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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:49 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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TfR
Quote:
I think this debate matters I think the debate is relevant. this question remains important to me.

I never suggested otherwise
all debate is healthy and encouraged
I said
Quote:
A great thread with many pertinent and well made points


this forum is here to ask questions use it
my point was that this forum is a part of a process and that process is life changing recovery

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Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:17 pm
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Quote:
my point was that this forum is a part of a process and that process is life changing recovery


Agreed! :w:


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:57 pm
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Kenzo wrote:
this forum is here to ask questions use it
my point was that this forum is a part of a process and that process is life changing recovery

Yes! And thank you all for such excellent contributions. Every time I come here, I feel there is so much I come away with. The diverse points of view always serve as a light to prevent me from getting stuck in just one way of thinking. Although I haven't felt that addiction is a disease for quite a while, it's clear to me that thinking that way in the beginning was one of my ways to rationalize my behavior and shirk responsibility.

Great stuff! :g:


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:55 pm 
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Just wanted to add to this that I've recently been exposed to the work of Johann Hari, a British journalist who wrote a book about the war on drugs called Chasing the Scream.

His view is very simple: Addiction is about human connection, or a lack thereof, and recovery is a matter of finding more connection. Not a disease, simply the absence of genuine connectedness among people. It seems this fits pretty well with the RN view that addiction is a result of poor emotion management skills and not some mysterious disease. Maybe part of not having good emotion management skills is related to not having connection with people...or maybe recovery is more difficult if we do not remedy that lack of connection...I don't think anyone would argue that recovering alone is easier than with a supportive community.

Two examples that Hari gives that I find to be compelling evidence for his view are: hospital patients who are administered pure heroine for extended periods of time after hip replacements , and Vietnam war veterans who used heroine regularly during the war. Why doesn't Grandma leave the hospital after hip surgery and hit the streets looking to find more heroine? Similarly, why did the disturbingly large percentage of Vietnam war vets who abused heroine in Vietnam (some 20%) not crave the drug or have problems using after returning home?

(This sounds a lot like the rat park experiment)

Of course this knocks the disease argument on its ass, I think, and it also serves to validate the emotional maturity argument of RN. We can assume that Grandma was pretty well experienced with her emotions before the surgery, and had a strong support system, and lo and behold, she leaves the hospital after weeks of repeated administrations of heroine that is ten times more potent than what's on the street, and she has no trouble returning to her previous lifestyle with no ongoing problems with the drug.

When emotional maturity has been reached, and when individuals have a strong sense of community/belonging/social connection, addiction seems to evaporate.

I'm mainly writing this to celebrate feeling more confident now in my belief about addiction, given these latest insights.


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:48 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
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Hi all,

Whew, glad this thread is still going. Finally had time to get to it. :w: And again, I write all of this from my personal opinion, not as any kind of authority on that matter.

Regarding my own thoughts on addiction, and how to classify it, I have this to say: basically, after several years of thinking about and reading opinions on this...the best way I think I could describe addiction is that it’s a complex delusion, a complex behavioural phenomenon. At least in my opinion, that’s the best way it can be described...not as a fate or disease.

It’s probably obvious from his writings that Jon didn’t consider it a disease, so that is RN’s approach, and I don’t consider it a disease either...at least not in the same way that cancer is a disease. For instance, in cancer, the locus of control for whether you overcome the condition is not fundamentally within you. Yes, you can undergo chemotherapy, take care of yourself better (sleep better, eat healthier), maximize your chances of recovery...but even though the mind is of course incredibly powerful, it is basically luck as to whether your cancer goes into remission or not.

Compare this to addiction, where, based on the major epidemiological studies of addiction that have been done (And I reference an excellent book, Addiction: A Disorder of Choice by Gene Heyman here): most people with addictions stop sometime around their 30s, and do so on their own accord (and while I personally don’t think this means recovery programs aren’t necessary, as they would obviously speed the process up by giving you useful skills, tools, and understandings, so you don’t have to completely trial and error it, I DO think it shows the necessity of self-motivation). But that is not really what would indicate a “chronic, relapsing disease” to me, if most people quit in their 30s, and never relapse back to those behaviours. (also, just as a note: completely wrong interpretation here to think "oh, if many people quit on their own, I don't need to try, it'll just happen eventually!" Well, it might, but how many consequences will you have to suffer (and make others suffer) between a hypothetical and possibly illusory then, and now? Similarly, why do so on your own and re-invent the wheel, when there are programs out there that can provide you with insights it could otherwise take you years to figure out yourself.)

