tomorrow" and "If you had the problems I do youăd drink and drug, too!"

The personal exceptionalism of the addict, along with his willingness to lie both by commission and omission in the protection and furtherance of his addiction, place a severe strain upon his relationships with others. It does not usually take those who are often around the addict long to conclude that he simply cannot be believed in matters pertaining to his addiction. He may swear that he is clean and sober and intends to stay that way when in fact he is under the influence or planning to become so at the first opportunity; he may minimize or conceal the amount of substance consumed; and he may make up all manner of excuses and alibis whose usually transparent purpose is to provide his addiction the room it requires to continue operating.

One of the most damaging interpersonal scenarios occurs when the addict, usually as the consequence of some unforeseen crisis directly stemming from his addiction, promises with all of the sincerity at his command to stop his addictive behavior and never under any circumstances to resume it again.

"I promise," the addict pleads, sometimes with tears in his eyes. "I know I have been wrong, and this time I have learned my lesson. Youăll never have to worry about me again. It will never happen again!"

But it does happen again Ó and again, and again, and again. Each time the promises, each time their breaking. Those who first responded to his sincere sounding promises of reform with relief, hope and at times even joy soon become disillusioned and bitter.

Spouses and other family members begin to ask a perfectly logical question: "If you really love and care about me, why do you keep doing what you know hurts me so badly?" To this the addict has no answer except to promise once again to do better, "this time for real, youăll see!" or to respond with grievances and complaints of his own. The question of fairness arises as the addict attempts to extenuate his own admitted transgressions by repeated references to what he considers the equal or greater faults of those who complain of his addictive behavior. This natural defensive maneuver of "the best defense is a good offense" variety can be the first step on a slippery slope that leads to the paranoid demonization of the very people the addict cares about the most. Unable any longer to carry the burden of his own transgressions he begins to think of himself as the victim of the unfairness and unreasonableness of others who are forever harping on his addiction and the consequences that flow from it. "Leave me alone," he may snap. "Iăm not hurting anybody but myself!" He has become almost totally blind to how his addictive behavior does in fact harm those around him who care about him; and he has grown so confused that hurting only himself has begun to sound like a rational, even a virtuous thing to do!

Corresponding in a mirror image fashion to the addictăs sense of unfair victimization by his significant others may be the rising self-pity, resentment and outrage of those whose lives are repeatedly disturbed or disrupted by the addictăs behavior. A downward spiral commences of reciprocally reinforcing mistrust and resentment as once healthy and mutually supportive relationships begin to corrode under the toxic effects of the relentless addictive process.

As the addictive process claims more of the addict's self and lifeworld his addiction becomes his primary relationship to the detriment of all others. Strange as it sounds to speak of a bottle of alcohol, a drug, a gambling obsession or any other such compulsive behavior as a love object, this is precisely what goes on in advanced addictive illness. This means that in addiction there is always infidelity to other love objects such as spouses and other family - for the very existence of addiction signifies an allegiance that is at best divided and at worst -and more commonly- betrayed. For there comes a stage in every serious addiction at which the paramount attachment of the addict is to the addiction itself. Those unfortunates who attempt to preserve a human relationship to individuals in the throes of progressive addiction almost always sense their own secondary "less than" status in relation to the addiction - and despite the addict's passionate and indignant denials of this reality, they are right: the addict does indeed love his addiction more than he loves them.

Addiction protects and augments itself by means of a bodyguard of lies, distortions and evasions that taken together amount to a full scale assault upon consensual reality. Because addiction involves irrational and unhealthy thinking and behavior, its presence results in cognitive dissonance both within the addict himself and in the intersubjective realm of ongoing personal relationships.

In order for the addiction to continue it requires an increasingly idiosyncratic private reality subject to the needs of the addictive process and indifferent or even actively hostile to the healthy needs of the addict and those around him. This encroachment of the fundamentally autistic, even insane private reality of the addict upon the reality of his family and close associates inevitably causes friction and churn as natural corrective feedback mechanisms come into usually futile play in an effort to restore the addict's increasingly deviant reality towards normal. Questions, discussions, presentations of facts, confrontations, pleas, threats, ultimatums and arguments are characteristic of this process, which in more fortunate and less severe cases of addiction may sometimes actually succeed in its aim of arresting the addiction. But in the more serious or advanced cases all such human counter-attacks upon the addiction, even, indeed especially when they come from those closest and dearest to the addict, fall upon deaf ears and a hardened heart. The addict's obsession-driven, monomaniacal private reality prevents him from being able to hear and assimilate anything that would if acknowledged pose a threat to the continuance of his addiction.

