ASSOCIATIONS IN ADDICTION

“ Tum itna jo muskara rahe ho.. kya Gham hai iisko chupa rahe ho. “ listening to this song can bring back memories of a heartbreak.

“ Char glass vodka ..” The song of Honey Singh the  Indian rap star is reminiscent to many of the days and nights spent in drunk soliloquy

A lot of country music is around drinking .

These memories or being in situations like these can trigger a desire to use drugs or drink alcohol in those with a problem of addiction to alcohol/drugs.

These are called associations.

It is related to places of using, interacting with certain people -friends or family who were using partners or drinking buddies, a particular kind of music etc.

Trance music or EDM  is listened to by users of MDMA/ ecstasy and LSD  as it enhances the  high . Many times listening to it  when one is not using can also trigger the desire to use. Or can trigger a flashback in a person who used to use LSD.

A person who has an addiction to alcohol and is now sober , if he/she frequents pubs or sits for drinking sessions with friends , even if he does not drink initially , he can  eventually find the glass in his hand.

Watching movies , plays, matches after or while drinking or using are strong associations. Singling karaoke to many is associated with bars and drinking.

Being in an environment of using,  or listening to music that earlier was an accompaniment to using a substance acts at a subconscious level to trigger thoughts of using.

Going out for family dinners were related to planning to go to a restaurant that serves alcohol and how to get more drinks down without letting the wife know.. The mind is thus preoccupied by only thoughts of using and the time with the family goes in a blur of irritation, anticipation and guilt.

Having an argument with a family member that triggers off the desire to use.

One of the biggest associations in addiction is the use of substance and sex. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs sexual desire increases manifold. Intercourse lasts longer as it takes longer to get an erection and to reach orgasm . Thus the duration of sex seems longer. With certain substances the desire is extremely high like cocaine  and with substances like M-Kat the desire is high but the performance gets affected hence a supplementation of viagra is needed many times. Hence the illusion that sex was better with substance use gets identified with .

In treatment the person is made aware of the actual illusion of “ good sex “ with substance  and how sex can be without substance use and can be enjoyed naturally without substance. It is extremely essential to address issues of sex and sexuality during treatment as these sustained illusions and experiences and identifications with sex and addictive use  can take the person back to using . For this an accepting , non judgmental ambience in treatment  is very important wherein all the issues and conflicts related to this can be resolved.

Associations thus have a huge Emotional connotation.

In treatment all these emotional issues and triggers are addressed.

The identification with most of these associations is broken . Watching movies, eating meals , watching a music concert, matches without the substance and experiencing enjoying them aid in breaking these identifications while in treatment .

A client of ours once stated while we were at the theatre for a movie during his treatment , that “earlier I would plan whether I should use before , during or after the movie and plan places of using. In the bargain the movie was lost out on. And here I am thoroughly enjoying his experience of watching a movie without all those thoughts and emotions.”

Experiencing  a healthy sex life following treatment acts as the primary dis identification with the association of alcohol/drug use and sex

Thus it is most important to know which associations can be broken and gone beyond and this experience is enhanced by doing so as part of the treatment process so the individual is more confident on going back home where in all these triggers and associations are existent.

Thus the aim of treatment is to deal with emotions that have been difficult to process and reach that stage within oneself that one does not find the need to use.

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