Continuing with the story “Truth and Falsehood,” the punchline is, “There you have it. A well-dressed lie is being chased by the naked truth and it’s been like that ever since.” The third well-dressed lie we continue to chase is, “After all this time…can’t you have just ONE?”
NO. We can’t. Not even one.
There is something fundamentally different about the brains of people with substance use disorders, compulsive behaviors, or addictions. And even after a period of abstinence, if the substance or behavior is re-introduced to that previously hi-jacked brain, it triggers a return to the substance or the behavior. Once that happens, the person who has relapsed can easily return to all the addictive thought processes and behaviors that had been extinguished during whatever period of sobriety.
You mean those behaviors weren’t really extinguished?
NO. Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and often fatal disease that profoundly affects the brain and therefore the functioning of the addict/alcoholic. It must be treated and managed throughout one’s life, even if that only means one is abstinent.
Addicts and alcoholics don’t have an “off switch.” When the light of addiction goes “ON,” the progress made in sobriety and recovery is often lost – sometimes forever. No one knows how debilitating that relapse will be, least of all the person who has relapsed. Any relapse can have fatal consequences. No alcoholic or addict has been reported to resume social drinking or the occasional blunt without consequences. No one would ever tell a diabetic to stop taking the prescribed medications or to throw caution to the wind with diet because that birthday cake is so tempting. Why would anyone tell an addict or alcoholic, “It’s okay…just this once,”?
There is a saying among recovering people: “One’s too many, and a thousand’s not enough.” It would be wonderful if everyone who loves someone who has an addiction, or everyone who works with an alcoholic or addict, would remember that, too.