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Does addiction make you mentally strong?

Creeping Death

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While in a group recently (not NA but similar) one of the more outspoken volunteers mentioned that "our condition has made us so much stronger than we were before". Of the people in the room he probably has been sober the longest.

I've lost a car, a relationship, a job, a stable place to live, countless dollars and most of my material possessions over the last year and a half, because heroin makes life much more tolerable even if shit's falling apart. This really didn't take a toll on me emotionally, it was just a gradual decline, until meth came along. Turns out meth and heroin is the perfect combo for driving your life over the cliff. Staying up for days at a time and not being able to trust people who are supposed to be my friends was enough to bring on an emotional breakdown, the first one in my adult life. This was foreign territory for my INTP self.

So now I'm approaching 2 months sober, which is about how long I made it before my last relapse. I mentioned this in one of my groups, as well as the fact that I was "plotting" the day before. I mentioned this to try to get some supportive feedback, which I always do.. these groups give me a place to be a little more social, because it's confidential and there's no shame since everybody there has had it just as shitty as everybody else there. A few others gave me their numbers to text if I ever got in a bad place mentally and needed to get my mind somewhere else.

Through treatment and groups I always hear two things:
1) You have no control over the drug
2) You will have cravings for the rest of your life
It doesn't sound encouraging but it seems to be true. If I ever use again, I will keep redosing until I'm out. Is it more self control to decide to never use again (which no one ever knows) or to try to get away with one every now and then and claim to be an occasional user with no habit? Let's look at alcohol. It's not always my thing but I can go to the bar and just have a few drinks and leave. Most in my groups are alcoholics, they can't just have a few, they are one drink from disaster as they say. That's how I am with heroin or any opiate.. as for having cravings forever, one of my recovery coaches who's been clean 19 years said she couldn't say for certain she could refuse a hit of crack if you waved it in her face today. That makes the "you don't have control" part sink in.

I believe going thru all of this has made me mature, more capable of dealing with problems with assertiveness. Or maybe it just seems that way.
 

Sinny91

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I believe going thru all of this has made me mature, more capable of dealing with problems with assertiveness. Or maybe it just seems that way.

Who knows? There's the truth and then there's our perceptions of the truth.
Beware your own bias, only you know you.

I'm prone to addiction, and I know that.. So I made the logical decision to never, ever, touch anything like heroine or meth.. I've known a few addicts, and nothing good ever comes of it. It's always going to be you vs your addiction(s).

If you can truly regain control, then yes, I suppose that would contribute towards increasing your "maturity", but anything less and you just might be kidding yourself.

I'd suggest that you quit this delusion right now, that you might be able to just "dabble" now and then and be able to just leave it at that.

I think it's all or nothing..

Stay the course. It's going to take every ounce of will power you have, but this is a defining decision in your life - don't blow it. (and especially not with any self deluding bullshit - but it's your call)

Through treatment and groups I always hear two things:
1) You have no control over the drug
2) You will have cravings for the rest of your life

as for having cravings forever, one of my recovery coaches who's been clean 19 years said she couldn't say for certain she could refuse a hit of crack if you waved it in her face today. That makes the "you don't have control" part sink in.

Control? You have it, if you want it.
 

Creeping Death

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I think you misunderstood something. I already have dabbled, and then went all the way. I won't be able to just leave it at that, and that's why I'll try to never do it again.
 

QuickTwist

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Hmm.. some truth to be had in the correlation from addiction and willpower, I think. Its really a byproduct and not at all a means to an ends, which I'm sure you are aware of. I think one of the main reasons that addiction makes you strong is cuz you have to go through sooo much extra shit as an addict. Getting money (heroin isn't cheap), dealing with withdraw, feeling like shit when you are not high, the whole ball of wax. its just a breeding ground for hard times. But hard times build character, and when you hit rock bottom (sounds like you have, hopefully) you gain a new understanding of who you are and try to come to grips of what's on the other side of addiction, especially knowing you are an addict. Psychosis is much the same as this, something I went through (likely it was the weed and adderall mixed with a proneness to mental illness genetically). What you will find is that you come out of something like that as a much stronger person than most of those around you. To really nerd this up, think of how Frodo felt after everything was all said and done after the ring was destroyed. Hes was scared, never the same and could tell he was different than others. The difficulty comes then from surrounding yourself with supportive people who may not completely understand what you went through, but sympathise nonetheless. You cannot do it alone, and if you understand that, you will be much better off fighting this addiction.

Best of luck.
 

redbaron

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No.

But overcoming it and learning to triumph over a debilitating condition can make you mentally stronger. Addiction itself doesn't make you stronger though.
 

Pyropyro

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RB got it right. Staying away from an addiction and turning your life around requires intense amounts of willpower.
 