At the same time, to say it is “just a choice” is obviously not accurate; otherwise people who were completely sincere in their desire to stop, could just stop, and never go back. Clearly, this is not the case for the vast majority of addicts. For addicts who have developed these patterns and understand little to nothing about their emotions...their “choice” consists of basically “what’s worked consistently before” (ie. their compulsive rituals) and feeling overwhelming and significant stress that they have no idea how to manage.

I refer to this now as the “disease-choice” dichotomy, and it’s a false dichotomy, and it seems to essentially consume 99% of all addiction conversation now, but also has real implications for how people with addictions are treated by society. For example, if it’s seen as a “disease”...then addicts are viewed as being essentially worthy of help and treatment, that it’s not their fault, with the tradeoff being that you are “powerless”, “defective”, an “addict for life” and/or not to be held responsible for your behaviour. If it’s seen as a “choice”...then addicts are immoral people unworthy of help, sympathy, and treatment (and certainly not on society’s dime), even though this does leave open the possibility that someone could change.

I like RN’s approach with this, because it essentially treads the middle path, where addiction isn’t seen as a disease, but that it is also not as simple as merely a choice. Addicts deserve sympathy and help to change their actions, but also must take responsibility for their behaviour (even if some of that behaviour is the result of past events for them that were beyond their control).

Quote:
First of all, is there a distinction to be made between what is practical for the person in recovery, and what is objectively true?...Is it that seeing addiction as a disease, or "the beast" -- or as some functional entity in the brain that robs the individual of control, because that's what the term means, right? -- is objectively incorrect, or just impractical for the individual in recovery?


Sure, because there are without doubt different levels of understanding between people. While we could quibble over “objective truth”, as addiction can be described in many ways, people who are at the beginning of recovery do not have the knowledge base of those who are further along; therefore, the approach I would take would differ from someone in late recovery. Even if what I’m saying is not “objectively true”, it could be more helpful for them at least at their stage of development. Then you can learn further insights as you move along that deepen how you understand it. So yes, theory and practice differ.

However, I would say that seeing addiction as a “beast” or some entity that robs you of control is both objectively incorrect and impractical for people in recovery; I don’t really see a benefit of seeing addiction in this way in any stage, possibly with the exception that earlier on it could “motivate” you in a sense, in terms of seeing as “fighting addiction” as something worth doing. But fundamentally, this viewpoint would need to change or someone would always leave themselves open to slips/relapse back into their previous behaviour and such fruitless mental “fighting” would actually be one factor causing it.

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In reading a lot of the neuroscience behind porn addiction, there are clear indications that the prefrontal cortex can become inhibited by excessive porn use and masturbation, which activates more primitive areas in the brain that play a role in impulsive decisions/pursuit of instant gratification (I think?)


And it does. But that doesn’t mean it’s a disease or outside of cognitive control. As Jon said once (and I’m paraphrasing): if someone were to scan his brain (or any of our brains) while we were addicted, it would undoubtedly show different firing patterns...and people would likely then use this to say that you had a disease. But it makes sense that, differing behavioural patterns, over years, would result in physical changes to the brain (in a cause and effect way)...and by changing that behaviour, your brain would over time go back to “normal”. If primitive areas of the brain were the only thing that ran the show, and if such impulses were stronger than the will, nobody would ever recover. Clearly this is not the case.

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How can we reduce clear, physical processes to emotional immaturity and a lack of understanding of how to effectively manage emotions?


Because there’s no separation between emotions and lack of understanding, and these physical processes; one is the subjective, mental, psychological expression of the other, and vice-versa. Where is the dividing line? If you could answer that question, you’d probably earn the Nobel Prize; that really is THE question in consciousness research. But you learned information from this site or elsewhere, which made changes to your brain, which resulted in changes in your behaviour, and other changes in your environment, that resulted in a new “state”, that then continues as a feedback loop. Recovery from addiction is just shifting from one behavioural pattern with certain consequences/effects to another with different consequences/effects (at least from one perspective).

Quote:
Consider my most recent source of anxiety...isn't it helpful to pay heed to whatever insights the objective, biological perspective has to offer here?


