Abstinence from drugs and alcohol is not the end of the world. Rather, it is the beginning of a whole new life of possibilities. Stopping the abuse of drugs and alcohol is not stopping the fun in your life. Most addicts and alcoholics can admit that they haven’t had “fun” with drugs and alcohol in a long time. As drug and alcohol abuse carries on, it is more difficult for the brain to produce feelings of pleasure. Drugs and alcohol chemically stimulate the production of a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine. Producing signals of pleasure which get sent to other areas of the brain, dopamine is responsible for creating the sensations of euphoria from drug and alcohol intoxication. However, drugs and alcohol don’t produce only a little bit of dopamine. When drugs and alcohol are abused in high levels, they create surges of dopamine, not just small amounts. The brain gets used to large amounts of pleasure, which dampens the experiences which produce minimal amounts of dopamine in comparison. Craving those high amounts of dopamine, the brain craves drugs and alcohol. Consuming more and more, the brain becomes chemically dependent upon dopamine, meaning, it cannot create feelings of pleasure without creating the high amounts of dopamine. Unfortunately, the brain gets worn down. Even with repetitively high amounts of drugs and alcohol, the brain can no longer produce dopamine. In less scientific terms, that means the brain doesn’t know how to have fun anymore.
Depression is common in early recovery because the brain is adjusting back to normal levels of dopamine production. The loss in surplus dopamine production has a long term effect, which is why it is easy to fret that you will never feel good, have fun, or enjoy life again. If you’re going to treatment this summer, or you are getting ready to graduate right on time for the party-heavy summer season, there are many ways to have fun. You can do just about everything “fun” clean and sober- except for use drugs and alcohol.
It’s also important to gain perspective of the bigger picture to take some of the pressure off when it comes to having fun. Summer is just one season. The truth is, there are many seasons throughout the year and people have fun in all of them. Drugs and alcohol are always going to be an option. People will always be partying, always be having a fun time, and always provide a “reason” for you to relapse. Life is a party. When you’re clean and sober, you get to be the life of the party- drugs and alcohol not required.
Learn to live sober and make the most out of life through the residential treatment programs offered at Design For Change Recovery. We believe that there is a hope and freedom in recovery which is accessible by everyone. Our treatment programs encourage patients to make actionable changes in order to recover. Providing unparalleled peace of mind and wellness of body, our programs are designed to change lives. For information on our programs and services, call us today at (877) 267-3646.