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Substance Abuse Counselling

Harmful Effects of Addiction

Addiction is a DISEASE and there are no two ways about it. And to top it all, it is a very nasty disease to have. It is the only disease that denies its own existence and resists treatment. Secondly, the medical definition of addiction is that it is a chronic and relapsing disease. Chronic diseases are like diabetes; you can control it but cannot cure it and relapsing refers to the fact that an alcoholic or addict can revert to drinking or using drugs even after staying clean and sober for some time. Third reason why it is a nasty disease is that the success rate is very low. It is the road less traveled. Some estimate that even after completing treatment in a rehabilitation center, only 20% of the patients will remain clean and sober. When we talk about the success rate we have to talk about a timeline. At the end of 5 years the success rate drops to 2-5%. From this discussion we can see that Recovery from alcohol and drugs is very elusive and unless the person is willing to go to any length to stay clean and sober he or she will not succeed. From all this discussion it is obvious that addiction and alcoholism is a very-very nasty disease. It affects the person at all levels. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and socially, in fact there is no area of ones life that remains untouched by addiction.

I have written in detail about the harmful effects of Marijuana, Brown Sugar and Alcohol on the human body. Today let us look at the harmful spiritual effects. When we talk about spirituality, we don’t refer to religious practices. Like going to the temple, mosque, church or gurudwara or keeping fasts etc. These are not being spiritual but only following rituals. Spirituality is more than that. Religion is for people who do not want to go to hell and spirituality is for people who have been to hell and back. In my opinion spirituality refers to relationships. A person has three important relationships in life. The first and foremost is relationship with oneself. If one does not have a relationship with oneself then one cannot have a relationship with others. Having a relationship with oneself starts by looking after oneself. Taking care of health and hygiene is for starters. Then it entails getting rid of resentments, jealousy, past pains, regrets etc. Balancing all the addictive behaviors. Basically, being at peace with oneself and feeling comfortable in ones own skin. The voices in your head will no longer irk you. You will no longer mind solitude. You will then have what is called a fit spiritual condition or have a good relationship with yourself.

Life is all about relationships. Man is a social animal and family is the unit one has to start with. Addicts and alcoholics treat strangers with more courtesy than they do their own family members. This is a bitter truth. Family comes first. That is the harbor where I can come to rest and recuperate after facing the storms of day to day living in the outside world. It is not necessary for me to like my family, after all it is an accident of birth, but if I can not even be polite then my recovery has no meaning. It is worthless. After immediate family comes friends. Friends are the family we chose for ourselves. We share things with them without any hesitation and they can give us the appropriate feedback. Next comes relatives or extended family and then society at large.

The third and most important relationship is with the God of your understanding. The 12 Step Program gives you complete freedom in choosing the God of your own understanding. It is a very important relationship. It offers hope, strength and succor in times of difficulty. God can stand for many things; Good orderly Direction; Group of Drunks or Drugees etc. It is not necessary to believe in a religious God. People who do find it easier but even agnostics and atheists can benefit from the program of 12 Steps. Even Pascal’s postulates logically explain why it is better to believe in God than not. If there is a God and you do not believe in it then you are depriving yourself of a source Great Power. In any case the term used in the 12 Step Program is Higher Power.

All this is explained at Sahyog and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.