At least in my experience, the biological perspective doesn’t offer much practical use (and I say this as someone with a degree in biological sciences). For example, you say if you orgasm too often and this makes you anxious...does knowing that you’re overstimulating your dopamine neurons, really tell you much about what to actually do here? As opposed to, perhaps, just not ejaculating that frequently if it is causing you problems, at least at this point in time? If it does, and you find this helpful, then do it. But for me, I always found it better to focus on (in your case), a) that you clearly still have some issues surrounding sexual expression that need to be worked out, b) how to deal with such anxiety or uncertainty in a healthy way, and c) to keep working diligently on understanding these parts of yourself, but also be patient, since you’re only a year into recovery.

I should also add that I don’t mean to discredit the biological perspective here, which to me plays a more significant role in drug/alcohol addictions(since in those addictions, the behaviour can actually produce physiologically life-threatening effects that require biological/medical interventions, unlike in porn or gambling addiction for instance). Thinking in such terms helped me earlier in my recovery, it’s obviously better than seeing addiction as some kind of mysterious fate that you have no control over, and it’s good in terms of understanding addiction (Jon wrote in He Danced Alone how understanding how sex addiction was biologically similar to other addictions helped him in early recovery.) And there is obviously medical conditions and genetics that may predispose people to developing an addiction (which would then interact with the environment and life circumstances to produce such repeated behavioural patterns). But in terms of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle, away from addiction, I still see a practical approach on life management and emotional understanding as fundamentally more useful.

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in my addiction and recovery class, we are studying Ken Wilber's Integral Theory, which regards the objective analysis of brain function and observable behavior (Individual, Exterior) as equally as important as the subjective experience of the individual in question (Individual, Interior), which in turn is equally as important as the intersubjective, socio-cultural perspective (Collective, Interior), etc.


I’ve never read Ken Wilber’s books as I always found his writing to be a bit too New Age-y for my tastes (again, just my opinion), but at least one thing I notice here: what is “objective analysis of brain function/observable behaviour”? If he means from a data-based perspective, maybe, but even such objective analysis is still in a sense subjective, as it will always be through the lens of whoever is interpreting it.

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Is there a way, in this health based recovery that we are striving to enact at Recovery Nation, to utilize the insights from all perspectives, or is that not the most practical approach, in your opinion?


Yes, definitely, though inevitably some perspectives will clash. For instance, the workshops here were designed initially to work with people who were also part of 12-Step groups, but clearly there are irreconcilable differences between the two philosophies (or at least how 12 Step is traditionally interpreted). So people must decide what makes most sense for them and what they value, then go with that...but true recovery will still be much the same no matter what system you do it in. It will still consist of connecting to core meaning/values/whatever that person calls it, then starting to make decisions based on that, as opposed to immediate emotional gratification (even if the choice is to allow yourself to act on the most emotionally pleasing choice in the short-term). People may view it very differently than that, but that is still what will happen, even if they’re working in 12 Step, Smart Recovery, etc.

Quote:
Aren't there varying degrees of addiction? Someone who experiences withdrawal from caffeine addiction is likely to suffer less than someone withdrawing from methamphetamine addiction, right?


Yes, definitely, though not likely in the way people typically think. Most people would associate the severity of the behaviour (at least ethically, legally, culturally, etc.) with a greater degree of addiction. Others may also look at the severity of consequences. Both would be wrong, even though those can both be factors to consider. Someone could engage in voyeuring for the first time, get caught, and go to jail, and this would tell you literally nothing about why they engaged in it, although they would likely be deemed to have a more “severe” problem; compare this to someone else who masturbates for hours a day, every day, and never experiences any overt consequences (although there would be more subtle consequences). Even that would not necessarily indicate “addiction”, as the person could be freely choosing to do so, experience no guilt and shame, and have no problem stopping.

Now say in both those cases, both people could not stop, do feel guilt and shame, but the first person “voyeurs” once a month and has no other compulsive behaviours, while the second masturbates for several hours a day and engages in compulsive fantasy for several more. Who would have the worse addiction? From a purely mechanical standpoint (avoiding the impact of possible overt consequences), undoubtedly the second. Why? Determining degree of addiction is this way is about considering the extent of ritualization of these behaviours...for example, someone who is lost in chains of compulsive behaviour for hours at a time, and how much planning goes into these behaviours. Another relevant factor at least in determining true addiction is when you convert from doing these behaviours to feel better, to doing them to avoid feeling worse. That is when you have developed true dependence on those patterns and they have ingrained in your identity to the point where you can no longer see yourself existing without them.

