Triggers and Cravings (Part 4): Disenchantment Phase

Triggers and Cravings (Part 4): Disenchantment Phase


– Hello. You are about to watch a video
produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration. The third phase of addiction
is “disenchantment”– the “person uses more,
and more often, and uses larger amounts.” – I never really even
thought of myself as using– I was having fun. And I never thought of myself
as dependent until later, when I looked back
and realized there were long periods
of time when that’s all I did,
was use, every day. I couldn’t get through a day
without using something. – During disenchantment, the negative effects
outweigh the positive ones, yet use continues. This is the classic
definition of “addiction”– “continuing use despite
negative consequences.” We still do not
fully understand why some people can stop
at this point and others cannot. – A guy handed me that pill
and it was called– On the street,
the terms were “doojie,” “buck-action,”
“horse,” et cetera, and I remember
snorting that substance and getting real nauseous
and sick and sitting on the toilet stool,
not to defecate, but to try to sweat my way
through those feelings of what’s happening to my body and praying to whatever god
I understood, at that time, to help me get through that. And, of course,
I got through that, and I remember seeing that guy
the next day and I was like,
“Damn, what was that? Do you have another one?” – At this point,
triggers are many, frequent, and very strong. These triggers result
in constant thoughts of getting and using
the drug or alcohol and in avoiding
the negative consequences. The person’s normal life
disappears. Now, the craving response
starts working overtime. The person just thinks
about the drug and then has a full-blown
physiological response, as if he or she
had already used. That craving
drives the person to obtain the substance
and then to use it. Very little of this process
occurs in the rational brain. It happens
in the addicted brain. In the disenchantment phase,
rational thought is gone and cravings
become very powerful. Even situations only slightly
related to drug or alcohol use may trigger strong cravings. – And, along the way,
I found myself continually getting arrested
for drunk-in-publics, continually getting
arrested for assaults and possession of marijuana
and certain drugs. – I was a high school dropout. I had had several
interactions with the police. I caught a couple of cases. And, by this time,
I went from smoking marijuana to smoking crack cocaine, so I was a full-blown
crack addict. And I really didn’t realize it,
at the time, I didn’t realize
I had an addiction. I just thought
that I was making some– I was just having
some trying times. But those trying times just spiraled out of control,
for years. I had lost
a lot of respect– or people had lost respect
for myself and it just got
out of control, to the point where I was
panhandling on the corners, selling the shoes
off my feet. I would sell the shoes off
your feet, if you allowed me to. I would steal, I would rob,
I would break in people’s homes. And when I was
doing these things, I was never proud,
doing them. – But I just kept going. When I was 16,
my mother became ill, and was in a lot of medical
treatment– she had cancer. And when I was 17,
she died. So when I was 16,
I started drinking alone. I would take it from– my father had a large stock
of alcohol in the basement and I would just steal it. Or if I went to your house,
I would take your alcohol. I would wait ’til
you were somewhere else and I would find it
and drink it. And I just found alcohol
wherever I could go. – As my disease progressed
and as I got older, it was the same way. I would, you know, hang out
with all the people that were drinking
and drugging in high school
and middle school, and when they were done, I would
go use on my own, you know, and my using progressed
pretty heavily. I mean, my last few years
of high school, I could safely say I was using
five or six days a week.

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