At this stage of addiction the addict is in fact functionally insane. It is usually quite impossible, even sometimes harmful to attempt to talk him out of his delusions regarding his addiction. This situation is similar to that encountered in other psychotic illnesses, schizophrenia for example, in which the individual is convinced of the truth of things that are manifestly untrue to everyone else. Someone who is deluded in the belief that he is the target of a worldwide conspiracy by some organization will always be able to answer any rational objection to his theory in a fashion that preserves the integrity of his belief system. Even when he is presented with hard and fast data that unequivocally disproves some of his allegations, he will easily find a way to sidestep the contradiction and persist in his false beliefs. (He can for example easily claim that the contradictory data is itself part of the conspiracy and is expressly fabricated for the purpose of making him look crazy! Anyone who has ever tried -uselessly- to reason with delusional patients knows the remarkable creativity and ingenuity that can be displayed in maintaining the viability, at least to the patient, of the most bizarre and obviously erroneous beliefs.)

The addict's delusions that he is harming neither himself nor others by his addictive behaviors; that he is in control of his addiction rather than vice versa; that his addiction is necessary or even useful and good for him; that the circumstances of his life justify his addiction; that people who indicate concern about him are enemies and not friends, and all other such beliefs which are patently and transparently false to everyone but himself, are seldom correctable by reason or objective data and thus indicate the presence of genuinely psychotic thinking which, if it is more subtle than the often grotesque delusions of the schizophrenic, is by virtue of its very subtlety often far more insidious and dangerous to the addict and those with whom he comes into contact. For in the case of the delusional schizophrenic most people are quickly aware that they are dealing with someone not in their right mind - but in the case of the equally or at times even more insane addict, thinking that is in fact delusional may be and commonly is misattributed to potentially remediable voluntary choices and moral decisions, resulting in still more confusion and muddying of the already turbulent waters around the addict and his addiction.

In many cases the addict responds to negative feedback from others about his addiction by following the maxim of "Attack the attacker." Those who confront or complain about the addict's irrational and unhealthy behaviors are criticized, analyzed and dismissed by the addict as untrustworthy or biased observers and false messengers. Their own vulnerabilities may be ruthlessly exposed and exploited by the addict in his desperate defense of his addiction. In many cases, depending upon their own psychological makeup and the nature of their relationship to the addict, they themselves may begin to manifest significant psychological symptoms. Emotional and social withdrawal, secrecy, fear and shame can cause the mental health of those closely involved with addicts to deteriorate. Almost always there is fear, anger, confusion and depression resulting from repeated damaging exposures to the addict's unhealthy and irrational behaviors and their corresponding and supporting private reality.

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Old 10-08-2009, 06:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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NIcely said Ago

I could have predicted the answers your post was going to get Sf

i.e. science is all very well but lets talk aa
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanx Ago... I was simply speaking for myself. I have no doubt that recovery has many paths. I hope my post wasn't overly weighted towards mine.

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Old 10-08-2009, 07:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Great post Ago, it made me go back and reread my post, I thought I may have been insinuating that AA was the only path to long term sobriety, heck even the founders of AA state right in the Big Book that the solution they found was not the only one out there, merely the one that had at that time that had worked for them and about 100 alcoholics of that day.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:13 AM   #12 (permalink)
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There was a recent article in the Journal of Addiction that said that people who didn't drink where more likely to be depressed than those who do, even those who drink excessively. Those who drank excessively, however, were more likely to suffer anxiety.

Hmm... Maybe the dopamine thing, that kind of fits, uh?

Many conclusions could be reached. It does, I think, underscore the importance of some type of recovery program for those alcoholics who stop drinking. For me the spiritual solution seems a good fit and definitely has prevented depression, for me anyway.

I don't know... I just have this built in bias that there is something so intangible about our psyche that science will never find it... Maybe whatever that is doesn't have to be seen in a spiritual context... But still, we are so much more than the sum of our parts and the ratio of our neurotransmitters, for example...


Good stuff sfgirl, I know where you are coming from here... We are not unique, there are certain biochemical reasons why we feel things and how... It still leads us to the same question, right? How do we recover?

Thanx
Mark
Mark, Have you seen "What The Bleep Do We Know?"

I didn't agree with about 3-5% of it, they do take some leaps and a few parts are absolute bosh such as The Native Americans not being able to see Christopher Columbus' Ships, but it explains thinking in such a way that it won't take much to see where science will fit in with your particular Spiritual Beliefs and Recovery.

Specifically, We avoid the deliberate manufacture of misery and why it's so important and how insidious it really is, it shows in many ways how thinking actually works, it's a bit dumbed down, and a bit new agey but I guarantee if you watch it you will understand a bit more what and why people take a secular approach, and quite frankly how closely it resembles what we do.

Our paths are nearly identical, just one path is phrased in spiritual language, the other in Secular language, it's all nearly the same thing in almost every respect. I believe had Bill been still alive he would have not just written be quick to see where religious people are right, but be quick to see where secular people are right as well.

My statement there may ignite a storm of controversy, but so many of our differences are one of language and the misunderstandings in my opinion, as once you introduce the word "spiritual" it opens up a world of misunderstanding and heated emotionalism on both sides of the issue.

Personally I feel the 12 steps are sound scientifically based on my experience and observations, but not everyone feels that way, and quite frankly I have tried to explain my views how it is possible to work the twelve steps in a secular manner and how they are nothing but a mathematical equation that will bring about a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism, but once again, the nature of the spiritual terms involved frequently causes controversy.

Anyhow, I Ramble, mark, watch What The Bleep Do We Know if you get a chance to address:

Quote:
I just have this built in bias that there is something so intangible about our psyche that science will never find it...
and it's possible you may revise your opinion, maybe not

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Albert Einstein


I am a deeply religious nonbeliever - this is a somewhat new kind of religion.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I believe had Bill been still alive he would have not just written be quick to see where religious people are right, but be quick to see where secular people are right as well.
More then likely you may be right, actually Bill did state that many writings and belief systems can be beneficial to our sobriety. I work hard at remaining open minded to all things, it was a closed mind that kept me drunk all those years.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:28 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I read far enough into this study to see that they were including alcohol as a drug before I decided to quote this:


There are some folks out there, even alcoholics in recovery that still feel that alcoholism and drug addiction are both the results of weak will power or morale flaws. All of the scientific proof that it is a disease is simply poo-pooed/ignored. I often wonder if they also beleive we never went to the moon and TV is all magic!!!

What I do find interesting is that so far all though there is no cure provided by science for alcoholism or drug addiction, the best long term solution for the majority of drug addicts and alcoholics has proven so far to be a spiritual solution.
I feel that this is evidence that alcohol and drug addiction are not diseases. I agree that a spiritual solution is the best long term solution for the majority. Disease is neither cured nor arrested through prayer or spirituality however. I believe that alcoholism is a threefold malady of the mind, body and spirit. It is the will of an alcoholic that drives them to drink in my opinion.

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Old 10-08-2009, 07:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I feel that this is evidence that alcohol and drug addiction are not diseases. I agree that a spiritual solution is the best long term solution for the majority. Disease is neither cured nor arrested through prayer or spirituality however. I believe that alcoholism is a threefold malady of the mind, body and spirit. It is the will of an alcoholic that drives them to drink in my opinion.
I don't understand, what evidence? What part of will power centers in the body? Which part of will power centers in the spirit? If Will Power resides in the spirit and body, what resides in the mind then? What happens once alcohol is introduced to the body? If the first thing alcohol does is removes inhibitions chemically is it still will power even though that very same will power has been removed by alcohol in a chemical process?

So you don't believe alcoholism is "an unhealthy condition of mind or body with certain recognizable signs and symptoms" which is the definition of disease from a dictionary

I am just confused by your assertion that it's a three part malady then in the next sentence you say it centers in the will of the alcoholic, can both sentences be true especially in the same paragraph?

Did you read SFGirl's links?
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Personally I feel the 12 steps are sound scientifically based on my experience and observations, but not everyone feels that way, and quite frankly I have tried to explain my views how it is possible to work the twelve steps in a secular manner and how they are nothing but a mathematical equation that will bring about a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism, but once again, the nature of the spiritual terms involved frequently causes controversy.
I absolutely agree.... and I understand how you got to that point. But what if spirituality is just as legitimate as neurobiochemistry in term of it's science?

ie... the 12 steps as a mathematical equation... Just as say, CBT as an equation... etc. You have a better working knowledge of this stuff than I.... but spirituality as a recovery tool, I think every bit as scientific and legitimate as the others....

But that's where I come in and say... I don't think science will ever be able to quantify and label the spiritual in a way that can be reliably, well, peer reviewed using the scientific method, proven. Hmmm, sounds like I contradict myself... I could edit what I just said, but I'll let it stand or fall on it's own ....

So yea, Ago, I get it.

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Old 10-08-2009, 08:09 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Thank you posting these, SFG!

Good info for all of us!

Peace!
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:16 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I don't understand, what evidence? What part of will power centers in the body? Which part of will power centers in the spirit? If Will Power resides in the spirit and body, what resides in the mind then? What happens once alcohol is introduced to the body? If the first thing alcohol does is removes inhibitions chemically is it still will power even though that very same will power has been removed by alcohol in a chemical process?