But to get back to your question: would caffeine withdrawal be easier than amphetamine withdrawal? Never went through either myself, but my guess would be “probably”. Different substances cause different effects, and therefore would have different withdrawals, some worse than others. However, they would still all affect your emotions, even though some would obviously be more powerful than others (again, cause and effect).

Aside: I always find addiction easiest to understand by thinking of it in terms of thoughts, emotions, and actions. From this, it is relatively straightforward how the cycles of behaviour occur. Other things like perception obviously play a role, but boiling it down to those 3 elements always made it more easy to understand for me.

Quote:
But what if, hypothetically, both individuals are exactly equal in their emotional immaturity?


Not sure what this would mean. How would such a thing even be measured? Hence why it is only important to understand your own emotional limits; that’s all that matters for recovery.

Quote:
Then how do we explain why it's harder for one to recover than for the other, without talking about addiction in terms that contradict what you've expressed about addiction?


There’d be so many factors as to why it’d be harder for one person to recovery than the other, that it’s basically impossible to discuss without specific situations. Someone with a caffeine addiction may not want to end it, and would certainly not have as much social pressure to do so, whereas someone with an amphetamine addiction may have substantially more motivation. But, as I mentioned before, amphetamine would undoubtedly create stronger emotions (both peaks and troughs) which would influence decision-making more, and therefore make it more difficult (potentially) to recover from.

Quote:
what you've expressed about addiction? (That there is no "addiction" per se)


Because you mentioned this, I’ll explain it. To understand this you must look at the issue from multiple perspectives.

Conventional reality as we see it is a reality of relative distinctions. Tall and short, large and small, black and white...all of these are relatives. They only exist in relation to each other. It is the “normal” way of seeing the world.

What is not usually acknowledged is the perspective of the absolute. This need not be a religious concept; it is simply seeing things as they are, undifferentiated, from the point of view of change itself, beyond conceptual boundaries. The easiest way for me to think about this was from the point of view of chemistry. Everything is just objective...molecules bouncing off and interacting with each other, acting and reacting.

When we usually talk about addiction, we are usually discussing this from the point of view of relatives. There are people with addictions; there are healthy people. But from the absolute perspective...no addiction exists, or has ever existed, as an objective entity. You are just acting, you always have been, and each action brings new consequences and effects for yourself and others.

The easiest way I think to explain this in my opinion is, consider if you had a camera that had followed you around for your entire life, recording all your actions. If you played it back, would there be any separation between when you were “acting out” and any other part of your life? No, there wouldn’t. Your life would be a single flow and always has been; it is only in your mind where you saw a separation in your identity, between your normal and “secret” self. But that was a delusion. At every step, you took an action, which had consequences, followed by another action, in a single flow across your lifespan. But what is the difference from the outside of one person (with an addiction) looking at porn, and someone else without one doing the same? Nothing. Where the addiction comes in, is in the process and pattern of the behaviours repeated, and internally, in the person's intentions, emotions, perceptions and thoughts. This all only exists within the mind of the person involved (which then of course, affects the outside world). But there is no entity called "addiction" that can be found, anywhere.

Health, recovery and addiction exist in on the same continuum...and, there is really no continuum or separation between any of them. Not if you understand what I’m saying here. To reach true health is to see that there is fundamentally no difference between addiction and health, and that there was really neither in the first place. And again, to see this requires you to look at the issue (and your own life) from multiple perspectives, each of which can simultaneously be true.

This may sound somewhat shocking. However...there still IS a difference here (again, multiple perspectives) that is quite obvious, which is how you make decisions and take actions...in addiction, by immediate gratification, in health, from your core identity/values/true self/”soul” (depending on your individual beliefs). But again, this is still all in one unbroken causal chain.

The real danger here is to misread this as “Oh, he says that there’s no addiction; I guess that means I’m fine and/or I can do whatever I want”. This is the ABSOLUTE WRONG interpretation. Your actions still, and always do, have consequences. In your addiction, you were aware of this, yet unaware how better decisions could be made that prioritized long-term value over short-term emotional management. Now, you are aware...so you should be continually working to improve on those decisions...which will result in better consequences, and further good decisions (or at least increase the likelihood, as you shift to new patterns).