Ex-User (13503)

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Is it more self control to decide to never use again (which no one ever knows) or to try to get away with one every now and then and claim to be an occasional user with no habit?
There is some rationalization potential happening there. Recognize that.

Otherwise, addiction itself? No. Awareness of it and mindfulness? Yes, because that allows you to choose. Addiction is ubiquitous to humanity; everyone has it. People do what makes them feel good, whether actions or substances. Awareness allows you to choose alternate paths to those with bad outcomes; mindfulness allows you to test those alternatives experientially and overcome one's automatic unconscious rejection of them.

*Edit: Just to be clear, I'm not advocating swapping out with other substances or harmful behaviors, I'm advocating transcendence via individuation. Picasso and Warhol were addicted to art, for example.
Also, old thread that shows it happens in non-Mama Cass common folk as well: http://intpforum.com/showthread.php?t=11334
 

Yellow

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HAHAHAHAHAHA no.

Addiction weakens you significantly, and it preys upon those who are weak to start with (as do many other mental disorders.. just like many physical diseases are more likely in those who are immune-compromised).

"Weak" here is not a value judgment. Most people who struggle with addiction dveloped in conditions insufficient for healthy social, emotional, and/or cognitive growth. No matter what's happening around you, your brain normalizes it. The younger you are, the more effectively and permanently. In cases of severe addiction (and other severe illnesses including obesity), there are usually instances of early (and/or ongoing) childhood trauma such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, and/or neglect (usually before the age of 6).

Of course, it doesn't have to be that drastic. Your environment might have just been lacking in a few of the protective factors that foster strength (resilience to adversity). Either way, they emerged at a disadvantage, and usually, specifically distress intolerance. The more severe the conditions, the more severe the disadvantage.

When you're that vulnerable, recovery isn't just a matter of willpower. As a reasonably healthy person, if I wanted to train for long-distance running, willpower would be enough. If I was morbidly obese with two blown knees, I'd need a lot more than willpower to complete the Boston Marathon.

If an addict finds help, learns the necessary skills, and fights hard enough to reach termination (sustained remission), they've gained an enormous amount of inner strength. It means they've cast off all of the substance as well as the behaviors they picked up while using. It's helps to reduce the gap between them and their more advantaged peers.

Few people make it further than that because a sober lifestyle is the most that's actually expected of them. I know some addiction counselors who haven't even fathomed that there's something beyond the 12th step because they're recovered addicts themselves.

But of course, what lies beyond that is repairing the damage and impairment that allowed addiction in, in the first place. Filling your cup, so to speak (not to be confused with becoming "God-dependent").

Anyway, my point is, addiction is like an autoimmune disease of the mind. Recovery strengthens you. The further you actively progress, the stronger you become. If you reach the point of understanding and correcting the foundation thoughts and behaviors that fucked you up in the first place, then you've probably acquired the tools to be stronger than most. (Because many people don't have such a drastic need for self-improvement, and most people are at least a little fucked up.)
 

Creeping Death

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I meant the process of recovery from addiction, not addiction itself, sorry for not clarifying.
 

Glaerhaidh

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The process of recovery is a rigorous training of discipline, so it should be obvious that it strengthens your will and self-regulation skills. I wouldn't say it makes you stronger than before, every time you succumb to pressure, be it internal or external, you become weaker and you deplete your resources, such as attention or energy which makes you more likely to succumb later on.

The fact that you're struggling with addiction already means that either you are genetically predisposed to become addicted and therefore your self-regulation and control are naturally poor and don't develop as well as in others, or you were subjected to external pressures that forced you into the situation that you are in now and weakened you to beyond the point of returning to homeostasis.

Subjectively it may appear that you're stronger years after successful treatment and this is because human brain ascribes more weight to current memories/experiences. All it really means is that the physiological or environmental pressures that caused the addiction are gone and you need to be on a constant lookout for when they start returning before they chain together and you relapse.

The same genetic/mental/environmental traps that got you the first time are always there and you don't stand any better chance than you did in the first place, in fact I'd make a point that physiologically you stand less of a chance, but it is offset by your acquired knowledge on how to avoid and disengage negative habits/practices. No matter how many years pass, you need to be extra careful, you aren't stronger, you only get weaker with time, thus I mentioned offsetting with experience, healthy life/patterns, friends/family/goals.
 

Toro

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I hate to sound so ruthless but addiction is for the weak minded. I have never understood how one becomes so attached to something they can't live without it and can't realize that what they get from it means absolutely nothing.
I grew up with drug addict parents and a few years ago my mom was an alcoholic. I told her if she died from something she inflicted on her self because she was too weak to cope with reality I wouldn't come to her funeral and I'd be sure to let my daughter know her grandmother died because she chose alcohol over everything else.
She has since quit drinking.

