No one wants to be a drug addict or alcoholic, but
this doesn’t stop people from getting addicted.
The most commonly asked question is simply - how?
How could my son, daughter, father, sister, or
brother become a liar, a thief, someone who cannot
be trusted? How could this happen? And why won’t
The first thing you must understand about addiction
is that alcohol and addictive drugs are basically
painkillers. They chemically kill physical or
emotional pain and alter the mind’s perception of
reality. They make people numb.
For drugs to be attractive to a person there must
first be some underlying unhappiness, sense of
hopelessness, or physical pain.
Before we address the questions of cause, here is a
What Is A Drug?
In medical terms, a drug is any substance that when
taken into a living organism may modify one or more
of its functions. Drugs can provide temporary
relief from unhealthy symptoms and/or permanently
supply the body with a necessary substance the body
can no longer make. Some drugs produce
unwanted side affects. Some drugs lead to an
unhealthy dependency that has both physiological and
How Do Drugs Affect The Mind?
The mind is our most important tool. With our
mind, we solve the problems we face in life. Drugs
do several things that harm one’s ability to think
or to be fully aware of the present surroundings.
These effects continue long after the effects
of the drug appear to have worn off.
Addictive drugs activate the brain’s reward
systems. The promise of reward is very intense
causing the individual to crave the drug and to
focus their activities around taking the drug. The
ability of addictive drugs to strongly activate
brain reward mechanisms and their ability to
chemically alter the normal functioning of these
systems can produce an addiction.
Drugs also reduce a person’s level of
consciousness, harming the ability to think or be
fully aware of present surroundings.
Because of the effects of drugs on the mind, a
person with a history of drug use isn’t quite
tracking with what is going on around him. Right
before your eyes, while apparently in the same room
as you are, doing the same things, he is really only
partially there and partially in some past events.
The drug taker is not moving in the same
series of events as
others. This can be slight, wherein the person
is seen to make occasional mistakes, or it can be as
serious as total insanity - where the events
apparent to him are completely different from those
apparent to anyone else. And it can be all
grades in between.
It isn’t that the drug user doesn’t know
what’s going on. It is that he
perceives something else going on instead of the
actual series of events
that are happening around him.
What Is Addiction?
Whether a person is genetically or biochemically
predisposed to addiction or alcoholism is a
controversy that has been debated for years within
the scientific community. One school of
thought advocates the “disease concept”,
embracing the notion that addiction is an inherited
disease, and that the individual is permanently ill
at a genetic level, even for those experiencing long
periods of sobriety.
Another philosophy argues that addiction is a dual
problem consisting of a physical and mental
dependency on chemicals, compounded by a
pre-existing mental disorder that physicians
categorize into diagnoses such as clinical
depression, bipolar disorder, etc. It is true
that addictive drugs stimulate the brain’s
pleasure centers causing either a reduction of pain
or a heightening of mood.
A third philosophy subscribes to the idea that
chemical dependency stems from chemical imbalances
in the neurological system. The truth in this
theory is that repeated use of addictive drugs
results in a physical dependency or tolerance where
increased amounts of the drug must be taken to
achieve the same results. Tolerance occurs
when the person no longer responds to the drug in
the way that person initially responded. So
for example, in the case of heroin or morphine,
tolerance develops rapidly to the analgesic
(painkilling) effects of the drug. While the
tolerance is not addiction, many drugs that produce
tolerance also have addictive potential.
The fact remains that there is scientific research
to support all of these concepts. The question
of whether addiction is genetic, behavioral or
biochemical does not have an absolute answer. The
distinguishing feature of the condition commonly
referred to as addiction is the ability of the drug
to dominate the individual’s behavior, regardless
of whether physical dependence is also produced by
the drug. There are a wide variety of treatment
methods being used today, administered based on
whatever school of thought the treatment provider
believes in. With a 16% to 20% recovery rate
based on statistical analysis of national averages,
the message is clear that we have a lot more to
learn if we are to bring the national recovery rate
to a more desirable level.
There is a 4th school of thought that has proven to
be more accurate. It has to do with the life
cycle of addiction. This data is universally
applicable to addiction no matter which hypothesis
is used to explain the phenomenon of drug
Drug Addiction Follows A Cycle
The life cycle of addiction begins with a problem,
discomfort or some form of emotional or physical
pain a person is experiencing. They find this
very difficult to deal with.
We start off with an individual who, like most
people in our society, is basically good. This
person encounters a problem or discomfort that they
do not know how to resolve or cannot confront.
This could include problems such as difficulty
“fitting in” as a child or teenager, anxiety due
to peer pressure or work expectations, identity
problems or divorce as an adult. It can also include
physical discomfort, such as an injury or chronic
The person experiencing the discomfort has a real
problem. He feels his present situation is
unendurable, yet sees no good solution to the
problem. Everyone has experienced this in their life
to a greater or lesser degree. The difference
between an addict and the non-addict is that the
addict chooses drugs or alcohol as a solution to the
unwanted problem or discomfort.
Drugs And Problems
This person tries drugs or alcohol. The drugs APPEAR
to solve his problem. He feels better. Because he
now SEEMS better able to deal with life, the drugs
become valuable to him. The person looks on drugs or
alcohol as a cure for unwanted feelings. The
painkilling effects of drugs or alcohol become a
solution to their discomfort. Inadvertantly
the drug or alcohol now becomes valuable because it
helped them feel better. This release is the
main reason a person uses drugs or drinks a second
or third time. It is just a matter of time
before he becomes fully addicted and loses the
ability to control his drug use. Drug
addiction, then, results from excessive or continued
use of physiologically habit-forming drugs in an
resolve the underlying symptoms of discomfort or
The Addiction Progresses…
Analogous to an adolescent child in his first love
affair, the use of drugs or alcohol becomes
obsessive. The addicted person is trapped.
