Triggers and Cravings (Part 3): Introductory and Maintenance Phases of Addiction

Triggers and Cravings (Part 3): Introductory and Maintenance Phases of Addiction


– Hello. You are about to watch a video
produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration. Next, let’s talk about
the phases of addiction and how the conditioning
process develops. There are four phases
of the addictive process– introductory– maintenance– disenchantment– and disaster. During the “introductory”
phase of addiction, a “person uses
drugs infrequently or only on
special occasions.” – I started using– when I first started
using cocaine, I used very sporadically, so I didn’t really
have access to cocaine, so the person
who introduced me to it was my only supplier of it, so I only used
when I was invited to. So that might have been
once a week, once every couple of weeks,
to start, and it was very sporadic,
and I didn’t crave it every day, like what ended up happening
to me, you know, down the road. When I first started using, it was only at the invitation
of somebody else. – When I first
started drinking, it was pretty much
what I thought was normal. I was probably 13ish and
I was drinking with friends. You know, we would steal it
from our parents, et cetera. That lasted, probably,
for a year or two and then I think I noticed
that I started to like it a little more
than everybody else. You know, when it got passed
around, I would sneak extra. And it didn’t matter if
I had negative consequences because I was a big puker. – In this phase, the positives of using
still outweigh the negatives. When a person uses drugs, he or she may have many
positive reactions to using. For example,
methamphetamine gives the person relief
from negative feelings; increases a sense of status,
energy, and confidence; provides euphoria; and increases the person’s
ability to work longer and think more clearly. At first, the negative
aspects are few– drugs are expensive
and illegal and can cause a person
to miss work. – At the core of my being, there’s a lack
of self-acceptance and I know that, for many people
that get into addiction, there’s self-esteem issues
and things like that. You know, I had to be high,
just to be with me all day, and that says a lot,
because, you know, internally, I was
very uncomfortable. So I could get high,
I could get larger-than-life, I could become the life
of the party, tell jokes, and the gift of gab, but, in the absence
of the chemicals, you know, I was like the proverbial
wallflower and looked down at my shoes
a lot and felt less-than, so the chemicals actually, kind of like,
brought me to life. – When I first found alcohol,
I thought it was the solution. I could dance.
I could talk. I could do things
that I felt I couldn’t, although, I mean, you know,
this is somebody getting honors and everything else
at school. But, you know,
I felt worn down. And I identify with the people,
since then, that say that alcohol
showed them what it felt like to be
“normal,” whatever that means. It’s just something
that many of us feel. – Drugs are used
in the introductory phase for very specific purposes, such as a party
or special occasion or event. The person makes a conscious
choice to use drugs or alcohol. This choice is made
in the rational brain. There is little, if any,
conditioning that occurs. In this phase, there are
good thoughts about using and substances
are used infrequently. Life continues normally,
except for infrequent drug use. The person thinks of drugs
only occasionally. The craving response
has not developed yet. Everything
is a conscious act. The person buys the drug,
uses the drug, and gets the effects
of the drug. The second phase of addiction
is “maintenance”– “drug use increases and becomes
a regular feature of life. Negative consequences
start to develop.” During this phase, the person
still experiences some positive effects
of drug or alcohol use, but, as drug use increases, the negatives
begin to happen more and more. – When I started to understand
how out of control my life was and how out of control
my use was, that’s when I started
to justify, you know, “Just a little” or
“Just while I’m home alone” or “Just when I’m not
going to be driving” or, you know, “Just when–“,
“Just when–“, “Just when–” – Conditioned responses
become stronger as more and more things in the
person’s life become triggers. The drug or alcohol use
begins to take over some of the normal parts
of the person’s life and obsessive thinking
about drugs begins to develop. – I was confused
by the fact that– or it kept me in denial,
I should say– because I always maintained
the other parts of my life. So I didn’t really think
I had a problem with alcohol. Even though I drank a lot
and I drank a lot every day, I still had a job, I still
was pretty high-performing, you know, I was very functional,
in terms of my behaviors. At a really young age–
I was 24 years old– I ran for the State Senate
and got elected. But, you know, when I look back at it now,
as a person in recovery, I know that my drinking
really affected my life. I saw alcohol and drug use
as ways to kind of reduce stress and relieve myself
of some of the stress and escape from life
for a short period of time. I didn’t understand the
progressiveness of the disease. I didn’t understand that
it was going to progress and that, eventually, I wasn’t
going to be able to stop and that’s what
ended up happening. – In this phase,
the craving response develops. The addicted brain
is driving drug use. The person obtains
the drug or alcohol and gets a physiological
response, as if the actual drug
had been used. All this occurs before
the drug or alcohol is used and drives the push to use. – Weekends were huge. You know, “There’s no school,
it’s Friday night. Let’s get some dope,
let’s get some alcohol, let’s go to someone’s house where the parents
weren’t present or there wasn’t a lot of
supervision, and let’s party.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *