How to Get Perspective on Your Addiction

How to Get Perspective on Your Addiction

Joining an ongoing support group is the best way to continue to learn and grow in your newfound life free from drugs

Being aware of how your addiction has impacted the people around you can be difficult. The very nature of addiction makes it almost impossible for the person struggling to see or comprehend anything outside of getting and using his or her drug of choice. Once you recognize you have a problem with a drug such as oxycodone, getting into treatment and beginning to understand how the addiction has changed you and your loved ones is the next important step. Proper perspective about your addiction can help you and those closest to you recover.

The Science of Addiction

Nearly 23 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs.[i] That’s about 1 in 10 people. With that many people in the same struggle, scientists understand the common denominator to be how the brain responds to pleasure. No matter the stimulus—drugs, shopping, eating, sexual activity— the brain responds to pleasure with the release of dopamine. Dopamine is one of many neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances released at the end of nerve fibers that send messages to other nerve fibers, muscles or body parts.[ii] Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure center. All drugs of abuse cause powerful surges of dopamine. The risk of addiction to a drug increases based on how fast that drug causes the surge of dopamine in the brain.

Dopamine also plays an important role in learning and memory. These key elements directly contribute to whether or not a person simply experiences pleasure or becomes addicted to his or her drug of choice. Once the brain learns the behaviors of addiction, the struggle to create new pathways apart from the substance abuse is what makes recovery so challenging.

Drug Rehab

One of the first steps towards gaining perspective about your addiction is getting into a drug treatment program. Drug treatment helps you learn about your addiction and how you got where you are today. Many people who struggle with substance abuse have a family history of the disease. Your counselor or therapist will help you uncover any aspect of your family life that has caused or contributed to your addiction. A family history of addiction can also indicate a genetic component. Along with determining the likelihood of a genetic link, the early days of rehab will involve the diagnosis and treatment of any underlying mental illness. It is often difficult to determine whether mental illness is causing the addiction or whether the addiction has triggered an underlying mental illness. In either case, getting proper diagnosis and treatment can increase your chances of recovery success. Attempting to treat one issue without addressing the other increases your risk of relapse.

During drug rehab, you or your loved one will receive individual, group and family counseling. These counseling sessions will help you begin to understand the effect your addiction has had on those around you. Addiction is not a solitary disease, and seeing your substance abuse through the eyes of others can help you begin to gain some perspective and rebuild your life. Addiction treatment programs also offer other holistic options, like yoga, meditation, spiritual development, life-skills training, and nutrition and exercise programs. Treating the entire person—body, mind and spirit—can help you take your eyes off of yourself and your addiction and see the world around you in a different light.

Keeping Perspective After Treatment

Keeping the perspective you’ve gained after treatment can be challenging. Applying what you’ve learned on a day-by-day basis about coping with drug cravings and identifying drug triggers are just the first steps on the road to recovery. Joining an ongoing support group is the best way to continue to learn and grow in your newfound life free from the control of drugs. Support groups give you or your loved one a safe place to share feelings, emotions, successes and failures on your journey of recovery. Learning to talk about your addiction with others who understand where you are and what you’ve been through helps keep your focus where it needs to be. Too much time spent alone, thinking about what has happened and struggling under the weight of guilt, can turn your perspective upside-down. This can lead to more and more self-defeating thoughts, which increases your risk of relapse. Before treatment, your addiction defined you. The desire to get and use drugs was the only thing on your mind. Treatment opens your eyes to your life outside of your drug of choice. Ongoing support helps you keep moving forward with a new and better vision and perspective.

Finding Help for Substance Abuse

Gaining a new perspective about drug addiction takes time. Through the right treatment program and support group, you or your loved one can learn how addiction has changed your life and the lives of those around you. If you or your loved one struggles with oxycodone abuse, call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery. You are not alone. Call now.


[i] Helpguide.org. “Understanding Addiction.” Accessed December 6, 2015. http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/how-addiction-hijacks-the-brain.htm

[ii] Merriam Webster.com. “Neurotransmitter.” Accessed December 6, 2015. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neurotransmitter