I Went to Rehab for a Drug Addiction, Can I Drink Alcohol?
Drug addiction is a very cunning disease, and it’s the only disease where the mind doesn’t want you to get better. Whether you were abusing prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines, meth, heroin, cocaine or any other drug, drug addiction affects everyone in the same way. While you’re in treatment, not only will you be receiving different types of therapy, but you’ll also go through educational classes. It’s important to pay attention in these classes so you can have an understanding of what happens when any type of mind-altering substance enters your system. Why is that so important? Because many people with a drug addiction relapse not with their drug of choice but with alcohol.
Drug Addiction is a Disease of the Mind
For a very long time, people believed that drug addiction was a moral failing and a lack of willpower. Although some people still don’t understand addiction, and a stigma continues to surround the disease, science has proven that people who suffer from addiction have an abnormal reaction to drugs and alcohol. Drugs release dopamine, which stimulates pleasure, but the prefrontal cortex is designed to stop the flow of dopamine and allow the person to make logical decisions. For example, people with a properly functioning prefrontal cortex can realize that their drug use is causing problems in their life and stop, but someone with an addiction can’t.
Understanding the Real Problem
Drugs are merely a symptom of the disease of addiction. Statistically, most people who suffer from the disease of addiction either have a genetic predisposition or some form of underlying mental illness. Those with addiction also have problems making connections with other people. Years ago, Bruce K. Alexander performed an experiment called “Rat Park” where rats were given the opportunity to ingest drugs in their enclosure. The study showed that isolated rats ingested far more drugs than rats that were properly socialized. This indicated that addiction is mainly about isolation and the lack of connection with other people. People who struggle with addiction are often trying to fill a void that’s left by their inability to connect with the rest of the world, which is why they will abuse any substance that makes them feel different.
The Illusion of Control
The Narcotics Anonymous program has a reading at the beginning of meetings that’s taking from the Basic Text, and it discusses how many people with drug addiction have relapsed when they thought they could drink alcohol. Alcohol releases the same dopamine that drugs do, which is why many people relapse. The disease of addiction doesn’t want you to get better, so you may have the idea that you can drink alcohol because you never had a problem with it before. The reality is that switching to alcohol can quickly lead to a problem with alcoholism or a path back to your drug of choice. Stepping Stone Center for Recovery is here to provide you with everything from evidence-based treatment to the education you need about the disease of addiction. You can overcome your addiction once you discover the sources of your problem and begin to take the suggestions for a new design of living. If you’re ready to begin on the path of sobriety, call Stepping Stone Center for Recovery today at 866-957-4960.