We need to understand as being chronic, compulsive, and driven. To purposely give up what makes the pain go away, the addict believes it’s simply not going to happen. With lifestyle changes comes a new distorted self-image. The altered self-image makes it impossible to consider making it through the day without use. The addict wills away the changes to his/her appearance, to the children crying, to the supervisor questioning, to people on his back, always questioning.
There is his/her grief of losing who he thinks he is to consider, however false it is. In his own set of beliefs, he fears that he cannot look good, be accepted, and live life on life’s terms without use.
In the dynamics of addiction, there are the physiological changes. The body adapts quickly to the process and begins to change biochemically. The natural endorphins and “feel good” brain chemicals are no longer produced. Trying to cut down, to manage or even change substances will produce physical discomfort. The addict is faced with choices of pushing through life, feeling badly, or finding immediate relief. His thoughts are almost all driven by self-promises and self-contracts, “just a little bit more, and then I will stop.” The rituals of use produce a rush, a thrill, a type of intoxication that can be just as enjoyable as using.
To discount the rituals of use is to ignore the lifestyle changes. With companion or peer use comes a type of acceptance. For that moment in time, you are supported by those who use. There is laughter, companionship without questioning, and encouragement to be a part of the process.