Addiction: Why Some Recover and Some Don’t

Addiction is a powerful and mysterious disease. Why do some recover but others don’t?

Here’s my take: I have treated thousands of addicts over the past 20 plus years and have never seen anyone relapse who 1) entered a good rehab program, 2) did all the required work, and 3) continued to do the work daily after leaving the program.

There’s your answer – those who follow these steps will recover, those who don’t, probably will not.

Addiction is a chronic brain disease. Once a person has it, the disease will never go away. But the good news is that it can be treated effectively.

By Kari Mackneer, Clinical Director

The mind is key

Addiction is often described as a three-fold disease – spiritual, mental, and physical. Once the substances have been cleared from the body through detox, this normally clears up most of the physical symptoms and the body’s need for the substance.

But this disease is centered in the mind and that is where the bulk of work must be focused and then continued for a lifetime.

The brain of someone coming out of detox is scrambled. People emerging from addiction report many negative effects:

  • Their thinking was never right.
  • They were always projecting or living in the past with a complete inability to live in the present.
  • They always had feelings of restlessness, irritability, discontentment, anxiety and depression.
  • Consuming the substance brought relief but also had a down side – it led to a dependence and eventual addiction to the substance or substances they were consuming.

 

Hard work pays off

When someone successfully recovers, the brain becomes unscrambled. It has essentially been reprogrammed and must be maintained by daily refining the tools of that reprogramming. In addition, 12 step processes combined with deep clinical work aimed at changing core beliefs typically works quite well.

However – and this is critical –  addicts in early recovery must “realize” they need to reprogram their brains and be “willing” to do the work required. The new thought patterns developed by this work are the exact opposite of the wildly negative and destructive thought patterns that result from active addiction.

 

Don’t delay

As the judgment areas of the brain begin to awaken, the substance abuse has ceased. Initially, there are only negative memories/outcomes recalled and no coping skills to deal with them. This overwhelms many addicts and is a major reason why many relapse almost instantly. For this reason, beginning effective treatment as soon as possible after detox is crucial.

Doing the work quickly and thoroughly begins the reprogramming process. At this point, coping skills begin to develop, and outcomes/memories are vastly better than in active addiction.

Now the brain is beginning to make better judgments, greatly increasing the chances of long-term recovery.

Long story short, if the person is willing and able to get well, does the work daily, and continues to do the work required, they will invariably get well and stay well!

Recent Posts

Addiction: Length and Quality of Therapy Makes a Difference

Addiction is a horrific disease which is largely centered in the mind. Someone in the depths of addiction has essentially lost all grip on reality. Their lives become increasingly tumultuous. The lives of their loved ones are gravely impacted. Negative consequences...

Clean Recovery Centers Welcomes New Director of Business Development

Tampa, FL, July 15, 2019 - Clean Recovery Centers welcomes Louisa Ray as the new Director of Business Development. Louisa brings over 15 years of high-quality business development, sales, systems management, communications and leadership to this key position. Prior to...

Addiction and Not Being the Victim

Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease that tells the person that they do not have it, regardless of how bad their circumstances. Most addicts in the depths of their disease feel and act like the “victim.” They believe the world has wronged them, and everyone else is...

The True Cost of Therapy

We have all heard of the countless stories in the media and elsewhere about the outrageousness cost of drug and alcohol treatment. Many of these stories are warranted but a good number are not. Here’s the truth - delivering effective treatment can be extremely...

Recovering From Opioid Addiction With Medication-Assisted Treatment

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 2.5 million Americans struggle with opioid addiction on any given day. Every year, tens of thousands of individuals die from the disorder. Opioids are powerful drugs and may include heroin or prescription...
%d bloggers like this: