Addiction can take over your entire life. After a certain point, it does not seem like it is possible to get better. We don’t think that there can be any life after recovery. Drugs and alcohol were everything to us. It’s impossible to have fun in recovery. Substances were the way that we relaxed, the way that we enjoyed life. It was the way that we coped with the stress of everything. Once drugs and alcohol are taken away we feel as though we may never be able to enjoy life again. There’s a science behind that. It is important to understand how substance abuse can affect your body. Understanding what is going on during addiction can help make treatment more effective.
Addiction and the Brain
Drugs and alcohol interact with the brain’s pleasure and reward systems. Over time, the more drugs, and alcohol we use the more reliant upon drugs and alcohol our brains become for pleasure. Drugs and alcohol produce copious amounts of a brain chemical called dopamine which communicates messages of pleasure all over the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain, so when it is produced in high quantities, the brain pays attention. When dopamine is produced in high quantities on a consistent basis, the brain starts to get confused, or what many people refer to as “highjacked”. The brain starts to think that dopamine is most important and that it needs to be stimulated by dopamine in those high amounts all of the time, which is when cravings and withdrawals start to set in.
After the brain becomes reliant on dopamine production and dependent upon drugs and alcohol to produce the dopamine, it develops an addiction. Post-addiction, people experience phases of depression. They aren’t typically depressed clinically but experiencing a lull in their production of dopamine. The small amounts of dopamine the brain is able to produce on its own don’t measure up to the high quantities of dopamine previously produced by substances. It takes time for the brain to heal, produce more dopamine on its own, and adjust to the levels of dopamine it is producing as pleasurable.
Can You Have Fun in Recovery?
The simple answer is, yes, you can and will have fun in recovery. Once you get sober you have the entire world waiting for you to enjoy. It may take some time to learn how to enjoy things again and teach yourself that life without drugs and alcohol is actually quite enjoyable. Treatment programs like the men’s rehab program at Oceanfront recovery incorporates hiking and local activities to help you connect with your life in a new way. You’ll make fond memories, good friends, and one day you’re going to wonder why you thought drugs and alcohol were necessary in the first place.
Reach Out to Oceanfront Recovery Today
Addiction affects millions of Americans every year, both directly and indirectly. It takes control of your life and leaves you feeling empty when you are no longer using. It is critical to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our men’s treatment programs focus on helping people change the story in their lives from addiction to recovery. We offer a number of addiction therapy programs to help you or your loved one overcome addiction once and for all. Some of these programs include:
- Aftercare Program
- EMDR Therapy Program
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program
- Family Therapy Program
There is always hope to make a recovery. It is possible to get effective treatment while also having fun in recovery. If you have any questions or concerns about the treatment process, call 877.279.1777 to speak to an addiction specialist.