|Addiction is a stage in the learning process. We get
addicted to drugs because we learn to associate drugs with pleasure.
We drink at celebrations. We drink when we meet our mates at bars. We discover the immediate gratification of drugs when drug dealers push the drugs on us for free. Drugs are a quick fix; we learn to associate drugs with pleasure.
Why is that when someone goes to jail because of drugs or murders someone they love when drunk, why is it that they don't associate drugs with pain? Because that one time they did something stupid, when under the influence of drugs, is the exception to the rule; there are already millions of associations between drugs and pleasure in their mind. Those are the overwhelming associations. That is why it's nearly impossible to give up drugs or alcohol.
So what's the point of writing this, if there's no hope? There's only one way to overcome addiction: plug up the hole that releases the awareness of that pleasure into the conscious mind.
You see, you don't need a million contrary associations in order to overcome the addiction to drugs or alcohol. You need a few important blocks of conditioning to plug up the hole. Will the plug or, in other words, the cure hold? The answer is: only if you want it to.
Counter-conditioning is the best way to overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol. You can administer it yourself when you know what are the dynamics of addiction.
As I said, addiction is a stage in the learning process. Addiction to drugs and alcohol takes time. To counter-condition yourself against the use of drugs for immediate gratification, you need to reprogram your subconscious mind against the pleasurable associations with drugs and alcohol.
You can visit prisons and talk to inmates. Eighty-five percent of all crimes are committed by people under the influence of alcohol.
You can visit skid row and learn to associate the bottle of alcohol with living in squalor.
You can visit hospitals and speak to the victims of car accidents that were caused by drunk drivers and drug addicts. When sober, all these people are perfectly normal. So you have to take the trouble to associate drug addiction with the misery of their condition.
Don't reflect on your own problems with drugs and alcohol, because all your associations with drugs are pleasurable. Your subconscious mind doesn't allow even one bad example. You have to look at the misery of others and begin to learn to associate drugs and alcohol with the ensuing problems that are before your eyes. Then the process of counter-conditioning begins objectively.
Then you need to begin the association between healthy living habits, such as consuming healthy food and drink, with what is pleasurable in life. Always learn to associate the good life with healthy habits, and do your best not to attend parties where people drink or do drugs. Go to parties after the Cocktail Hour is over and leave before people start getting tipsy. Look away from people drinking and having a good time. There has to be a conscious effort on your part not to absorb positive associations with respect to drinking and drugs.
Shun the company of addict friends. You can't help them and they'll surely harm you unconsciously. Once you've achieved the necessary block of counter-conditioning, it'll be easier to give up drugs and alcohol. It takes time and it's very hard, but it can be done.
If you're not motivated to help yourself, then you should consider medical programs that administer counter-conditioning or even aversion therapy. Learning about the addiction process can be of help to you even if you can't afford to get proper treatment. It's possible that someday, when you've suffered enough pain, you'll take another look at overcoming your addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Here's another page on why it's so hard to overcome addiction.
Addiction Index | Communication Index