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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: The first task of the alcoholic/addict is to break his/her underlying chemical dependency
Author: Fraser Trevor
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The first task of the alcoholic/addict is to break his/her underlying chemical dependency, which can only be done by drying out and goi...
Sobriety medallion
The first task of the alcoholic/addict is to break his/her underlying chemical dependency, which can only be done by drying out and going sober. Having broken this link, total, life-long abstinence is obligatory for recovery. Gradually, the chemical dependency will weaken as the body chemistry begins to normalize in the absence of the substance. However, the illness is never eradicated and only remains dormant. One drink/drug will immediately awaken the sleeping vampire!  Once dry, few serious sobrietists wish to return to their active addiction, as sober life is immeasurably more fulfilling.

However, sober life is not free from the problems that all other people face. Stressful circumstances and negative, (as well as some positive), emotions can combine with dormant biological factors to trigger dangerous urges and cravings - even many years into sobriety.  Acknowledging, accepting and reaffirming that we can never drink or use, through our daily “Sobriety Priority” pledge, and changing our social and behavioral habits, are vital to reinforce new associations in our mind and to maintain sobriety.  But we also need other weapons in our armory to stave off sudden guerrilla attacks from the limbic system that might lead to relapse.

Years of drinking/using leaves deeply embedded alcohol/drugs = pleasure/relief associations in the neural circuitry of the subconscious mind. Since, unlike fire, the negative consequences of drinking/using are not immediate, a mental GAP exists between the time of using alcohol/drugs and the painful, real consequences When faced with urges or cravings we, therefore, have to close this gap and retrain the limbic system to understand that Alcohol/Drugs = Pain ! We must make the association Immediate, Real and Powerful! Such a method is called :"CLOSING THE GAP" Whenever you get a craving or urge to drink use get real about the consequences immediately. Recollect your worst memory from drinking/using - lying in your own vomit or urine, the wrecked car, your children’s faces, whatever.

Feel the pain, feel the anguish, misery, guilt and embarrassment. Experience these feelings at the gut level and make the connection alcohol/drugs = pain. Repeat these exercises frequently, with as many different incidents as possible. Recall the emotional, physiological and psychological pain. The animal limbic system learns through experience and repetition. And it is a fact that the subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy. (That is why we react physiologically in our dreams). So the more you repeat the process of associating alcohol/drugs with the painful memories, the stronger will this association become, and the old alcohol = pleasure/relief association will loose its potency. Even, simply repeating alcohol/drugs = pain regularly to yourself impacts on the primitive limbic mind.
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