Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Drug Use, Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction: by Peter S. Lopez aka: Peta

Stay Straight, Steady and Strong!

Original Post: Sunday, March 29, 2009

~ A New Fresh Approach ~

Progressive recovery is a new fresh approach for the wholistic treatment of human beings who suffer from the rages and ravages of hard-core drug addiction, the harmful effects of occasional drug abuse that often begins with innocent casual drug use and who are deeply troubled by personal problems, unresolved issues and internal spiritual conflicts.

Progressive recovery for the drug addict who really wants to be free from the disease and get well emphasizes a comprehensive wholistic approach that treats the entire being in terms of the mind-body-soul trinity (‘wholistic’ is a combination of the words ‘whole’ and ‘holy’). We need to comprehend the cosmos of the whole humane being as a multi-dimensional being that is ultimately a spiritual being on the cosmic-quantum level. You are not your separate body or your independent mind. Deep down inside you are what is in your inner soul!

A drug addict has a self-destructive mentality, engages in harmful behavior and suffers from the moral, ethical and spiritual consequences of drug addiction. Usually there are deeply buried spiritual issues involved that began in early childhood, become more marked in adolescent teenage years and got worse in adulthood. It did not start suddenly overnight and there are no overnight cures. It was a long protracted process that brought about our downfall into drug addiction and its evil effects. We get well only one day at a time. Recovery is a process of digging out the bottom roots of our addiction from anything that is harmful, obsessive and damaging to the soul. It involves sobering up, working a strong recovery program and being involved in an on-going spiritual healing process in order to clean and purify our souls. The bottom roots of our drug addiction are to be dug out of the hidden darkness of our beings.

Progressive recovery advocates conscious humane development, engaging in creative pursuits and constructive community involvement for the recovering addict in order to create a new positive and progressive life-style: train the brain into a new mentality for new ways of thinking, substitute new behavior patterns for self-destructive ones and encourage new spiritual practices of prayer, meditation and serious study. We can experience a fresh spiritual awakening with each new morning when we wake up sane and sober.

Progressive recovery is far beyond the traditional A.A. and N.A. 12-Steps Program that insists on 100% sobriety, no mind-altering drugs and has anonymity as its spiritual foundation. We aim to treat, mend and cure the patient, not get him strung out on a surface recovery going to-and-fro in an endless round of meetings, not playing with tender emotions through deceit and manipulation, not burden him with guilt-trips about sins of the past, and not instill faithless fears with war and horror stories. We want to stay straight, get well and stay well, not be scared straight but truly desire to be straight in all our relations in order to appreciate all the fun, beauty, diversity and excitement of living a life.

Our spiritual foundation is an undying faith in our Creator God, not a stale empty anonymity like a secret cult. We were not anonymous when we exhibited our ‘drunken dope fiend’ behavior, why should we fake it to make it in our recovery? We should have a humble pride in our progress. Many of us already suffer from low or no self-esteem.

Sometimes medically prescribed drugs taken in the recommended dosage should be utilized as a transition period in our recovery for our general health and wellness, not as a substitute crutch. For example, taking methadone for years and not ‘dosing down’ is not real recovery, it is still selfish ‘dope fiend’ indulgence. We can be sober off our original poison of choice, keep our sobriety date from that specific poison and continue to work on our complete sobriety, continued recovery and spiritual liberty. We must move forward, not slide backwards and get caught up in cross-addiction.

Sometimes what is labeled a relapse is actually just a slip. If you slip down you need to halt, stop and think, stand up and get back involved in the spiritual healing process of progressive recovery without delay. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and carry on. It takes what it takes. Remember it is about progress, not perfection.

Many times certain core concepts need to be repeated over and over again so that they are integrated into our core consciousness and become part of our inner being. At regular recovery meetings various versions of the original A.A. 12-Steps are repeated at each gathering because together they are the basis for communion with the Creator, keep us in conscious awareness of our real life present situation and help us build up our inner character so that we are Honest, Open-minded and Willing to transform our lives for the better. That is HOW the program works!

We should have clear definitions of words and need to continue to refine these definitions as time goes by as we achieve greater and greater clarity in the conscious present of the here and now, out of the fogs and clouds of past confusion. Power is the dual capacity to correctly define connected reality and change connected reality in a desired way. We desire power over our own lives so we can make them functional, productive and manageable as we live life on life’s terms, not having the power of drugs over us determining the quality of our lives, but conquering our drug addiction in the drug war, staying straight one day at a time, humbly helping others and thereby helping ourselves.

~ Drug Use ~

Unconscious drug use usually ends up in one suffering from the disease of hard drug addiction which exhibits mental illness, physical weakness and spiritual sickness. This is a dis-ease that impacts on the entirety of our whole being. We are not in a state of sanity, not comfortable in our own skin and there is no stable serenity in our restless spirit.

Definitely, a drug is a drug is a drug. There are different kinds of drug use, not all drug users are drug addicts. Whether it is legally prescribed or an illegal street drug a drug remains a drug, even alcohol is a liquid drug. The alcoholic is a drug addict. However, tobacco and coffee are also drugs. The truth is that we live in a drug promoting culture.

