ADDICTION

WHY WE TAKE DRUGS. Chemically challenged intellect, habits and addictions

THE ADDICTION CANDIDATES

Amongst the crowd are three people called Jack, Jill and Bill. Jack asks Jill “Do you know what I’m talking about”? and Jill say; “of course”. Bill says he doesn’t get it, (secretly, he does). Jack focuses his attention on Jill as she understands him. Bill focuses his attention on Jill because he thinks Jack’s a jerk as he talks too much and Jill’s hot. Jill focuses her attention on both because that’s what girls do :)) and wasn’t really listening to what Jack was saying, but he’s cute so who cares, it sounded good.

Jill gives off some Pheromones in response to all this attention and Jack and Bill suddenly seem to dislike each other even more than they did before. Jill senses the testosterone in the air and gives off some more pheromones and Jack’s chemicals makes Jill look strangely more attractive. Bill sees it too but feels like he’s going to have to do something quick to get her attention as Jack seems to be in the zone.

The shopping mall is busy and Jill spots a great pair of shoes in the window behind Jack (that look so much better than they normally would because of her chemical rush) she decides to go check them out leaving Jack and Bill alone. Jack tells Bill he’s a jerk as his shirt is homo and Bill says f%$# you a$$#@le. Jack heads home and Bill goes to hang out with some homees he’s seen in the lower level.

Jacks still processing his feelings but knows he liked it. It kinda reminded him of another precursor he has become used to. His mother spots him leaving the mall and reminds him that he needs to do his homework and to go straight home. Bill sees this and shouts “loser” and points his middle finger in the air. Jack points to the same spot on the ceiling and kicks his way out of the mall and snarls at a confused 10 year old kid called Tim as he leaves.

Tim had just smiled at Jack and now was just as confused as everybody else as the shot of adrenaline rushes through his small body and is now making his fingers tingle . Tim flips his middle finger back at Jack and snarls as he turns to push the mall door open with his butt and Tim’s mum Jane spots him. She tells him he’s grounded for a week with no PS4 and he starts to cry producing a mother load of MAO-A’s that zap serotonins in no uncertain terms and he makes a mental note that mothers are unfair.

Jane spots her daughter in the shoe shop and senses a chemical she is very familiar with and asks her why she is hanging around in the mall when she has no money. Jill storms off and makes a comment under her breath that it’s not fair and Tim’s mental note is solidified. Jane sees a big M at the end of the mall and decides to drown her upset with a BigMac and diet coke; and besides it will save her the hassle of making dinner as her husband Tom is working late at the office with his secretary Samantha.

Bill’s homees tell him they have something they are testing and offer him some.

So the question is who is most likely to become addicted and to what?

CHEMICALS THAT CHANGE OUR INTELLECT;

Chemicals (as I like to call them to keep it simple) are our CORE drivers and we must understand them if we are going to affect change in the ‘source’.

The reason we start to do something (such as taking drugs) is not always the reason we keep doing it. There are several factors involved but the core ones are ‘the rush’ (emotional/chemical change) ‘and the habit’ (a pattern we form over time).

THE RUSH

This changes our state and allows us to ‘feel’: better, stronger, happier, etc all referred to as ‘the high’. These are directly related to the drugs forcing our body to produce serotonin and dopamine. Our body produces a counter chemical referred to as MAO-A. The battle begins!!

We respond with another ‘HIT’ and the body hits back with more MAO-A. Soon it become even harder to ‘feel’ at all and that is the zombie state we see in most drug addicts as they try and hit their systems with harder and harder drugs to drive those chemicals.

THE HABIT

We all form habits every day. Try moving your plates from their normal cupboard to another and count how many times you look in the old cupboard before making the change. Even years after the move, you will from time to time (when you’re under pressure) look in the old cupboard.

Habits are patterns design by our system to simply help us do things ‘instinctively’ without having to use the brains valuable processing power.

When we break a pattern a chemical process takes place that we refer to as ‘uncomfortable’. This chemical is called Cortisol which is used to warn the brain of danger. At this point the brain goes into ‘thinking’ mode but the ‘feeling’ of discomfort continues. When we repeat a safe pattern the body produces MAO and the feeling subsides.

In an attempt to keep this simple so people will actually read it, I will paraphrase the rest and I will go into more detail later if this post becomes popular.

So why do some people become drug addicts and others manage to break the habit, or don’t get hooked at all. The answer is in the process of the brains demand, supply and reward chemicals.

We all have needs on a very basic level and our body is very good at telling us when it needs something. It does this by producing a number of neurotransmitters that target specific ‘needs’ that we have established as essential to our survival.

Now the basic chemicals stand guard all the time. These are what I call ‘BASIC NEED’ chemicals. But like any supply and demand chain these can be altered by the operator’s demands.

If we look at a less threatening process it may demonstrate the point.

NEED DEMAND SYSTEM
The muscles ‘need’ proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins etc. to grow. When a healthy body is active these essential ‘needs’ get used and the body produces targeted neurotransmitters to tell you what it needs, and as you increase the pressure on the system the demand is increased to meet the increased need.

NEEDS FULFILLED REWARD SYSTEM
But the body also has a reward system that helps you to identify what food actually contains what you need. Dopamine and Serotonin are the most well know of these although the process is not simple and you could spend the rest of your life studying it. Suffice to say they are produced to reward you.

WHY SOME PEOPLE BECOME ADDICTED AND NOT OTHERS
The simple answer is that some people are more needy than others.

To understand this we must go back to the beginning and look at how it all starts.

Two of our greatest needs are love and acceptance and as we take our place in the food chain we rally for our position by reading the signals sent out by others and we use our intellect to interpret them.

Growing up becomes a daily struggle as we try to understand the mixed signals we receive from others who are also frantically trying and testing different methods to find their place also. The ensuing stream of mixed signals cause us to make decisions based on an illusion which does not represent the true face of our world. The result is confusion and poor judgement that is then shielded by the walls we put up and masks that we wear as we are more and more confused by the broken promises, lies, cheating, greed, anger and disappointment to name few.

In the confusion our chemicals are also going through some major changes as our body adjusts to the ever changing mood swings and conflicting patterns we tangle with. But the body is also doing what it does very naturally and you in turn are beginning to ‘feel’ the result. Mixed with your virtual world the intellect learns quickly that it is in the driving seat and the problems begin.

Unaware of a process perfected over (a very long time) the intellect struggles with the system putting greater and greater demands on it to ‘give you what you want’ as it thought it was doing a perfectly good job.

In the confusion to fill the void that most people think is happiness, we begin our search to find the ‘ideal’ we believe exists because we have seen it on the smiling faces in ads or in the lives of others who have created the perfect mask to cover their virtual reality.

TAKE A CHILL PILL
If such a pill existed it would simply switch off all the chemicals for a moment so you could get a short glimpse at what reality really looks like.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE
If you take your hands and place your wrists together, open your palms; then place your face in your cupped hands for a few moments and close your eyes, you may just begin to feel it; but then again it may just be the perfect mix of chemicals that most of us spend our lives searching for amongst the crowd faces wearing their own masks to simply fit in for a little love and a taste of the reallity they once knew; before they started to mess with their chemically challenged intellect.

© John McMaster 2017. Share freely with this line included.