They are 1) the “obsession” for the drug, 2) the “craving” for the drug, 3) the “euphoric recall” of the drug, and 4) the negative using peer group that we have likely surrounded ourselves with.
1) The “obsession” for the drug is the “engine of the addiction”. It is tied into the “reward pathway” of the brain.
When one’s addiction is active, the “reward pathway” of one’s brain creates a situation in which “our mind”
believes that our drug of choice is “like air – necessary for survival”. What this “obsession” feels like is very
similar to the feeling and thinking one would have if one was trapped at the bottom of a swimming pool full
of water and had no air. One would be “thinking only about air” and doing everything to get free from the
bottom of the pool to get that air. In that moment at the bottom of the pool, one is now “obsessing about air”.
This creates a state in which one has “No power of choice to say NO in their own strength” as the drug is
believed to be absolutely necessary for survival. Welcome to the world of an active alcoholic or addict.
2) The “craving” in chemical addiction is the result of a “gene”which produces a craving for more drugs/alcohol
when drugs/alcohol used hits one's bloodstream. This “craving” is 3x to 10x larger than any food craving one
has ever had, producing a situation that is greater than one’s own will power alone to resist. This creates a state
in which one has “No power to control how much they use” once they start using.
3) The “euphoric recall” has to do with memory. As one is doing life, there are many triggers (people, places,
and things) which are tied to our past using of alcohol/drugs. As these triggers are activated, it is interesting how
what is remembered about one’s past using of alcohol/drugs is usually just the positive result of the “euphoric
feeling” of the high. What is amazing is how the negative consequences of using – legal problems, relationship
problems, money problems, school/work problems, health problems – are NOT remembered. They are NOT
forgotten, but in that initial moment of recall, just NOT remembered.
4) And finally, with many users, especially the younger ones, there is the “negative using peer group”. As one
uses alcohol/drugs, one does not want any resistance to one’s use of substance that has “become like
air – necessary for survival”. Thus, one withdraws from non-using friends and surrounds oneself with “using”
friends who normalize each other’s drug use. One’s negative using peer group fulfills a person’s emotional need
for “acceptance” as well as possibly one’s need for “value” within that group by possibly dealing drugs to the group
or being “great” at the ritual’s of using drugs such as “rolling joints”, “finding great buys”, and/or “having great
connections” for drugs and/or having latest paraphernalia. The drug culture is the easiest peer group to "join" in
terms of teens accomplishing the developmental step of connecting to peers - all one has to do to belong is
This is the 4 headed beast of chemical addiction!!!! I welcome your comments!