“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu, ancient Chinese general, military strategist, philosopher, author of he Art of War (born c. 500 B.C.)
Many of us view addiction as the enemy, and our struggles against addiction amount to nothing less than all-out war. In a way, this isn’t a bad way to look at addiction, since it can occur to anyone at any time without discrimination and can be so devastating to the individual as well as to others in close contact with the person such as family and friends. Addiction, like war, can lay waste to a person’s health, family and other relationships, finances, social stature, mental health and more.
If addiction is something to fight against, how can we win the war against it? Taking a cue from the philosophy of Sun Tzu is wholly appropriate here. A masterful strategist in the military arena, Sun Tzu knew that soldiers who marched off into battle completely unprepared but hoping to win were doomed to defeat. He also taught that the belief that one can win is critical to actually winning – before going into battle.
We can use the same principle when we view our efforts to overcome addiction. While it’s true that we need to understand the disease process of addiction and learn how to recognize triggers and cravings and build up a toolkit of strategies to employ to keep ourselves from falling back into our addictive behaviors, we will be more likely to succeed if we tell ourselves – and believe it – that we can, indeed, win the war against addiction.
No, we won’t ever be cured. There is no cure for addiction. But this doesn’t mean that we will lose the war against addiction. On the contrary, as long as we continue to do the work that’s required for effective recovery, we have already won. But we must keep on doing the work in order for our victorious efforts to continue.
How does believing that we’ll win the fight against our addiction help in our daily struggles to overcome the disease? It’s a simple matter, really. Envisioning success in our goal of abstinence is the key to actually being able to achieve sobriety milestones – and long-lasting, effective recovery. It isn’t wishing makes it so but working to make it so. That’s the bottom line.
Why, then, do so many of us have such a hard time believing what others tell us that we can overcome our addiction, that we have it within our power to do so? It all stems from a core of diminished self-beliefs that we’ve likely carried with us for some time, or have begun to believe over the course of our addictive past. It doesn’t however, mean that, lacking the belief that we can win the war against our addiction that we can’t learn how to believe in our strengths and ability to do so. We can. We learn this by talking things over with our counselor, with our sponsor, with our fellow 12-step group members, and by enlisting the support of our loved ones and friends.
We do need to give ourselves time to start believing in ourselves again. But every day that we work our recovery with all that we have, is another day that we move just that much closer to realizing that we are winners – we can win the war against our addiction.
08 Aug 2011
Opioids, and painkillers in particular, are widely abused in the United States. Some drugs, like heroin, are illicit substances that have been outlawed and can only be obtained on the black market via drug dealers. Others, like OxyContin, are available via doctor’s prescription and, up until very recently, used to be available at the corner pharmacy (OxyContin robberies have reduced the number of US pharmacies willing to stock the drug).
People who use methamphetamines may have a 76 percent higher likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a recent study.
Researchers at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health say the connection may lie in the way methamphetamines, or meth, harm the neurons related to dopamine. Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that kills the cells located in the midbrain region that contains dopamine, although researchers do not know exactly what causes these cells to cease.
Over time, methamphetamine has been shown in brain imaging studies to change the way the dopamine system functions and to cause problems with motor skills and the ability to retain verbal information. Serious structural damage has also been noted in the brain areas linked with the ability to remember information and to manage emotions.
Methamphetamines, part of the stimulant class of drugs, belong to one of the most commonly used illegal categories of drugs across the globe. Because of its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug and is available to patients only by a prescription and in limited quantities.
Researchers also stated in an article on CBC News that the higher risk of Parkinson’s disease is not applicable to patients taking amphetamines for conditions like ADHD or medicinal purposes, because they use much smaller, medically approved dosages. The research study results are included in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal.
During the study, researchers looked at the medical reports for 40,000 California patients who had been hospitalized for methamphetamine use over a 15-year period. They also examined thousands more records for patients admitted for cocaine and appendicitis. They compared this data to records of Parkinson’s disease found on death records or hospital records, determining a link between methamphetamine use and the presence of Parkinson’s disease.
05 Aug 2011
Did you know that some of our most respected figures in history were addicts of some kind? Not only were Sigmund Freud and Winston Churchill addicts in their day, but perhaps the most recent known successful addict in today’s times is the founder of the multi-billion dollar company, Broadcom, Mr. Henry T. Nicholas III.
04 Aug 2011
Given the option to receive one dollar today or 10 dollars next week, most of us would choose to wait for the larger sum. People addicted to stimulants, however, tend toward instant gratification and would likely take the dollar today rather than wait for 10. This inability to appreciate value in the future is called delay discounting, and it presents challenges to those treating addicts.