PATH IN THE NEWS
Addictive Thoughts - Can They Help You To Recover?
If you're suffering from an addictive disorder the addictive thoughts can be the bane of your life. Cropping up whenever you're at your weakest, they seem to be the driving force that propels you down destructive paths. But what if you could learn to use your addictive thoughts as a weapon in the battle against addiction? It's not as silly as it sounds. Learning to accept and work with your addictive urges really can help you to overcome them.
Those with addictive disorders often struggle with self acceptance. Self-loathing is generally the way in which they react to themselves. When addictive thoughts occur, someone trying to recover from their addictive disorder often responds with counterproductive self-hatred. 'What is wrong with me', they wonder, 'to make me crave this self-destruction?' We need to recognize that crushing our addictive thoughts is crushing an aspect of ourselves. Perhaps not a positive aspect, but an aspect nonetheless. To consistently crush yourself will ultimately lead you back to addiction. Instead, try to learn from your addictive thoughts.
Studying your addictive thoughts can teach you an awful lot about yourself. This knowledge is a powerful weapon in the battle against addiction. When you are struck with an addictive urge, don't clamp down on it. Don't give in to it, either. Stop and study it. What situation did it occur in? How were you feeling? What were the triggers? How did it manifest? Learning these things can give you forewarning about the kinds of ways in which your addictive disorder is operating, and give you the self-knowledge you need to combat it. So don't try and brush away your addictive thoughts. Accept them as a part of yourself, and learn from them. For more on this, read this article.
webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio: Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101
Community essay: Long history of war against drug users
By David and Gretchen Bergman5 p.m.May 9, 2014
In our ongoing war against the “war on drugs,” we had an extraordinary experience recently. We visited the newest hot spot, the conversion of the old San Diego downtown police headquarters into an upscale venue of restaurants, chocolatiers, boutiques and other tourist attractions.
In one corner was a historical exhibit of the original headquarters, showing a cell block that you could walk into, original prison cells, uniforms, control weapons, authentic badges and other memorabilia reflective of our city’s response to crime in the early decades of the last century.
Most interesting and telling was an original photographic display of apparently randomly selected inmates of the jail through the decade of the 1940s. The display featured 162 individuals with their mug shots, dates of arrest and charges. These people consisted of men, women, white, black, brown, young and older adults. Every one of the 162 displays contained drug-related charges. From petty crimes to murder and kidnapping, each contained an associated drug charge. The range of the suspects’ descriptions and charges varied from “weedhead” to “narcotic smuggler,” “marijuana possession,” “drug user” and “opium user.” At least two out of three of the photos had the label “addict” included.
Now, this was not intended to be an exhibit of the history of drug crime in America. Nothing suggested that the exhibit creators were even aware of the 100 percent coincidence of the associated drug charges. This was just a random selection of the felons San Diego was incarcerating in the 1940s. But every one had drug-related charges. This hit us like a lightning bolt.
The visceral reaction to the cage-like cells and the undeniable reality that this “war” against people who use drugs has been going on so long simply astounded us, despite our decades of advocacy for humane drug policy and against the stigmatization and criminalization of drug use and addiction. The unintentional but implicit message of the 162 member rogues’ gallery was that in the 1940s in San Diego, if you were a criminal you were an addict, or if labeled an addict, you were a criminal.
If anything demonstrates the macabre and paranoid attitude the United States has had toward drug use this seemingly objective, culturally friendly, historical, community enhancing display is the best example we’ve ever come across.
This exhibit clearly shows how indelibly interwoven the demonizing, shame and criminalization of drug use has been and continues to be in our society.
David Bergman is a retired psychiatrist. Gretchen Bergman is co-founder and executive director of a New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing).
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