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Debunking Addiction

Substance use withdrawal from alcohol, opiates and benzodiazepines is unpleasant and can be dangerous or even fatal, as I wrote about in my last post, Dehumanizing Addicts: A Stigma Leading To Deaths. But different substances produce different kinds of withdrawals and dangers. Here is an overview of withdrawal symptoms for alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines (a future post will address more substances).
How do you know if you're addicted to your phone? Phones and tablet devices are rapidly becoming the most addictive substances in Western culture (What Is Addiction? Addiction Definition). The extent to which we use and rely upon our phones is staggering. We are rapidly becoming a society full of cell phone and social media addicts, thanks to fantastic developments in cell phone technology intended to improve our lives. The first step to abating the rise of phone addiction is to spread awareness about what it means to be addicted to your phone. 
Too often American society dehumanizes and devalues the lives of drug users, particularly drug addicts (Changing Addiction Stigmas to Fight Substance Abuse). Not recognizing and responding to the humanity of drug addicts is a dangerous moral and societal failing.
I sought God early in sobriety. Faith in God or a Higher Power is a controversial issue among recovering alcoholics. Many of us grew up in homes where religion was forced upon us and consequently eschewed prayer or reliance upon any God later in life (Addiction Recovery Programs: One Step Forward, 12 Steps Back). For myself, I was not opposed to the concept as much as others, and found, in early sobriety, that it was a great comfort to me. Here are the reasons why I felt compelled to find belief in God in early sobriety and how I did it. 
We need improved access to substance abuse treatment in the United States. Ludicrous wait times and addiction treatment prices are costing Americans too much in every way. Improving access to substance abuse treatment would save lives, money, and countless intangible types of loss.
Buddhism is more than a religion and spiritual practice -- the principles of Buddhism provide tools for an addiction recovery program. Applying the principles of Buddhism to addiction recovery is not necessarily a new or unique idea, but it is less mainstream than typical addiction recovery programs. Maybe this program will resonate with you more so than SMART Recovery, Moderation Management, or 12 step programs.
Naloxone (brand name Narcan)  saves lives from opioid overdose by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. America's problem--some say epidemic-- with heroin and prescription opioids is big news, so why is naloxone, which saves lives from opioid overdose, controversial?
Old, addictive behaviors can crop up, leading to a relapse. These are often traits that served us well in our addiction by enabling us to use or drink with minimal interference. By evaluating our behavior through the lens of humility, we are able to see when old, addictive behaviors resurface and if they may be leading you to a relapse.
It's important to treat both the mental illness and the addiction if you have a dual diagnosis. Like most people I know in recovery, I have dual diagnosis (also called co-occurring disorders). This just means that I have been diagnosed with a mental illness in addition to having addiction problems. Dual diagnosis is extremely common--after all, many people abuse substances in order to cover up the effects of a mental illness. If you do have a dual diagnosis, you must treat the addiction and the mental illness.
Improving sobriety by healing resentments is the ultimate goal of revisiting painful memories. When we have successfully navigated our memories and emotions, we have the opportunity to let them go so that they no longer harm us. In order for old resentments to no longer hold power over us, we have to choose to forgive ourselves and the other person. You can heal resentments to improve your sobriety.
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