It sickens me that there are people dying of cancer who would give anything to continue their lives, yet there are people who choose to let drugs and alcohol control and kill them. Then they try to claim it's a disease.

I know I sound ruthless and harsh but I think I have a say in considering I've been in a car while being shot up by drug dealers and woken up sleeping in crack houses.

Nothing rules me and nothing can force me to do anything. I am my own person and I control my own life. Every decision I make I am accountable for.

And once again I'm sorry for sounding like a complete asshole...really I am. I really just can't sympathise with people who paint themselves into a corner and want help getting out. And because of my childhood I guess I'm pretty passionate about it.
 

Glaerhaidh

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I hate to sound so ruthless but addiction is for the weak minded. I have never understood how one becomes so attached to something they can't live without it and can't realize that what they get from it means absolutely nothing.
Clearly you don't understand physical dependence. It's not something that can be overcome with just your mind once you are addicted.

A brain of an addict is a very different place from that of a healthy person. It's been rewired and functions improperly, it can't repair itself easily or at all.

In 99.9% of cases it requires months or years of community support, unlearning, desensitising and planning/living one's future life having one's weaknesses in mind.

Same goes for most mental disorders that idiotic or ignorant people such as yourself claim are fake problems. There is a real environmental or neuro-biological component behind the causes of depression, schizophrenia and so on.
 

Creeping Death

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I hate to sound so ruthless but addiction is for the weak minded. I have never understood how one becomes so attached to something they can't live without it and can't realize that what they get from it means absolutely nothing.
I grew up with drug addict parents and a few years ago my mom was an alcoholic. I told her if she died from something she inflicted on her self because she was too weak to cope with reality I wouldn't come to her funeral and I'd be sure to let my daughter know her grandmother died because she chose alcohol over everything else.
She has since quit drinking.

It sickens me that there are people dying of cancer who would give anything to continue their lives, yet there are people who choose to let drugs and alcohol control and kill them. Then they try to claim it's a disease.

I know I sound ruthless and harsh but I think I have a say in considering I've been in a car while being shot up by drug dealers and woken up sleeping in crack houses.

Nothing rules me and nothing can force me to do anything. I am my own person and I control my own life. Every decision I make I am accountable for.

And once again I'm sorry for sounding like a complete asshole...really I am. I really just can't sympathise with people who paint themselves into a corner and want help getting out. And because of my childhood I guess I'm pretty passionate about it.

For opiates and alcohol as well there is a huge physical side to it. When I was at the detox facility I noticed some alcoholics were in a wheelchair the first few days because they physically could not walk without stumbling and intense trembling. It's easy to say that nothing can force you to do anything when your body is functioning normally.
 

Creeping Death

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Just an update on this, as I recently passed 100 days. I told a "friend" about this so he decided to surprise me with a gift for being sober that long. After finding a gram of sticky diesel and six blue 30's under my doormat I realized it may have been more of a 'fuck you' than a gift.

This was challenging, so much so that I prepared some foil and braced for the nods to come.. then I put it in a first aid box and locked it away. All but forgotten. I wasn't even craving so Idk why I got the foil ready, old habits.
 

Sinny91

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Hm, well done you.

I know a lot people who are destroying their lives through addiction.

It's sad to watch... a friend of mine appears to have become an alcoholic (in just a few short years), she's only 27.

I think people of weak mental fortitude are most susceptible, the ones who drown the quickest and easiest are the ESFs from what I've witnessed over the years.
 

Rixus

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My ex-wife managed to destroy her life quite quickly. A couple of years ago, she started on amphetamine. Within week ( yes, a week after first trying it), she was on it every night and ran off with her dealer. She spent a year completely out of it and on the streets some of the time. It may sound heartless, but this was after a couple of years of taking weed smoking to the extreme of spending a couple of hundred a week on it and completely non functioning. It did not make her in any way stronger. Now she's mostly clean and we can interact fine and I'm pretty good with contact as long as the kids never see any drug use of any kind.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

Hadoblado

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Addiction itself only weakens you, including your self-control.

However, recovery from addiction requires intense discipline, above and beyond what most people will need in their lives. If you develop what it takes to kick an addiction, chances are that you're stronger.

Also, you should throw away the drugs from your medkit, and quite possibly never talk to that 'friend' again. You can't afford to have people running shitgags like this.

Congratulations on 100 days. The hardest bit is over, now you just need to find a lifestyle that replaces drug abuse.
 

Creeping Death

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and quite possibly never talk to that 'friend' again. You can't afford to have people running shitgags like this.

Not possible. This is someone who will be around. For the time, I can't do much about them.

