Having struggled with addiction issues myself in the past, I’m fairly familiar with the addiction process, as well as the recovery process therefrom. I am a successfully recovered alcoholic and food addict: I don’t mind admitting that, because in doing so, I might be helping someone else. I’m not sure how many personal trainers in Mississauga, Ontario have knowledge about addictions, the addictive process and the recovery process, but I am one. I find it often helps me help my clients, because I seem to periodically get new clients that either struggle with addiction themselves, or they have a friend or family member who does.
If you struggle with a behaviour you can’t stop, or if you know someone who does, please read this blog, and watch my video. There are certain things you need to know in order to get over your problem.
First things first: you can’t solve a problem without first knowing what the problem is. Addiction is a disease process: a disease of mind, body and spirit, and as such all 3 of these areas must be addressed.
Let’s say you’re a problem drinker. You may think that alcohol is your problem, but it actually isn’t. Life – living life – is your problem. You can’t cope as others can without alcohol to “get through” (no judgment, blame or shame on my part here, it is what it is for whatecver reason). Alcohol isn’t your problem: it’s actually your solution. It makes you feel better. It calms you down, relaxes you, takes away the mental turmoil.
There are real neurological processes at work here keeping you in the addiction cycle: it’s been proven that the brain of the alcoholic – and drug addict for that matter – is depleted of Dopamine, the neurotransmitter that gives us drive and motivation. Without it, we feel depressed, anxious and distressed. This is the state of mind of the addict/alcoholic without their drug.
By the way, food addiction works the same way. Obese people have been shown to have significantly less Dopamine than non-obese people. The mechanism, we believe, is the same: you can be addicted to food, and become miserable if you don’t get your food “fix.”
But that’s only the MENTAL part of the problem. Without your drug you feel distressed, anxious, depressed, and it eventually becomes all you can think about. Your thinking becomes obsessive about getting your next “hit,” until you finally can’t say no anymore, and you “use” again. Sound familiar?
If it were only a mental problem, that’d be ok. You’d have a shot, a hit, or a bite, and you’d be ok! But it doesn’t work that way. By ingesting the addictive substance you trigger a craving in your body that demands more. Not always a bunch more, and not always immediately, but it’s always too much. We drink just a little too much and find ourselves isolated from friends, family, employers, etc. We eat too much and we never lose the weight we want to, no matter how hard we try.
That’s the PHYSICAL part of the problem: we have to have more, once we start drinking/using/eating.
The SPIRITUAL part of the problem is simply this: life looks bleak and not worth living without our drug. We need to find something to replace what we used if we’re to successfully overcome the addiction problem.
If you’re a drinker or use drugs, 12 step recovery programs offer just this thing. So do other treatment programs, if you’re not in to the spiritual side of 12 step recovery. Regardless, to get over the spiritual issue, you will need to find something that’s BETTER than the alcohol/drug/food was. It is possible. I did. I know countless others who did to.
You’re also going to have to break isolation. You’ll have to reach out for help. Trying it on your own hasn’t worked thus far, and most likely won’t going forward. So why not try something new? Ask for help.
I may be a simple fitness trainer living in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, but I’m connected to a host of resources that can help you if you think you might struggle with addiction. I can help you: my life coaching program and my food programs are designed to integrate elements of recovery in them when necessary.
As always, you can reach out for help any time. My cell # is 647-677-6025 (please feel free to text there too), and my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. If I don’t think I can help you directly, I will be sure to point you in the direction of the resources that I believe can.
Breaking out of an addiction isn’t easy, but it is doable. It’s a disease, and as such we need to learn to be gentle on ourselves. It’s not a disease that we chose, much like cancer, but unlike some cancers there is ALWAYS something we can do about it. We can reach out for help, because there are solutions out there that work, if we’re willing to work them.
Think about this: addiction, they say, is the only disease that leaves you BETTER OFF after you’ve recovered. That’s because to recover you work on your whole self, mind, body and spirit. As a result, you become better than you’ve ever been before.
Two quick questions for you:
1. If, when you sincerely want to stop, you find you can’t stay stopped (i.e. you quit for a time, but always end up going back to it), or
2. If, at least sometimes, when you’re drinking/eating/using you find you take too much and it bothers you…
Then you’re probably addicted. Seriously. Either 1. or 2., and not necessarily both, are the only conditions that need to be met for a probable addiction. Do you qualify? If so, what will you do about it?