So you don't believe alcoholism is "an unhealthy condition of mind or body with certain recognizable signs and symptoms" which is the definition of disease from a dictionary

I am just confused by your assertion that it's a three part malady then in the next sentence you say it centers in the will of the alcoholic, can both sentences be true especially in the same paragraph?

Did you read SFGirl's links?
Well it comes down to how you're using the term. I think that hepatitis, cirrhosis, ketoacidosis, congestive heart failure, pancreatitis, depression, etc... are diseases resulting in many cases from the toxicity of long-term alcohol consumption.

If we want to say that the consumption of toxic substances leads to physical changes in the brain resulting in addiction, then yes, we can say it's a disease. If that is the case, then it should be pretty straightforward to rebalance the chemicals in the brain and cure/treat addiction as we are able to do with depression, bipolar and schizophrenia. I personally believe that we need to address our physical health as well as the way we react to stimuli mentally, and that the best way to deal with our will to drink is to replace it with spiritual living.

I'm probably not making much sense...
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:30 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Ah, what the heck. Iĺll jump on board and go off on a tangent, too.


Spiritual living is not a requirement for recovery. Actually, I'm not even sure what spirituality is...everyone has a different definition/opinion.

I encourage folks to do whatever works for them, but there are some of us who do not live with/around the concept of spirituality.

I do SR, therapy, take my meds, and be nice to myself. Everyone, no matter his/her background or personal beliefs, can find recovery.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:03 AM   #20 (permalink)
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So last night I was minorly upset that my post seemingly was being ignored and this morning I was much more upset that it became a breeding ground for yet again a "AA is the best path" argument.

First of all, this post had NOTHING to do with AA. In fact, it had nothing to do with recovery methods of any sort. It was pure and simple biology/neuroscience. I have always found it important to understand things, especially if they are happening to me. I mean if I had cancer I am sure I would want to know the basic science of what was happening to my body. I have just been learning it now and these are the things that have made it important to me on a more emotional level:

1. Because of drug-induced dopamine deficiency from which it takes the brain some time to recover (2 mos.-2 years+) It would not be normal for me to feel "amazing" right away. I certainly have felt crappy over the last year. A lot of recovery was learning to tolerate those feelings. Over time, they have become less and less. The science can give me a reason to tolerate it and it also gives me hope as I know my brain is healing but it takes time.

2. I have never had much guilt about being an alcoholic, but learning this stuff makes me pretty much guilt free. Now I am just angry about the stigma. If you have an immediate family history of alcoholism and a naturally high alcohol tolerance your chances of getting alcoholism are 60%. Check and check. Oh, and I was sexually abused right before I started drinking. Basically, I stood no chance.

3. Addicts' brains are different than substance abusers (you AAers will like thisŚ it can give you science to back up alcoholics vs. hard drinkers). Even after years of similar patterns of chronic abuse of a substance, an addicts' brain looks different than a substance abusersŚ there are fundamental differences. So it is not only the ingestion of substance that changes the brain chemistry, although that of course has a major effect, there is also a difference in an actual addict. However, for treatment purposes they should receive the same treatment because it is hard to tell apartŚ a substance abuser usually gets better more easily.

4. Sleep is an issue. You get no REM (basically the important part of sleep that actually makes you rested) when you drink yourself to sleep. A recovering alcoholic gets less REM than a non-alcoholic even a year out. Things heal but they take time. I have been really tired. I am sure the emotional work of recovery takes a toll but this makes a difference as well.

5. To me science is the great antagonist to "terminal uniqueness." For me most importantly is science ignores social divides. My brain functions in the same way as the addict in jail. Science is the thing that I see as actually being able to change addiction from an issue of moral will to an actual disease that needs and deserves to be treated. Currently, it is often treated like a social or criminal justice issue. It is unclear whether we treat it like a disease or a crime. Relative to other chronic diseases, it has abysmal treatment rates. People suffer unnecessarily.


As to science and AA, there is nothing in the science that says AA is moot. In fact studies show that AA is helpful. But that is talking about studies about recovery. This was not about recovery. Science and spirituality can co-exist. Science and AA can co-exist. In fact, they should. Science is progressive; you need to stay up to date. You don't read stuff from 80 years ago to trump what is found today. Spirituality is another story. What was written 4000 years ago can be just as valid or more so as what was written yesterday. They are two different realms. In my opinion, to not allow the two to coexist is dangerous and in terms of treatment really hinders people from getting the help they need.
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