This is the longest I've been sober since beginning, so that is a big mental boost for me. I haven't yet assumed my ultimate form.
 

cheese

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Why on earth is it in a box and not in the trash, preferably another suburb away? Don't allow yourself small pockets of ambiguity and potential - get rid of it.
 

cheese

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Oh good. :)
 

sushi

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bad experiences and adaptation does make you stronger , but only if you don't die first from it.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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I believe that the decision to break addiction and the effort required to do so is a sign of mental strength, however the addiction itself will have if anything weakened your mental strength through chemicals and poor levels of activity.
 

QuickTwist

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I keep think you are asking "does addition make you mentally strong" sorry for confusion!
 

addictedartist

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I'm tough~!:p
 

Chad T. Cock

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Bad habits mess you up. No benefit. You develop neural pathways that do nothing but trip you up - either leading you to repeatedly do bad things, of course, or wasting your finite willpower having to subvert your mental programming all the time.

The most extreme case is the ISJ, who gets seriously stressed out when they're acting outside of habit and familiarity, accumulating more and more inertial mass. Ideally, they'd be born into a perfect life already, so they could just happily play that out for the rest of their life. It's so strong, that I seriously wonder if trying to change them for the better is even good for them. (either way, it's certainly bad for you; don't do it, ever).

But everyone's like that to some extent - even INTPs. When doing something unhealthy (or even just sub-optimal, to a lesser extent), always consider not just the immediate effect, but also the bad habits you're forming. Especially if you're starting to see any regularity, seriously contemplate what you're doing to yourself.

Developing bad habits is one of the most lasting and harmful things you can do to yourself. Treat such matters with the utmost seriousness, even when it's not a matter of physiological dependence. Such things look stupid and trivial at a distance ("why don't you just stop doing it"), but you become what you think and do - the thing in itself almost doesn't matter; it's yourself, the insidious accumulated programming in your mind that you're fighting.

To this day, I still can't get off without the presence of a giraffe.
 

addictedartist

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But yo' I like girls; Is that bad habit forming?:confused:
 

Dislexyc

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First of all I hope you'll be able to get off the hook. To answer your question, no, I don't think so. Addiction makes you weaker, that's my personal experience. You are constantly craving and substituting it with other stuff. That's not really what I would consider as strength, as you have a hard time to focus on other things, that you really need to do.

But I know where this "it made me strong" talk is coming from. It's self-justification of the junkie who doesn't want to stop and to admit to him-/herself, that (s)he is utterly wrong headed. Been there, my drug was/is just something else.
 

majohnso

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Through treatment and groups I always hear two things:
1) You have no control over the drug
2) You will have cravings for the rest of your life


i would say having had your 2 months, you have gotten over the worst bit. stick with it.
those are easy words, but i feel hold truth as i have gotten over addictions before.

i agree the craving stays in the brain, however you replace 95% of it with better habits and processes

also, for me, 12 steps which i think is what you are part of, didnt work, felt it was too negative, and i used different means to deal with my issues , but did a lot of homework and attended a few different grousp and online forums

hope that helps
 

Creeping Death

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I almost forgot I made this thread.

Anyways, current update. Last month marked an entire year without heroin or hard opiates, the longest period of sobriety since first being on it. Before this I think 3 or 4 months max was my best. But after a year, I have no desire to do opiates and can't remember when I last craved it.

As stupid as it feels to have let myself reach that point, I did gain some unfiltered yet unforgiving life experience from it that I'm actually glad to have now, in hindsight. But I never want to repeat it.

Anyways enough serious talk, I made it to a year so now I must throw an INTP party that's themed after the Eric Andre Show. Who's ready to get weird?
 

sushi

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congras, want to share how you did it
 

peoplesuck

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Hitting rock bottom can certainly give you perspective on life.
When I was younger, I always thought I might kill myself with drugs, since it would be fun. At some point I realized the drugs might make me want to keep living, but then being fucked up and addicted, so I decided death was preferable, without any fun.

Glad you made it through, maybe you could share how it has changed your perspective on life, etc.
 

Elen

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I've got a friend who was able to get clean from cocaine. In the end he had to leave his social circle of dealers and enablers.

He also, just changed up his addiction and is an alcoholic instead. He never really dealt with the root source of the addiction I guess. He is not very mentally strong. There is a lot of shame and self loathing and also he has been an alcoholic for so long now that he has become delusional. He, makes up things in his head that didn't happen. He embellishes experiences to the point that they are more fiction than actual memory.

He is trying to get sober from alcohol but his body is so used to it that his doctor told him he would die if he cut it entirely so he has to cut back slowly. That seems like a sick joke. Keep taking it but...like...less! It is horrible.

Sorry to be a downer. I talked to him a few days ago and it has been in my head ever since.
 
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