Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I recently attended a recovery meeting where the leader went over the basics of what the Disease Of Addiction is. As one of our PSST parents said “I never wanted to visit the world of addiction but now that I am here; I will learn all that I can to help myself, my family and my child in our recovery.”

Following is a recap of the handout from the meeting.

Addiction is a disease which can be clearly defined and described. It is present when the use of mind altering substances causes any kind of continuing problems in any area of a person’s life. Even though their use of drugs / alcohol has harmful consequences on the individual emotionally, socially, mentally, physically and spiritually, he or she continues to use.

Addiction takes precedence over all [and devalues relationships] in life; God, family, friends, self and community.


1. PRIMARY Addiction is NOT just a symptom of underlying problems, but a disease in its own right. Addiction treatment is successful, in part because it treats addiction as a primary illness.

Addiction causes mental, emotional, physical and spiritual problems – it is NOT the result them. These problems cannot be addressed, until the substance use stops. Some addicts do have emotional problems, which need treatment, but this is a separate issue from the addiction and must be treated as such.

2. PROGRESSIVE & PREDICTABLEOnce addiction starts it will get worse without treatment.

Addiction has a start and an end; addiction moves through a series of stages. If the addict stops using and then starts using again, they do not go back to the beginning, they pick up right where they left off.

Occasionally a crisis [i.e. school suspension, medical issue, job loss, arrest] may trigger a leveling off, or even an improvement, but over time and without treatment the disease of addiction will inevitably get worse. The problems that that addiction causes will become closer together, more intense and will spread into more areas of the addict’s life.

3. CHRONIC & PERMANENTOnce you have this disease you will always have it.

Addicts are able to lead normal lives, if they accept and maintain a solid program of recovery; but the disease remains present in remission and will become active again if the addict lets go of his or her sobriety program.

”One is too many; and One Thousand is never enough.” – recovery meeting saying

4. FATAL ADDICTION KILLS, whether from a heart condition, high blood pressure, liver trouble, bleeding ulcer, suicide, overdose, car accident, bar fight or a drug deal gone bad - IF THE ADDICT CONTINUES TO USE.

Editor’s Note: There is a recovery meeting saying “Addiction will end in either Recovery, Jail, Institutionalization or Death.”

At our meeting the leader correctly pointed out that that saying can simple be shortened to “Addiction will end in either Recovery or Death.”

5. TREATABLEThe addict who is willing to do whatever it takes to stay clean and sober can be given the necessary tools to maintain sobriety.

Editor’s Note: The addict is THE ONLY ONE that can work his or her recovery program. Parents, spouses, partners, children, family and friends can assist and support the addict – very often they want recovery more than the addict does – but you cannot work the program for them.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS Following are signs and symptoms of the disease of addiction:

1. TOLERANCE – The state of progressively decreasing responsiveness to a drug. This results in the need to use increasingly greater amounts of drugs to obtain the desired effects.

Tolerance results in physical alterations to the central nervous system and the liver to function while under the influence of the substance.

2. WITHDRAWAL or abstinence syndrome. The physical symptoms relating to a declining amount of a substance in the body; this begins when the level of the drug in the body declines, not just when the substance is removed.

3. CRAVING & COMPULSION – The chain of thoughts, feelings and behaviors which tend to progress in severity and intensity unless they are interrupted. The following is a representation of that chain:

Dreaming > Conscious Thoughts > Arguments with self about using > Intrusive thoughts about using > Daydreams about the pleasurable aspects of using > Obsessive Thinking > Plotting to Use > Experiencing Powerful Withdrawal > Getting the Drug and Using It

Cravings begin at "Dreaming Level" and will progress over days, or weeks, until it sticks at the “Obsessive Thinking > Plotting to Use” Levels. This is where the addict must make their choice to put their recovery tools in place to stop their relapse process [i.e. attend meetings and ask for help / contact their sponsor] or to complete the chain and eventually relapse.


5. CONTINUED USE DESPITE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES - This is the hallmark of what it means to have the disease of addiction.

6. DENIAL / DISTORTED THINKING -- This is an addict’s defense mechanism to convince/justify to themselves that whatever it takes to procure the drug is normal and is worth the time and money invested. Denial allows them to put their addiction ahead of their family, friends, work and social responsibilities.



Please be aware that this is a very serious and potentially deadly situation that you and your child are involved in.

If you know, or even suspect, that your teenager is using controlled substances please attend one of our meetings or seek help with another group, facility or agency.

This is not something that you should attempt to resolve on your own. The longer that you wait to find assistance the more serious the consequences may be for you and your child.

Understand that your child's life and their future are more important than your community social standing, what your family, friends, boss or co-workers might say or think about you, your child's High School activities and graduation, and what college they may attend.

Many of us here at PSST once used these same excuses to delay looking for the help that our children needed.

PSST is here to EMPOWER YOU, THE PARENTS of teenage substance abusers with the support, information, skills and techniques a parent needs to help their teenager to save their life.

While there are no quick fixes, at the PSST Meetings we learn from other parents and professionals how to cure our codependency and how to end our enabling behavior.

1 comment:

Lloyd Woodward said...

The Disease can also be viewed in more personal terms. It is in essence a recovering person's altered personality. When someone is doing well in recovery there is an addict inside them trying to get out. When a recovering person has fallen, somewhere inside there is a recovery just maneuvering to get out. Sometimes, it mysteriously looks like a "cry for help" and it really is that clean person inside trying to get back on top.

The disease thrives in secrecy. Telling on your disease, like inside of a discussion group at 12-step, when basically you are revealing your "stinkin thinkin" to others is very effective way to keep your disease in check.

There are two prime strategies that the Disease will attempt in cases where the recovering person is too strong to "pick up." If the Disease be successful with these two strategies, then all the Disease usually has to do it wait, and eventually the recovering person will fall.

1.) Move the recovering person father away from people in recovery, e.g., "Those meetings don't help me at all- in fact, that's when I want to get high."

2.) Move the recovering person closer to people that use drugs., sometimes closer to other addicts but often closer to more casual users.

Now wait. It's a sure thing for the disease.


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