Addiction and Emotional Isolation
Addiction, in most cases, is less about pleasure-seeking and more about a person’s need to escape and dissociate from the pain of emotional isolation. We are made with a craving at the core of our being for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationships. This craving has been placed into us by our Creator to cause us to seek out the fulfillment of that relationship need with Him and others.
Typically, our first relationship connection experience is with other human beings before it is with God and we quickly learn through traumatic experience that others cannot be trusted to reliably meet our need for intimate connection. This in turn hinders or even prevents authentic connect with our Heavenly Father because we interpret our connection with God through the filter of our human experiences. So, the conclusion is made that if I get vulnerable with people, I’ll get hurt…and if that’s true in all of my human relationships, that’s probably going to be true in a relationship with God.
People Often Turn to Meth for Unmet Emotional Needs
So, we learn to fear emotional vulnerability and intimacy and we distance ourselves from other people and God…pushing away the very solution to our core need that we innately crave. With both God and people now at “safe” distance, we find ourselves turning to addictive substances and/or behaviors as a way to “not feel” our unmet emotional intimacy needs.
One of the most common substances that people turn to to relieve these unmet emotional needs for intimacy is Methamphetamine…also known as Meth, Speed, Crank, Tweek, Uppers, Chalk, Christina, Tina, Go fast, Cookies, Cotton Candy, Dunk, Gak, Go-Go Juice, No Doze, White Cross, Pookie, Rocket Fuel, Scooby Snax, Wash, Trash, or Garbage.
Despite the inherent dangers, meth is alluring to many people, especially those who are trapped in their emotional pain. Meth is a stimulant that profoundly affects the brain. It causes the body to release 10 times its normal level of dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical. It also prompts a rush of norepinephrine, or adrenaline. For those who are feeling down in the dumps, meth can make someone feel like Superman – like they can do anything. Meth can produce a high that lasts hours or even days. Users have an increase in energy. Meth use also increases sex drive and enhance body movement and mood. Meth is often preferred over other stimulants, such as cocaine, because it is much easier obtain and very cheap.
When meth hits the bloodstream, it creates an artificial pleasure sensation by sending pleasure impulses to the brain. Dopamine is the body’s ultimate “feel good” chemical. With sex, dopamine levels jump to about 200 and cocaine use causes them to reach 350. Several studies, however, report that meth use spikes these levels to 1,250 units. Even from the first time someone uses meth, the high is significant, and the brain registers that experience as a “hard-coded” memory. From that moment on, the brain tries to recapture those same positive feelings that were experienced with the first use, which is often impossible. Your brain adapts to meth use almost immediately, which means that more and more of the drug is required each time to “chase” that initial high. This chase leads to severe meth addiction, which has some startling and horrifying effects on your body and mind.
Eventually the brain shuts down the production of dopamine because it is getting more than enough from the meth. The user then cannot experience any pleasure on their own. They must use meth in higher and higher amounts in order to feel happy. Over time, meth use will cause decreased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter similar to dopamine. This may lead to Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Effects of meth abuse over time can be quite serious and some are even irreversible such as “Meth Mouth” (extreme tooth decay), seizures, impaired memory, psychosis and violent behavior, hallucinations, heart damage, kidney failure, STDs, coma and death.
How to Overcome the Need for Adreneline
Of course, the question we eventually have to ask ourselves is, “Is the short-term adrenaline rush that’s helping me avoid my hurt and pain worth the long term affects?” After all, when the “rush” has run its course…the problems, hurts and pains are still there beckoning for my attention.
The good news is that God sees us in our emotional isolation, self-made vices and addictions, and He not only engages us but He loves us and provides the way out. While most counseling and treatment focuses on behavior modification and creating new patterns that produce different results, we know from God’s Word that the only way to a new life is to turn away from the old life. The good news of the Bible is that God has the power and authority to give you a new heart: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26).
God does not see us in our self-induced sadness, depression, habitual sin, brokenness and addiction and just leave us there. HE PROVIDES A WAY OUT. He does not just modify the behavior…He fundamentally and profoundly transforms the heart. He does this by entering into the depths of our core need for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationship and reveals His heart’s love, forgiveness and grace to us. His love brings the inner healing that no human being can provide and the freedom and peace to our souls that goes beyond human expression and understanding. He proves Himself trustworthy in His love for us and we begin to experience “being loved”…maybe for the first time in our lives.
The adrenaline “rush” that comes from our surrender hearts to God’s love is like none that meth can provide…because it lasts and never stops! It empowers us to be strong in the midst of trials and tribulations! Instead of running into the arms of meth as our false comforter, we run into the arms of the True Comforter, Jesus Christ! It is He who becomes our strength to overcome and empowers us to walk in continued love, healing, peace and joy! Jesus is the TRUE “Adrenaline Rush” that leads to LIFE! Read more about the 4 things Jesus would do about addiction
At New Life Spirit Recovery, we want to help you overcome your addiction and help you realize the depth of God’s love for you! We would love to partner with you to become an overcomer and help you walk into your future free from your addiction and experiencing the greatest and truest adrenaline rush in all creation…God’s love!