That’s a lot to start with, I’ll come back tomorrow and keep going through the thread (which is great). Also, I’ll end by saying: what I described at the end here is more for those in middle/late recovery; if you are just starting out and/or this sounds like incomprehensible gibberish that confuses you or does not resonate with you...ignore it (ie. take what fits and leave the rest). Just keep working on the workshop diligently and sincerely, ask questions, and apply what you learn to your daily life, improving your decisions on a day-to-day (or moment by moment) basis. That is what is and what remains important; determining for yourself, how the patterns of addiction and compulsive behaviour function in your life and changing them.

Cheers,

Boundless

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"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:17 am 
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I did some binging on TED the other day (perfectly in line with my values when I try to spoil myself a bit) and I found this video which answers some of the questions raised on this thread.

https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_e ... n_is_wrong

There is just one thing I would want to point out about the end of the speech ... Compassion and love from others is all that they will ever be able to give, it is a great gift but it can do so much ... we desperately need to give these to ourselves. How? By having an honest, heart wrenching at times dialogue with ourselves, by looking into those ugly corners, accepting the reality and committing to doing better for ourselves. That is self-love, to be able to commit to yourself for your own long-term benefit. To care enough not to let things just happen. To take up the reins of oneself. Become your own hero.

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"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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Hey U
Quote:
Compassion and love from others is all that they will ever be able to give, it is a great gift but it can do so much ... we desperately need to give these to ourselves. How? By having an honest, heart wrenching at times dialogue with ourselves, by looking into those ugly corners, accepting the reality and committing to doing better for ourselves. That is self-love, to be able to commit to yourself for your own long-term benefit. To care enough not to let things just happen. To take up the reins of oneself. Become your own hero.



:g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g:
brilliant
I am posting this into my personal thread
thank you

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:33 pm 
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At the risk of beating this thread into the ground, I would like to reiterate one of my more enduring concerns about this topic here.

I recently listened to a talk given by the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, about addiction treatment in the US, and how we need to de-stigmatize addiction, give more resources and support to addicts, etc...it was a pretty good message given Christie's questionable reputation.

But he mentioned a personal story that stuck with me, as it raised some concerns and doubts about the insights I've been learning here at RN.

There was a close friend of his who had an incredibly rich and meaningful, value-based life, a guy in his mid thirties with a healthy marriage, a great relationship with his two kids, a dream job, a nourishing social circle and support system, great family relationships, great physical and mental health, etc...this guy was as responsible and happy as they get. He was by most objective standards very emotionally mature, very in touch with his values, very successful by RN standards, I would presume.

And then he had a major back injury which his doctor prescribed him painkillers for. Within a year he had lost his marriage and custody of his kids, lost all his property, his job, his friends, and was depressed and suicidal, engaging in an addiction to painkillers. He ended up dying...I don't remember if it was from suicide or overdose, but it was a dramatic premature death that was a pretty direct result of his addiction.

Christie described all of this as having happened rather quickly...and that shouldn't come as much of a surprise when we read the literature about opioid/painkiller addiction, whether it be heroine, Oxycontin, whatever... addiction can develop very quickly with consistent use.

So how do we understand what happened to this man? By all measurable standards, this guy's values were as developed and ingrained (let's assume) as the most experienced person on this RN website (if such a person existed). This guy was very emotionally mature before his experience with addiction (let's assume). Yet he was given something by his doctor that turned into an addiction. How do we understand this, if addiction is nothing but emotional immaturity and a lack of connection (combining the views of RN and Johann Hari, the guy who did the TED talk that Ursula posted about)?

If he was emotionally mature and had plenty of support and connection, he should not have become addicted and lost everything. This is inconsistent with how I've come to view addiction through my involvement here at RN. For an opioid addiction to "develop quickly with consistent use", what does that mean for the person who has already developed the skills necessary to avoid falling into addiction? Some people who seem to have those skills still fall into addiction. So what gives?

If each of the coaches here at RN (let's confidently assume they've got the skills presented in the workshop as thoroughly integrated into their psyches as anyone) were to inject heroin every day for one month, (either voluntarily as an experiment, or, more interestingly, instructed to, or even forced) where would they be after that month? The literature on heroin addiction would say that these people, regardless of how "developed" they were beforehand, would emerge on day 31 addicted to heroin.

But I imagine those who believe what RN espouses would disagree. So then how do we explain the case of Chris Christie's friend?

Is it really a matter of one's environment/emotional maturity, or does the potency and strength of a substance's chemical effects play a role here?

