Addictive Substances and Behaviors
Withdrawal is the process of letting go of a chemical or emotional
In the case of self-produced drugs and since the body produces the fight or flight drug, adrenalin, every time there
is an experience of a frightful nature; it makes sense that immediately
following the event – withdrawal from this drug occurs.
It is a plain and simple chemical fact. Also, when an addicted individual is recovering, less medication is required
and both a chemical and emotional withdrawal occurs.
Both the self-produced drugs and the properly prescribed drugs themselves
begin to establish their addictive cycle.
Chemical Withdrawal Symptoms
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Goose bumps
- Abdominal pain
Recovering addicts in 12 step programs experience 3 similar yet different
types of withdrawal.
- Chemical withdrawal: physical and emotional symptoms – usually extreme
during first 90 days of abstinence.
- Watch for switching addictions during this period.
- All types of withdrawal can have severe physical symptoms.
- Emotional withdrawal: physical and emotional symptoms –
- Could occur at any time during abstinence.
- Attendance at meetings and effective use of sponsors, counsellors and
other 12 step members usually can assist during this normal part of
- Post acute withdrawal: physical and emotional symptoms
- occurs in random cycles anytime during recovery,
- often misdiagnosed as other disorders (manic depression is one of the
most common in my experience).
- Sometimes associated with other hidden addictions, this phenomenon is
the most common cause of relapse.
In our society the words fear and anxiety have become incorrectly synonymous. Fear is one emotion and anxiety is quite another, in my experience anxiety is all my emotions rolled up into one unruly and misunderstood ball of feelings. Personally, my reactions to this anxiety are what have caused me the most trouble. Almost always, I reach out to an addictive behavior. This is why relapse is associated with anxiety/ post acute withdrawal. Past experience has shown that I may not react with a relapse into any particular addiction, but always into an addiction. This is the phenomenon that happens when a 20 year veteran goes back to his/her addiction and leaves everyone scratching their heads in disbelief.
Don’t fight withdrawal, it gains power by your denial.
Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms – P.A.W.
It is the engine that drives addiction.
Most often misunderstood, Post Acute Withdrawal occurs in random cycles throughout any normal 12 step addiction recovery.It is often commonly misdiagnosed as any number of mental and emotional disorders. It can take the fun out of your recovery flight!
Addiction withdrawal accompanies the dissociation with any addictive substance or behavior. From the acute fears and wild imaginings that accompany any unsuspected life threatening experience, to the calmness that is recovery, is a world of difference.
Addiction withdrawal, much like a drug addicts experience can and usually will accompany the recovery process.
It is important to mention it because it can re-create the whole experience and throw an unsuspecting individual back into the anxiety posture and mindset that contributes to setting up asthma responses.
Post Acute withdrawal for an addict of any sort is an emotional reliving of the addictive lifestyle. Anger outbursts are common. Harboring and stuffing resentments are also common.
Alcoholics refer to this phenomenon as a “Dry Drunk”. Psychiatrists have any number of others terms and descriptions for it. Drug addicts refer to it as a flashback.
In either case where the addict is concerned it is merely a normal reaction to being off medications and or the adrenalin from the behaviours themselves.
Well into 12 step recovery many addicts are plagued with depressions, anxiety, and extreme behaviours. This is very puzzling and contradictory for the recovering addict. What actually occurs is an emotional buildup, it is perfectly normal part of life, however addicts react badly to this. They are not used to effectively handling pain, so they are tempted to medicate it somehow. Often it may be triggered by stuffed feelings and/or repressed creativity.
Withdrawal Recovery Tips:
- Remember the Canada Goose, they fly effortlessly when properly grouped, each taking a turn at slugging the wind.
- Don’t Isolate or Medicate, it will pass soon enough.
- Don’t make major decisions while in this state.
- Don’t listen to yourself or take yourself too seriously.
- Stay close to 12 step or other people experienced in dealing the post acute withdrawal cycle.
The Dean of Addictionz
Working the Solution with Multiple and Addicts of all types
- 36 Years Personal Recovery Experience in several Self Help Programs
- Addiction Recovery Outreach Trustee, NW Region Webmaster, Newsletter Editor and contributor for various Recovery Associations Publications
- Published in several major recovery publications: AA Grapevine, Al-Anon Forum, Overeaters Anonymous “Voices of Recovery” and “Lifeline”, Gamblers Anonymous “Bulletin” &”Toastmaster” Magazine
- This AddictionZ.com website is featured in Melody Beattie’s current “Codependent no More Workbook”
- Over 45 years successful contracting business experience working with over 2000 employees and Penitentiary halfway house temporary staff.
- Sponsoring many recovering multiple addicts with long-term good results
- Recovery weekend workshop leader in Western Canada & US Pacific NW
- Author “You Can’t Unscrew Somebody Workbook” for relationship makeovers
- Author “Sex Inventory Workbook” for sex issues
- Author “Drunk Driving Workbook” for safety
- Author “Breaking The Cycle of Gambling Addiction” arrest the money drain!
- Author “Breaking the Cycle of Compulsive Overeating” get healthy!
Here is a thought!
Why don’t you book your sober recovery style vacation with us in beautiful downtown Victoria BC Canada at our Gingerbread Cottage Bed and Breakfast. Over the years we have had lots of therapists, recovering addicts and health professionals stay at our idyllic B&B steps from the Salish Sea. Oh and we have gourmet breakfasts too! Vanessa makes a fantastic Austrian Apple Strudel! see more on our B&B website…
Please leave your comments below, and I will be sure to answer them. If you want one of the publications but truly cannot afford it leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send you a free one…
This website is about recovery – not making money – but it wouldn’t hurt to pay a few web hosting charges if you decided to visit one of the sponsors ads… I have kept outside ads to a minimum so it’s not so frustrating to read. Hate those pages with an ad between every paragraph.
Have a great One Day at a Time! Dean 🙂