We came, we acted, we conquered. This could be the epitaph for much of modern day society: the drive to succeed, achieve, overcome. These motivations and propulsions of powerful energy, though often incredibly effective, leave little room for the intention to simply be, to observe, to allow, to enjoy this existence that so many suffering addicts and alcoholics reach to make sense of, or find relief from.
Energies of struggle, competition, criticism, and self-deprication plague the world of addiction and drive the desire to find relief and freedom. How can we allow for more acceptance of rest and the need for pure presence-something treatment centers help provide quite abundantly, as people find respite from work, home, life, and the pressures of the outside world.
What are the effects of the stressful momentum of a fast-paced society on addiction and alcoholism? And how can we incorporate more space and gentle attention, while still continuing to evolve, grow, and achieve in life?
The Stress Meter
Stress comes in all different forms: psychological, biological, social. As with all physiological responses to life, much of the systems that get activated in stressful moments are in different
parts of the brain, where signals are then sent through a series of internal communications between body processes to signal the release of cortisol- that stress hormone that, in small quantities, can be beneficial to productivity and motivation, but in large quantities can wreak havoc on the body.
It’s long been know that stress contributes to the processes of addiction and to imbalances in the brain and body that can exacerbate someone’s vulnerability to addiction. The stress hormone has been proven to increase sensitivity to certain substances as well, leaving a person more vulnerable to the stress-relieving affects of substances, continued usage of them, and further momentum of rerouting decision-making out of higher executive functioning and into instinctual survival processes.
In other words, even the illusion of stress, can bring a person into a fight or flight mode, and scream convincingly of threats, sort of akin to an emergency alarm system warning of impending danger. But in the stressful state, the appropriate executive decisions needed to minimize the stress can’t be accessed because the whole system has been hijacked for survival.
All this is to say, in stress, it is more difficult to minimize the stress. Hence the importance of preventative measures and habits put in place to build spaces of relaxation and ease.
Why wait for stress, beat it before it comes
The challenge in fighting stress once it’s really built up momentum in a person’s experience, is one of the reasons many treatment centers, including Oasis Recovery Center, prioritize stress- relieving activities and practices for healing and successful long-term recovery.
Through mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, meditation, learning new coping skills, deep breathing, and positive affirmations, we can literally prime the pump so to speak for a more buoyant response to stressful triggers- creating an internal and personal environment that wards off intense fight or flight reactions- Almost like a strong chain of healthier momentum in the brain and being, so that when triggers do occur, the chain is not totally broken but only shaken and easily repaired if rerouted.
Rest and relaxation: A Luxury or a Necessity?
For addicts and alcoholics, with biological, mental, and emotional systems primed for stress response and craving, due to long term substance use, the practice of rest, and even personal pampering can be more closely defined as a necessity, rather than some sort of extravagant luxury.
Sometimes this can be challenging to come to terms with in a society in which so many are taking pride in filled up schedules and unending pursuits of acquisition and creation.
But creation relies on rest actually: the empty canvas that is wide open for art to form upon it, the silence in a studio before music pours out, the peaceful pause of an athlete before summoning the energy to push limits and win goals.
You could say it is out of nothingness that comes the most inspired direction and creation. And that is why rest, spaces, and pauses are so important for us addicts and alcoholics, because we have no doubt been filled up with illusions of stress, illusions that became reality, or reality that lingers in illusions. However it is viewed, the chaotic stress of an addicted mind
and toxic body need rest and relaxation to heal, move forward, and create a life of fulfillment and positive direction.
If you are struggling with the chaos of addiction and are looking for a stress-free environment to heal from addiction click here.
If your loved is struggling with addiction or alcoholism and needs a stress-relieving treatment environment click here.