There is power in making a decision to undergo something that will be tough now but beneficial in the future. From small decisions, such as getting up early to get in a workout or refusing to bring junk food into your home, to large decisions, such as entering drug and alcohol treatment, you can make a choice to face difficulties today and tomorrow to enjoy greater benefits in the future. However, to learn how to become a transformational decision maker, you need a healthy brain.
There are those who believe that addiction is a choice. To someone with a normally functioning brain, this idea may appeal. However, addiction alters the brain. Those changes make it nearly impossible to prioritize what is truly necessary for you and yours. Once your brain chemistry has been altered, your decision making powers become skewed.
Detox and Beyond
Repairing a brain that has been altered by drug or alcohol abuse is challenging enough, but addressing the underlying issues that may have contributed to drug and alcohol use adds an additional burden. To get a quality diagnosis, you will need professional support. The first step is to safely detox.
Detox is initially physical and, to a great extent, emotional. Depending on the drugs involved and the length of use, physical detox can be incredibly uncomfortable. You may be facing dehydration, nausea, cardiac concerns, and a great deal of pain. For best results, you need professional help from a medical team that can help you get enough fluids and avoid the cramping, diarrhea and general discomfort.
As your brain comes out of the physical stresses of detox, you will likely experience cravings. Cravings are a sign that the drugs in your system have rerouted pathways in your brain and may have suppressed the natural release of hormones like dopamine, or the pleasure chemical. As your personal dopamine production comes back online and your receptors wake back up, you will be able to redirect your brain to better decisions.
This redirection can help you become more aware of your baseline brain activity. For those raised in families impacted by the addiction of a parent, you may find that your baseline brain activity and your personality in general are focused on avoiding conflict. You may have grown up trying not to be seen to avoid becoming a target. This probably kept you safe as a child, but it doesn’t make for a happy life as an adult; sometimes, conflict can be healthy. Learning to stand up for yourself as an adult can be challenging, but therapy can help you make better decisions and transform your life.
Of course, as an adult, your decisions impact more than yourself. You may be married and have children, or you may have siblings and parents who have been negatively impacted by your addictive behavior. That first decision to enter treatment is a critical step in building a better life. Initially, it may make life harder for your family. You may need to be gone for weeks or even months. You may not be able to earn an income. Your family will probably need to come in for counseling with you as you work through your treatment program.
One of the greatest problems with the idea that addiction is a choice is that those around you may choose to place all the “blame” for challenging relationships on you, the addictive behavior or the the drugs alone. It’s entirely possible to have messy, unpleasant relationships with no drugs in anyone’s system. If your family is a mess, you may have to choose to break away from some folks if they refuse to consider counseling.
Getting through detox and into a quality treatment program also allows you to get underlying conditions addressed. Underlying mental health concerns, from anxiety to depression to PTSD, may have led you to experiment with drugs until you found the one that made self-medication possible. Quality treatment with professionals who can provide both counseling and physical support will make it much easier to get an effective diagnosis.
Transformational decisions impact you and your family for the long term. You and yours deserve the best choices that you can make, but until you get through detox and bring your brain back into health with quality treatment, your decision making skills will be negatively impacted. Ready to get started? Call us today at 833-497-3812.