This keeps coming up in my Addiction and Recovery Psych class and I'm sorry if I'm spinning my wheels here but I'm still having trouble reading things like "opioid dependence develops within two to three weeks with consistent use" and somehow coming to terms with that statement while also believing that we are never "powerless", that we always have a choice, that emotional maturity and connection to others is more predictive of the potential for an individual to become addicted than the effects of a substance on the brain when we repeatedly subject ourselves to it.

I can already hear one response to this: "People who are emotionally mature and feel connected to others would never feel the need to begin engaging in the behavior or ingesting the drug in the first place, so this question is irrelevant."

I see that as a pretty weak response to the question I'm asking, because it doesn't address the instances like with Christie's friend, who we can assume was emotionally mature, but who was instructed by a doctor to take a drug for severe back pain. He didn't start using the drug as a psychological coping mechanism/escape in the same way that a sex addict with a traumatic childhood begins consuming pornography to numb emotional pain. There is a substantial difference here in the intention behind the use of the substance, the degree of value development an individual possesses, self-awareness, etc...and yet addiction still seems to manifest even in people who seem to have all the skills.

Am I making too many assumptions here by believing that Christie's friend was emotionally mature prior to his back injury? Is this an impossible scenario, or is something significant missing from this equation?


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:20 pm 
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Hi TfR
interesting view
the trained and specialised experts cannot agree the answer to the question so I will not try
but I do know addiction is not healthy whether it be to drugs or to exercise etal

Quote:
If each of the coaches here at RN (let's confidently assume they've got the skills presented in the workshop as thoroughly integrated into their psyches as anyone) were to inject heroin every day for one month, (either voluntarily as an experiment, or, more interestingly, instructed to, or even forced) where would they be after that month? The literature on heroin addiction would say that these people, regardless of how "developed" they were beforehand, would emerge on day 31 addicted to heroin.


So becoming addicted is easy, (hey we all did it by ourselves with no effort :s: ) but seriously it is easy

Quote:
But I imagine those who believe what RN espouses would disagree
. I believe but I agree
But RN is not simply about recovering from addiction
RN is about changing the way that we think and subsequently act

Quote:
believing that we are never "powerless", that we always have a choice,


we do always have choice albeit as full blown acting out and spiraling down addict we either dont realise or dont accept that we have a choice
probably both

again RN takes us to the point where we discover that the choice is ours to make and given that we are here for ourselves and because we choose to be (unfortunately not always the case ) then from that point recovery becomes simple , not necessarily easy but certainly simple and in deed almost certainly guaranteed
the question regarding did I recover from a disease or not really pales into insignificance when compared to
did I leave that s*** behind and am I happy in doing so and fully prepared for every eventuality that could


Quote:
either voluntarily as an experiment, or, more interestingly, instructed to, or even forced
:pe: :pe: :pe: :pe:

change that

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:33 am 
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Posts: 116
Hi TFR,

Here are a couple thoughts on your most recent post.

Quote:
There was a close friend of his who had an incredibly rich and meaningful, value-based life, a guy in his mid thirties with a healthy marriage, a great relationship with his two kids, a dream job, a nourishing social circle and support system, great family relationships, great physical and mental health, etc...this guy was as responsible and happy as they get. He was by most objective standards very emotionally mature, very in touch with his values, very successful by RN standards, I would presume.



But don't we have countless examples of people that seemingly had it all...were the perfect family...was the perfect husband... had the supermodel wife (literially)... no financial woes, etc etc, but one day was caught with a prostitute, or multiple affairs and couldn’t stop, etc etc, and then it's found out he had been seeing prostitutes or whatever it is for years. There is a great public outcry and people wonder how it could have possibly happened to such a great guy. From every angle the person seemed to have the perfect life and life management skills, yet something was unhealthy in their life and their secrete coping mechanism is one day discovered. Isn’t that a fairly common story with addiction?

And then even if he did have it all together, isn't it also somewhat common for someone to be able to manage life when everything is smooth and going their way, but when a major life crisis hits, they don't have the foundation to deal with it, couldn't this be a case-in-point of that type of situation? I'd want to have heard from the guy himself, when he was recovered and healthy before letting this story influence me (sadly that can't happen).

It seems like a good example up front because it’s told by a close (and likely credible) friend and well know public figure, but I think given the fact that addicts are incredibly good at fooling themselves and even those closest to them, it’s really not a solid example, too little detail and intimate knowledge of his life.

