Addiction does not develop from just thrill-seeking recreational drug and alcohol usage. What many people do not understand is that addiction results from low neurotransmitter levels, which can be caused by chronic stress, childhood trauma, abusive relationships, and depression. What even neuroscientists do not fully understand is the link between addiction and the unconscious brain, which processes approximately eleven million pieces of information per second. In fact, most addictive behaviors occur outside of conscious awareness, which processes information at a much slower rate (approximately forty pieces of information per second) and becomes overwhelmed when the unconscious part of the brain is filled with painful memories, fears, and other forms of emotional turmoil.
Recovery from addiction must be viewed as a lifelong “work in progress” and as a courageous journey in facing the unknown. The goal is to better equip oneself to accept the things which cannot be changed. Addiction can be overcome by creating and following a structured and mindful set of cognitive and behavioral coping strategies. These learned strategies can provide a stable and comforting “blueprint” for an addict’s new narrative. Well-being during recovery requires the motivation to continue learning, especially from the setbacks. As an individual moves beyond the cycle of addiction and creates a new, empowered, wise, and humble narrative, a sense of self-worth and purpose will evolve in one’s daily relationships and activities. Although this is a difficult path, the result is the creation of a different quality of life.