Whatever problem he was initially trying to solve by
using drugs or alcohol fades from memory. At this
point, all he can think about is getting and using
drugs. He loses the ability to control his usage and
disregards the horrible consequences of his actions.
How Drugs Affect Behavior
The addict will now attempt to withold the fact of
his drug use from friends and family members. He
will begin to suffer the effects of his own
dishonesty and guilt. He may become withdrawn and
difficult to reason with. He may behave strangely.
The more he uses drugs and alcohol, the guiltier he
will feel, and the more depressed he will become. He
will sacrifice his personal integrity, his
relationships with friends and family, his job, his
savings, and anything else he may have in an attempt
to get more drugs. The drugs are now the most
important things in his life. His relationships and
job performance will go drastically downhill.
Alcohol And Drug Tolerance
In addition to the mental stress created by his
unethical behavior, the addict’s body has also
adapted to the presence of the drugs. He will
experience an overwhelming obsession with getting
and using his drugs, and will do anything to avoid
the pain of withdrawing from them. This is
when the newly-created addict begins to experience
drug cravings. He now seeks drugs both for the
reward of the “pleasure” they give him, and also
to avoid the mental and physical horrors of
the addict’s ability to get “high” from the
alcohol or drug gradually decreases as his body
adapts to the presence of foreign chemicals. He
must take more and more, not just to get an effect
but often just to function at all.
At this point, the addict is stuck in a vicious
dwindling spiral. The drugs he abuses have
changed him both physically and mentally. He
has crossed an invisible and intangible line. He
is now a drug addict or alcoholic.
Drugs And Personality Change
There is such a thing as a “drug personality.”
It is artificial and is created by drugs.
Drugs can change the attitude of a person from his
original personality to one secretly harboring
hostilities and hatreds he does not permit to show
on the surface. This establishes a link between
drugs and increasing difficulties with crime,
production and the modern breakdown of social and
The drug personality includes
such characteristics as:
Unreliable. Unable to finish projects.
Unexpressed resentment and secret hatreds.
Dishonesty. Lies to family, friends, employers.
Withdraws from those who love him. Isolates self.
May appear chronically depressed.
May begin stealing from family and friends.
When a person drinks or uses drugs over a period of
time, the body becomes unable to completely
eliminate them all. Drugs and alcohol are
broken down in the liver. These metabolites, (the
substances the body converts the drugs or alcohol
into) although removed rapidly from the blood
stream, become trapped in the fatty tissues. There
are various types of tissues that are high in fat
content, the one thing in common - and the problem
that needs to be addressed - is that these drug
residues remain for years.
Tissues in our bodies that are high in fats are
turned over very slowly. When they are turned
over, the stored drug metabolites are released into
the blood stream and reactivate the same brain
centers as if the person actually took the drug.
The former addict now experiences a drug
restimulation (or “flashbacks”) and drug
craving. This is common in the months after an
addict quits and can continue to occur for years,
The Cycle Of Quitting,
Withdrawal, Craving And Relapse
When the addict initially tries to quit, cells in
the brain that have become used to large amounts of
these metabolites are now forced to deal with much
decreased amounts. Even as the withdrawal
symptoms subside, the brain “demands” that the
addict give it more of the drug. This is
called drug craving. Craving is an extremely
powerful urge and can cause a person to create all
kinds of “reasons” they should begin using drugs
or drinking again. He is now trapped in an
endless cycle of trying to quit, craving, relapse
and fear of withdrawal.
Eventually, the brain cells will again become used
to having lowered drug metabolites. But, because
deposits of drug or alcohol metabolites release back
into the bloodstream from fatty tissues for years,
craving and relapse remain a cause for concern.
Left unhandled, the presence of metabolites
even in microscopic amounts cause the brain to react
as if the addict had again actually taken the drug
and can set up craving and relapse even after years
Addicts Cannot Stop Using Drugs For Two Reasons.
1. Mental and physical cravings caused by drug
residues which remain in the
2. The Biochemical Personality caused by drugs and
the lifestyle the person
adopts to get them.
Left unhandled, these manifestations will haunt a
person for years even if they have sobered up.
Left untreated, this will trigger a relapse.
These unresolved symptoms, whether physical or
mental in origin, create an underlying low-level
type of stress which cannot be completely ignored by
the addict. The addict can “just say no” a
thousand times, but it only takes him saying
“yes” one time to start the cycle of addiction
While drugs and their metabolites quickly become
undetectable in blood and urine, some as rapidly as
3 days after last usage, drug metabolites remain
stored in fatty tissues for years. The
accumulated drug residues which continue to cause
drugcravings, a factor in relapse, led researchers
to develop a program aimed at reducing levels of
toxins in the body to assist in recovery.
The graph depicts cocaine metabolites being excreted
in the sweat and urine of clients participating in
the Narconon® New Life Detoxification Program.
Levels of drug metabolites are not detectable
in clients prior to the start of this program, then
increase dramatically and slowly taper off as the
program is continued. This supports the
argument that drug residues remain in the fatty
tissues and that the correct treatment can mobilize
and remove them through the body’s excretory
The New Life Detoxification Program utilizes a
combination of exercise, induced sweating in a
sauna, and nutritional supplements to produce the
• Reduction or elimination
of drug and alcohol cravings.
• Reduction or elimination
of many symptoms associated with drug addiction and
alcoholism. These can include depression,
irritability, and fatigue.
• Ability to think more
• Improved memory and
• Increased energy.
• Increased sense of
• Enthusiasm toward Life.
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