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Addiction is a series of mental and emotional associations between our drug of choice and how we want to feel. We become attached to our addictive substance because we associate it with happiness, inner peace, calm, and relaxation. Sadness is one of the most triggering emotions for our addictions. By using our drug of choice, we’re hoping to create feelings of happiness instead. Why do we associate our drug of choice with joy?

Surge in Dopamine

Addictive substances like drugs and alcohol make us feel happy. When we use them, our bodies release a chemical called dopamine, one of the body’s “feel-good” chemicals. When we have a surge in dopamine, we experience feelings of wellness, ease, calm, and joy. If we were feeling worried and anxious, our heightened dopamine levels can convince us that everything is going to be okay. We become attached to and dependent upon these better-feeling emotions. These chemicals replace our feelings of sadness with a hit of happiness, and we get attached to that transformative experience. When we’re high, we often feel carefree and relaxed, in stark contrast to the panic and depression from which we’re running. 

False Sense of Wellness

The temporary fix provided by addictive substances is the key to understanding their devastating effects. When the happiness and positive feelings wear off, we’re hit once again with the sadness and hopelessness we felt before. We feel desperate to return to our happy place, and our drug of choice is the only way we know how to do that. We get caught in these recurring cycles, chasing emotions without addressing the underlying issues. Instead of learning and practicing healthy coping skills, we’ve been burying our problems. We haven’t been figuring out what makes us genuinely happy, nor have we cultivated contentment for ourselves. Our lives can feel empty and without purpose. Addictive substances allow us to avoid thinking about how unhappy we’ve become. We come to associate our drug of choice with emotional liberation and wellness. In truth, however, we’re sinking deeper into despair as our problems pile up around us.

The caring, compassionate staff of The Guest House is here to support you as you start your journey to recovery and healing. 

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488