Post about "Addictions"

Is a Drug Addict or Alcoholic Ever Cured?

Upon getting information about an upcoming school science fair and the need to consider a topic of interest, many students will typically have no idea where to get started. While the science fair is typically a common occurrence in any school at any grade level, there are different types of topics that should be taken a look at depending on the age of the student. After first taking a look at the many different categories of science projects, you will be able to locate a suitable choice of topic to take to the next level.There is a wide variety of categories that fall under the types of science projects that can be chosen for a school science fair. These include biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, biochemistry, medicine, environmental, mathematics, engineering, and earth science. While you may not have yet learned very much in any of these categories, don’t be afraid to see what each one entails. Taking a good look at your interests will allow you to focus on the right direction to take.Many resources are also available for those who are unsure as to the topic they are wanting to use to create their science projects. If you take a look at the topics that fall under the biology category, you will likely notice that there are topics that deal with plants, animals, and humans. For those who are in 2nd grade or 3rd grade, an interesting topic may be to determine if ants are picky over what type of food they eat. While this topic might not be of interest to an 8th grader, it is certainly something in the biology category that an elementary school student would enjoy.Along with the biology category, a high school student may want to take a look at diffusion and osmosis in animal cells as this would be a more appropriate topic for the grade level. A student in 6th grade would be more advanced than an elementary school student, but not as advanced as a high school student. At this middle school grade level, a topic of how pH levels effect the lifespan of a tadpole may be of interest.Whichever resource is used to locate a topic for science projects, it is always a good idea to consider the grade level of the student prior to making a selection. It is always assumed to be best to have a project at an appropriate level in order to keep the attention of the student and provide a fun and enjoyable learning experience.

Treatment for Sex Addiction: 12-Step Groups

The Problem of AddictionTo be at risk for addiction, two psychological preconditions seem to exist during childhood. First, the child has become over- reliant on sources of comfort outside of himself to provide a feeling of being soothed, safe and secure. Second, the child had difficulty making a healthy separation from the primary parent, with later concerns that closeness and intimacy can be dangerous. Both of these preconditions come about as a result of failure in empathy in the parent-child relationship that leaves the child feeling misunderstood, unsupported and potentially unloved. What develops is a developmental arrest, so that the adult in later life is more driven to seek pleasure and avoid the pain of living since the demands of reality appear too challenging. This theme of seeking solace in pleasurable experiences despite adverse consequences in reality is central in the lives of addicts.A developmental arrest keeps a sector of the personality immature. The result can be deficits that leave the potential addict without the capacity to regulate inner feelings of distress, to delay gratification, to exercise impulse control, to recognize and articulate feelings, or to create meaningful attachments to others.When active addiction sets in, the problems the individual experiences in dealing with the vicissitudes of living seem to be magically solved. The addiction is the glue that holds together the disparate parts of a fragile self. It reinforces a sense of omnipotence, grandiosity and perfection and blots out aspects of reality that are not in concert with that perception. It anesthetizes the individual from painful aspects associated with attempts at expressing the true self. It defends against the need for intimacy or closeness, as the addict relies only on his addiction for a sense of pseudo-intimacy and closeness. For an addict, to be without the addiction would feel like personal annihilation.The inner world of the addict is characterized by intense feelings that are often experienced as unbearable, overwhelming and not transitory in time. These feelings form the context within which the addict lives. The actions and choices of an active addict are organized around an attempt to manage intense feelings. No object is too formidable as the addict, in an attempt to feel “normal”, succumbs to the imperious impulse to indulge. Unfortunately, the strength of the urge obliterates the ability to reflect upon the potentially devastating consequences of his action.Addiction is always experienced as a profound sense of alienation from self and others, since the ability to establish meaningful inter-personal relationships is often crippled by toxic experiences with early-life caretakers. I quote a former client:I was alone and it was loneliness and it was intense. I think the only love in life has been the drug…I just felt so alone…I was sad, so lonely, so isolated. I knew I wasn’t being me… that I could be different, but I couldn’t with people. As far as having some friends, really being close to somebody, there wasn’t anybody…I just wasn’t able to keep connections.Even in the face of devastating consequences to his external and internal worlds, the addict holds on tenaciously to his only source of identity, stability, comfort and support – the drug.It is only when the pain of active addiction outweighs its diminishing benefits that the addict holds out the white flag and asks for help. Many of these people get that help in the rooms of anonymous 12-step groups.How Fellowship HealsAddicts need to substitute people for their substances. For those who choose it, 12-step meetings does this in abundance. The groups offer many individuals who care, who have similar stories and do not tire of hearing new ones. Because of this caring and support, members in the group may be able to gently confront the addict with his maladaptive defenses of denial, rationalization and magical thinking without inflicting new wounds upon the self. The impulse-controlling capacity of these other individuals is gradually internalized and becomes a part of the self-governing structure of the self. The group itself, as a consistent, caring object also may be internalized. Over time, the psychological wounds of growing up in a dysfunctional family can be repaired through the acquisition of a new family that provides the empathic soothing and caring that was missing in early childhood.The 12-step program itself, with its regularity and predictability, its repetitive slogans, and its structure, provides a certain order — a system –even a ritual, which can be used by the addict in the development of internalized self-governing structuresA mark of the addictive experience is a sense of overwhelm when faced with intense feelings for which language is inadequate. A 12-step meeting offers a series of lessons in using language to represent the self. The basic format of the meeting is that people gather to speak of themselves and listen to others speak about themselves. This provides a powerful experience in modeling how to use language to express feelings and experience. In this way, what was once felt to be unutterable is formulated into words which then de-fuse potentially overwhelming affect.There is a certain type of control within the individual personality which can have its source only outside of the personality – the moral principles advocated by a closely knit solitary group – and can only be made effective against self-centered, gratification-oriented impulses by an involuntary feeling of belongingness and allegiance to such a group.The unembarrassed acknowledgment of the need for participation in a caring community without ulterior motives, one which accepts the individual totally for what he is, is the linchpin upon which the 12-step process is based. The founders of AA recognized that the self cannot exist as a solitary structure; that its survival and value require participation in a social structure or community. The development of a true self is always participating with others in its realization and fulfillment.This is the beginning of the “unfreezing” of the developmental arrest and becomes an adaptive substitute for the destructive, maladaptive addiction.But it is only the beginning. The passage from infantile narcissism to emotional maturity and full humanity is ultimately accomplished by consistent immersion in working the 12 steps.How the Steps HealStep 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.The admission of powerlessness over the one’s addiction is the first defeat of infantile egoism, a first step in the assumption of responsibility.The conviction that one can no longer engage in one’s addiction becomes an inarguable truth. Denial breaks down as the addict increasingly sees that to give way to the impulse to “pick up” has far-reaching and devastating consequences.The addict comes to terms with the essential paradox: you have to lose to win.The term “surrender” permeates step work. There are two facets of this concept in the first step. The first “surrender”, and surely the most significant, is this deep conviction that one is powerless over one’s addiction. One surrenders to the reality that they can never act on the impulse to “pick up”, “One Day at a Time”. The second facet is that the addict is really surrendering their sense of uniqueness. As one admits powerlessness, one no longer expects the world to conform to one’s own egocentric beliefs. The first step is a step toward “living life on life’s terms”. It is making a decision that one is no longer driven by the desire for pleasure and is willing to be open to accepting and coping with reality.Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.An openness to the possibility that a higher power exists necessitates developing boundaries over an egoistic perception of reality. From a psychological developmental perspective, more immature levels of personality structure are egoistic in nature. All things seem related to oneself, a condition that prevents the individual from seeing others for who they really are. Rather, others are seen as extensions of oneself, making it impossible for the individual to have anything but a self-centered point of view.The realization and acceptance of some power greater than one’s egoistic pursuits begins the abandonment of a grandiose posture.Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.This step suggests that another “surrender” be considered. It is the surrender of one’s own willfulness in the decision-making process. When left to their own devises, individuals make decisions based only on their ego-centric motives and ways of seeing the world. The step suggests a less self-driven version of reality which leads one to consider one’s powerlessness over many of the events that occur in one’s life.Step 3 sparks a renewal of trust in living and a loosening of ego-dominated self-sufficiency. Doing the work of this step requires an understanding and acceptance of paradoxical thinking. Prior to recovery, the addict focuses intensely upon control issues. Controlling use of the drug, controlling the amount of damage caused by the using, and controlling emotional distance to minimize vulnerability, held exclusive sway over the addict’s consciousness. Step 3 encourages a more passive mode of letting go by surrendering and allowing events to unfold without futile attempts to control outcomes.Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.The process of emotional development involves a degree of self-knowledge and self-awareness. This step is an opportunity for the addict to see repetitive cognitions and behaviors that inhibit this process.When one sees the contribution that these “character defects” have made in one’s own misery, the process of projection onto other people and external events for unwanted inner states is reduced. The focus is on the self and not the faults of others. The addict can’t help but accept responsibility for his life, a crucial step on the movement towards maturity.Step 5: Admitted to ourselves, God, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.The recovering person is asked to reveal the content of their inventory to another, thus defusing feelings of guilt and shame. Another significance of this step is the movement from isolation to interpersonal immersion in a caring community.Step 6: Became willing to have these defects removed.From a psychological standpoint, an attitude of “willingness” is essential to the process of growth. Again, it puts the person in a less ego-centric stance. It also conveys a breaking down of rigid defense mechanisms that may have worked to survive a frightening, unstable childhood but have now outlived their usefulness and, in fact, contributes to the addict’s here-and-now problems in living.Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove these shortcomings.Humility is a word much discussed in 12-step meetings. The posture of humility allows a person to quell ceaseless self-preoccupation and opens him/her up to having a sense of awe in the moment-to-moment awareness of life, nature, God and fellow human beings. Humility also suggests a turning-point in personality development from the illusion of self-sufficiency to having an inter-dependent view of relating to others.Step 7 is the beginning of understanding that character building and remaining close to essential values is more important than chasing the pleasure of the high.I quote from the book “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” (Alcoholics Anonymous Worldwide):”We never thought of making honesty, tolerance and true love of man and God the daily basis of living. We sought to gain a vision of humility as the avenue to true freedom of the human spirit.”Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to the all.The quality of inter-personal relationships is a mark of a person’s stability and ability to live comfortably with one’s fellows. Here we again come across the word “willingness”, implying a deeper insight into the self as carrying responsibility for repetitive, unsatisfying personal relationships. It is only by letting go of resentment of the real or imagined harms done by others and focusing on what can be changed in oneself that the personality becomes less emotionally vulnerable, less reactive and more stable.Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.The step implies a readiness to take the consequences of past behavior, which is important in developing new modes of being in the world. It is an essential step in the development of a self and other orientation to living.Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.The development of better coping skills in dealing with the vicissitudes of daily living is the psychological underpinning of this step. When thrown off emotional balance by people or new events, the process of taking a quick inventory, admitting to errors in the now and forgiving, or at least tolerating, the imperfections of others is a sign of a stable person who has developed a new way of dealing with reality.Practice of Step 10 releases one from the need to be right, a truly liberating way of operating in the world.Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation a conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.Research has consistently shown the psychological and physical benefits of prayer and meditation. The person in recovery discovers that he is not a victim of his own mind and that he does have power over the state of his inner life. Meditative techniques have a powerful influence in reducing the anxiety that underlies most addictive behaviors. The individual can generate a sense of calm, focus and direction. Psychologically, the 11th Step is a means for even deeper insight into one’s motives and needs.Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.The inherent values of care for others, unconditional love, and genuine, honest relating is the core of the recovery process, a process that produces a mature personality. Maturity connects having an authentic self that has been able to develop adequate coping skills; a sense of “agency” of the self that had been lost to the addiction; the ability to tolerate emotional pain with the knowledge that all internal states are transitory; the development of healthy inter-personal relationships, and a sense of purpose in living.Ultimately, it does feel good to make a contribution, doesn’t it?