The spectrum of addiction usually begins innocent enough with casual drug use as a youngster. It could just be a beer snuck out at a family gathering, maybe later on a joint offered by an older dude, just one puff… then the hard stuff. Slowly but surely, one starts to check out the drug scene and experiment with drugs. It is a cool thing to do with those in the ‘in’ crowd. We want to be cool, with it and hip in the eyes of our homies, some of whom do not even have a home. There could be a lot of social peer pressure by one’s friends to indulge in various drugs; it could be the local happening at the party, condoned by those we look up to as authority figures and readily available in the environment: in the medicine cabinet, right next door, outside on the corner or at the local store. What started out as weekend recreation becomes an all week fixation.

Over time, drug use that is unchecked can gradually get worse with more disastrous results and complications that can include:

* Severe depression that can lead to suicidal attempts
* DUI arrests, problems with the law and imprisonment
* Infection with HIV through shared needles and other deadly diseases
* Unsafe sexual practices, which may result in unwanted pregnancies, sexually
transmitted diseases and hepatitis
* Ruined personal relationships with our blood families and loved ones
* Loss of job and means of survival, failure in school and loss of self-esteem
* Problems with cognition: loss of memory, short attention span and inability to concentrate for any length of time.
* Learning disability, chronic brain dysfunction and brain damage
* Drug overdose, trips to the ER and possibly an untimely early physical death

To refresh, there is drug use, drug abuse and drug addiction and these three forms of drug taking are not necessarily the same though all forms of drug indulgence can endanger our health. Health is the greatest wealth of all and addiction destroys good wholistic health.

~ Drug Abuse ~

Drug abuse is using a drug to excess. It makes us dysfunctional and unable to live a normal ordinary healthy life. If it is a legal prescription prescribed by your doctor taken beyond the recommended dosage it is abuse of the drug beyond its intended medical purpose. This sounds like common sense, but sometimes the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’’ of the addict mind can twist logic for its’ own dead ends.

A physical dependence on a chemical substance for health reasons in order to function is not actual active addiction. Some drugs (for example, a diabetic taking insulin or blood pressure medication) do not cause addiction but can cause real physical dependence, but its use is within the recommended dosage. Other drugs can cause addiction without obvious physical dependence, but there can be a psychological dependence when one is habitually conditioned to ‘getting high’ that is as real as physical drug dependency. Thus, drug use can easily lead to drug abuse and the drug dependence of long-term chronic addiction. It can be a slippery slope into the depths of hell on Earth with landmines, booby traps and IEDs all along the way!

The exact cause of chronic drug addiction is not fully known and can vary with the individual. One’s genes, early childhood, drug history and environmental factors all can be factors working alone or in combination against us. Many people who creep from drug use to drug abuse end up becoming addicts who can suffer from one or more psychological disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or another psychological problem whose roots can usually be found hidden deep in the spiritual realm.

~ Drug Addiction ~

Main Entry: ad•dic•tion
Pronunciation: \ə-ˈdik-shən\
Function: noun
: compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful—compare habituation

Addiction or chemical dependency occurs when one crosses the thin shifting line separating drug abuse from addiction and goes down into complete dependency on a drug. It is usually marked by one who obsessively and compulsively seeks to use a substance without regard to the potential negative life consequences. The brain’s neurotransmitters of the ‘gotta’ get it’ of dopamine and the ‘ahh, got it’ of serotonin creates an actual chemical chain reaction that enslaves the ‘dope fiend’ caught in the vicious circle of addiction. One is never satisfied once the drug wears off and the run for more is on again. He becomes a dope fiend! The drive to use is not only mental-spiritual addiction, but motivated by the physical need to maintain a certain level of the drug in the system at all times and at all costs. I got to at least get a buzz or I’ll burst!

If this level is not reached the drug addicts reacts by showing severe withdrawal symptoms that may include nausea and vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea, bone and muscle aches, migraine headaches, clinical depression and in some hard core cases a heart attack or even death. Dope kills someone every day and night!

The point is: drug addiction attacks all of our entire being, the mind, body and soul. We must wake up or perish with no one else to blame but ourselves. Do you have life insurance and burial plans?

~ Early Treatment ~

To begin treatment for drug addiction requires us to first overcome the demon of denial about our life-threatening problem. We have far less denial if we are treated with humane empathy and personal respect, not condemning confrontation. We require a conscious commitment to a strong progressive recovery program, an honest daily personal inventory of our assets and liabilities and daily maintenance, not merely short-term abstinence in physical sobriety. We need to transform ourselves and our ways of being alive. Until you get rid of all forms of denial discussion about how to proceed with proper treatment is useless, pointless and a waste of energy.

Early treatment of drug dependency depends on the drug being used and involves weaning off the drug gradually (detoxification). Detoxification is the gradual withdrawal of an abused substance in a controlled environment. A prescribed drug with a similar action can be taken instead, to reduce the side effects and risks of withdrawal. It can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Follow your doctor’s order. Do not be your own pharmacist or quack doctor. People with acute intoxication or drug overdose should see a medical professional and may need emergency treatment. Continued medical treatment should include individual, family, a support group and long-term professional counseling by a therapist, a trusted pastor or wise guide. Remember: recovery is actually a medical term as when one is in recovery from a sickles or ailment. Keep it simple, you have already complicated your life by having a deadly disease.

Get a good medical diagnosis, work on your progressive recovery program as if your life depends on it and the prognosis for the future is a life actually worth living. If it is to come true it is ultimately up to you!


● Progressive Recovery Today!

● CASA 12-Steps Program Blog

● CASA 12-Steps Program Yahoo Group

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