Down the Habit Hole

In South Florida rehab centers, habits tend to reveal a lot about the nature of addiction. Many of us have routines, a lot of them daily. Maybe the first thing you do when you wake up is to take a shower. Maybe every day at noon, you enjoy a big bowl of chili. Maybe once a week, you go on a walk through the neighborhood.

These rituals, after a period of time, come to define us in some way. They aren’t who we are, but they provide a cornerstone of what one might consider ‘normality’. People that go to the gym often will say they get agitated if they have to miss a trip to pump iron, runners will make similar comments about the disruption.

As a person’s substance use disorder takes hold and begins changing the brain chemistry, it can introducing craving and desire that override their normal intentions, habits can develop and often times provide the most difficult obstacle to recovery.

When someone develops a pattern of use, it can be just as reliable as a measurement of ‘normal’ as another person’s fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It’s never intended to be that, as these habits form over a period of time. Someone doesn’t just decide once that, “Oh, I’m going to snort a line of coke every day at 3pm!” after the first time they do it, just like there was not a day when the person who drinks coffee in the morning decided one day that this was the thing they decided will define the start of their day.

It happens organically, often time without the cognizant recognition of the person as it develops into habit. When the drug enters the body and begins rewiring how dopamine and the prefrontal cortex message each other, it can be nearly undetectable, especially for substances like alcohol. After an extended period of time, the combination of habit along with the chemical aspect of addiction and neurological changes in the user to create artificial cravings for the substance becomes an ever insurmountable obstacle that for nearly everyone who falls victim to it cannot escape from without extreme outside forces or jarring and shocking events. Even then, it’s not guaranteed that it will be enough for a person to begin to unlearn what becomes essentially an internalized and subsconscious behavioral pattern.

The longest and most difficult part of treatment is relapse prevention. Imagine any one of your rituals, daily, monthly or weekly, and think about not doing it. If you normally drink a cup of coffee in the morning, simply stop drinking coffee in the morning. It’s much harder than you realize. Now throw in high levels of addictive changes in the brain, many of which are permanent, and you can begin to see the difficulty of truly staying in control over addiction. It’s not easy, though it does become easier over time, but there’s more than simply ‘not using’ at play when being treated for substance use and habit is one of the most amorphous yet most difficult any person suffering from substance use disorder will have to face.

Substance abuse treatment in Florida uses a holistic treatment method which tackles habits as well as the chemical and neurological parts of addiction including treating withdrawal from Oxycodone. For the best treatment in south Florida, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

The Fifth Beatle Was Heroin

Many people who see the other side of a south Florida detox will find solace in music. Even while in a south Florida drug rehab, music can be an important part of the recovery process, often helping people find an emotional release valve for frustrations and challenges when they listen to their favorite songs. Many of us, however, know that a lot of famous musicians and songwriters have struggled with substance use disorder. Some of the unfortunate were taken from their audience from overdose before their time. While John Lennon was unfortunately murdered in in 1980, but his bandmates were alarmed to find out about Lennon’s heroin addiction.

“The two of them were on heroin and this was a fairly big shocker for us because we all thought we were far-out boys, but we kind of understood that we’d never get quite that far out,” noted Beatles bass player Paul McCartney.

He and wife Yoko Ono had developed a habit after a car accident in in Scotland during the recording of the album ‘Abbey Road’. While several of the band’s acquaintances knew that Lennon had tried the drug on occasion prior, it wasn’t until this event that he had a real need for a strong painkiller that didn’t take a long time to turn into tightening grip of addiction that lasted over 10 years. While John never used a needle and prefered snorting the drug, the opiate was still capable of giving him and Yoko strong withdrawal symptoms that tortured them.

During this time, there were virtually no ways to get addiction treatment. Doctors of the time treated drug addiction as a ‘psychotic condition’, which is to say there was neither anything understood about it nor anything medical doctors or psychologists could do with their lack of understanding of it. Lennon and Yoko reportedly quit cold-turkey, Lennon asking Yoko to tie him to a chair during a 40-hour torture session while he dealt with the excruciating withdrawal symptoms. It later lead to the penning of the song ‘Cold Turkey’.

“My feet are so heavy / So is my head / I wish I was a baby / I wish I was dead” the lyrics recall. However, this would not be end of the battle against heroin. Days after writing the wong when he went to play it for colleague Bob Dylan, he was already snorting heroin again. He was open about his addiction when there was nothing truly understood about it.

On a BBC interview in 1969, he would say in an interview, “They’re so stupid about drugs. They’re not looking at the cause of the drug problem: why do people take drugs? To escape from what? Is life so terrible? Are we living in such a terrible situation that we can’t do anything without reinforcement of alcohol, tobacco? Asperines, sleeping pills, uppers, downers, nevermind the heroin and cocaine- they’re just the outer fringes of librium and speed.”

For anyone seeking heroin drug treatment in Broward, please call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.