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If each of the coaches here at RN (let's confidently assume they've got the skills presented in the workshop as thoroughly integrated into their psyches as anyone) were to inject heroin every day for one month, (either voluntarily as an experiment, or, more interestingly, instructed to, or even forced) where would they be after that month? The literature on heroin addiction would say that these people, regardless of how "developed" they were beforehand, would emerge on day 31 addicted to heroin.


I would guess that all or most of the coaches know that heroine is powerful and shown to be highly addictive, so if they chose to participate in taking it wouldn’t it mean they’d abandoned their values and we can then assume they are on a path to addition again? If they are forced for some reason it seems probable that they would at least feel an incredibly strong need to take heroin, if they were released after such a period of forced consumption could they not then use their management skills to deal with any dependence they may feel. Would those skills lead them to seek additional treatment to get over the initial shock to their systems?

Jon talks about being vigilant in maintaining awareness of ourselves and that it’s possible to return to addictive behavior after full recovery if we don't maintain that awareness for the rest of our life. on top of having a well honed skill for managing the unexpected.

I don’t think it means a person is still addicted or could walk around a corner and just be an addict again, I could be way off, but I think about it like body fat and muscle, when I stop eating well and exercising, my body bounces back to a fairly specific shape a weight, when I eat well and exercise it’s similar, it takes a few months, if I've let myself go, and I'm seeing lot more grey hair these days, but I bounce back fairly quickly to a lower weight and muscle tone. I understand that my cells have memory and will fairly easily return to one state or another depending on how I treat my body and I'm sure age is becoming more and more of a factor. So, am I actually flabby when I am not, because my cells remember that I was and that if I stopped exercising and eating well I would potentially go back fairly quickly to that condition? I don’t see it that way. So, that’s kind of how I’m viewing addiction. I believe viewing porn does something to my brain, probably opens super highways to less useful places or something and closes off other beneficially paths. But I see that I can and am changing that, it takes time, but I do detect differences.... sorry kinda went off track there, but my point basically is, if you keep developing yourself in healthy ways, your brain, mind and body will likely change for the good.

You had a hopeful example of grandmas on heroin and now seem to feel discouraged because of a story about a guy who lost it all on painkillers. I hope in your quest for answers you keep working on the foundation and the things that you know work for building health.

Just some thoughts, be well, don't give up no matter what, we are resilient and there are people doing what others say is impossible everyday.


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:58 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:13 am
Posts: 687
Quote:
Just some thoughts, be well, don't give up no matter what, we are resilient and there are people doing what others say is impossible everyday.


Amen! :g:

_________________
"When everything else is stripped away the essential is reveled." B.K.S. Iyengar


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 Post subject: Re: The disease debate
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:54 am
Posts: 1377
Hi All

A very interesting threat - with some fantastic and fantastically detailed contributions. These debates always make me think of I think Coach Nellie's mantra - take what you need and leave the rest. To put this another way - how you react to the different, and occasionally competing ideas, reveals something important about you. I dont think there is an objective right or wrong but what will help you personally.

For what it is worth. I find and found thinking about my own addiction as a disease unhelpful, in some respects as Kenzo put it. Disease made my acting out feel like something I had contracted rather than something I had created. there are no doubt hereditary, neuroscientific and environmental causes to my sexual compulsion - I have often wondered whether I would have been addicted without the technology, for instance.

But the idea of a disease created a negative mindset. For one thing, it shifted ideas of responsibility. I am an innocent who just happens to have caught sexual compulsions. By similar logic, if I can just find a cure then all will be well.

For me - and I repeat for me - this felt too easy. While I found these debates fascinating, I remember clearly they were also a distraction at vital moments. I would spend long hours on the community forum rather than on my own thread. Iam not suggesting this is happening here. But from time to time the abstract nature of the discussion was a part of my problem.

I realised i needed to lower my sights from the sky to the earth - to look at my everyday behaviour, to get away from the virtual and fantasy and get real, to quote a horrible phrase.

As with so much that I learned on RN, I think compulsions of the sort we discuss here have no one cause. To spend vast parts of your life masturbating (as I did) to two dimensional fantasies while my life went down the toilet required a perfect storm of my indivisual dispostion, circumstance, my brain, the technology, my background etc etc.

I chose to see the rituals as something I created to mask, or short circuit more complex human feelings. For me seeing this as something I created meant taking resonsibility which meant I could uncreate it and create something new. It has taken me the best part of a decade and I am still learning everyday.

But that is thanks to the smart people who have written so honestly here.

For that, as always, huge thanks.
Shaw


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