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Monday, July 9, 2007

Addiction Off

by Tracee Sioux

No really, I am a nonsmoker!

To understand just how complete my addiction to smoking was you should read I suck, in which I explain all the f*ed up reasons I completely and totally LOVED smoking.

I credit my non-smoking success to Chantix, a new little-advertised drug that seems to have "turned-off" my addiction. I am not clear how exactly it works, but I suspect it works on the addiction receptor of the brain. You smoke for the first week and then you don't want to smoke anymore. My own unscientific opinion is that smoking during the first week clues in the brain that this is the addiction that needs to be turned off. I am not a doctor so I can't get more scientific than that. But, I think there has been ample evidence to suggest that when a person becomes addicted to something whether it's a drug, alcohol or cigarettes there is a brain receptor which becomes "miswired" if you will and tells your brain "you must have this to lead a happy life."

In addiction recovery, they call it addict thinking or stinking thinking. In recovery one of the things you might learn is how to will yourself into a different thought process. While your brain continues to say, "You need a cigarette," you try to change the thinking to "cigarettes are bad for me" through repetition. It's effective, but it's a painful and tiresome process. It could take literally years of determinedly praying and willing for this method to really be effective. Those years, to my recollection of being dependent on anti-anxiety medication, are painful ones. In no way do they not suck. This pill, Chantix, took 2 months to change the actual thought process about my smoking addiction.

I feel completely cured of my 20 year addiction to cigarettes. I took this twice-daily pill for two months and I have no more need for cigarettes. I even went to visit my whole family for an entire week with a baby in a mini-van, usually a major trigger for me, and didn't even think about smoking. At no time did I want to kill any one of my relatives and no one wanted to kill me, at least not because I was jonesing for a smoke. Before, every time I tried to quit smoking my husband would stash one around the house to toss at me when he felt he couldn't take anymore crap without considering murder or divorce. (Total enabler.)

Considering my previous obsession and/or addiction to smoking my liberation from the habit is a miracle. Not a minor one either. The misery, crankiness, irritability of "trying to quit" for several years was terrible. Simply the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about them as something I needed, (even after quitting for nine months at a time during pregnancies) is a testament to how addicted I felt. After taking Chantix for an easy two months it is as though the addiction has been turned off. Also, I noticed that my desire for other addictive substances is being effected. For instance, my desire for drinking a beer or having a glass of wine has also been greatly reduced.

The relevant piece of information for the non-smoking general public here is that an addiction might be "cured" through medication. Think of the freedom this would provide for millions of people in America and around the world. If Chantix can do this for smokers, what might a similar drug do for the alcoholic? What about the crystal-meth addict? What about people in chronic pain from illness or injuries who avoid taking addictive medications they might safely use if there were a cure for addiction?

Who doesn't know an addict? Who doesn't love an addict? Who prays that their own addict might overcome their addiction? Think of all the people who wouldn't be in prison if they had freedom from their addictions? We could save millions of tax-payer dollars by curing people of their addictions with medication like Chantix. In 2007 alone the President's Drug Control Budget called for $12.9 billion to continue the war on drugs. Think of all the families that might be saved, divorces that might be avoided, children who wouldn't be abandoned, financial ruin that might be skirted if there was a cure for other addictions. Addicts might once again become productive citizens as opposed to the criminals addictions make them become.

I'm someone who has walked the path of being addicted and using substances to pacify feelings until becoming dependent on them. I can speak from a place where I know that addictions can be overcome through Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, therapy, faith, prayer, changes in lifestyle, stress management, rehab and just plain holding on to your ass through recovery, but it's not as easy as it looks. Some people just don't have it in them to do it without medication. Many die, many go to prison, many lose their children, many lose themselves, many stay shackled to their addictions even through sobriety, all are at-risk for relapse.

Medications like Chantix could prove to be a break-through in one of the most destructive health epidemics ever experienced - addiction.

16 comments:

Rebecca said...

That's so awesome. Congrats!!!!

therapydoc said...

So this is a smoke-free blog?

Staci said...

Apparently Chantix is also being studied for alcohol dependence and other addiction problems. Check out this article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19683029/

So Sioux Me said...

I told you so! Someone sent me this article backing up my hypothesis about drinking and other addictions and the effectiveness of Chantix.

"The biggest thrill is that this drug, which has already proved safe for people trying to stop smoking, is now a potential drug to fight alcohol dependence," said Selena Bartlett, a neuroscientist with the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco who led the study. Details appear this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Read the whole story here: http://news.aol.com/story/_a/anti-smoking-pill-may-help-curb-drinking/n20070709203809990005

Tracee

So Sioux Me said...

Just remember where you heard it first. Ha ha.

Tracee, smoke free blogger.

jen said...

Go you! That is awesome!

I considered myself a non-smoker since '99, but I would always smoke when driking socialy if other people were. Within the past two years that urge to smoke when drinking has completely dissolved. I don't even crave it anymore, but it took me a loooong time to get there.

MICKY said...

A recent copy of Reader's Digest has a couple of articles on Alcoholics Anonymous. The crux of the articles is that the famous 12 Steps, don't work at all. Apparently, there's no data to support the claim that Alcoholics Anonymous is successful at getting people to stop drinking. From my own experience, the 12 Steps, shut down the critical thinking section of ones brain. What do you think? Comments are welcome!!
PEACE BE WITH YOU
MICKY

So Sioux Me said...

Micky,

I think Alcoholics Anonymous DOES work for many, many people. I would hesitate to criticise the hope of any addict in getting better through a 12-step program.

Having sat through about 8-9 months of meetings, I have to say that not all AA or NA meetings are alike. There are abrasive angry people that might interfere with a new person's recovery. Recovery sucks, so abrasive angry people are to be expected. There are people who give up LIFE and choose to use AA or NA as a substitute drug. I don't necessarily believe that every person has to go to meetings for the rest of their life. I certainly don't want to.

But, AA and NA is a self-guided process. If you hate the meetings and don't get involved in the process of your own recovery then I agree, it will not work. AA is not a magic bullet. Currently, there is no magic bullet.

However, I know lots of people who are leading productive happy lives who credit AA and other 12-step programs with their success.

Is it perfect. No.

Is perfection too high of an expectation for a non-centralized, non-profit, self-monitoring, completely free, 100% democratic system? Yes, absolutely perfection would be too much to ask. For that kind of system any successes should be celebrated.

Tracee

apostol said...

Hey girl
thanks for stopping by. Yes, the pay off is I love my cigarettes.
Vomiting is not something I'm up to at the present time. Plan on starting the pills again once we get moved, but THIS time working the steps with them:)

JRANDAL21 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hellan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chantix said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr.Webb Penelope said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chantix said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xanax said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
luccy said...

People fail in accelerating weight loss due to various reasons such as the lack of a well-managed dieting schedule and also for not practicing physical exercises regularly. Altogether, if you are not aware of comprehensive weight loss information, including weight loss tips, it is also likely to slacken your weight loss regimen and as such you should instantly visit the site http://www.weight-loss-truths.com and enhance your knowledge on various weight loss details before starting off your anti-obesity regimen.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Addiction Off

by Tracee Sioux

No really, I am a nonsmoker!

To understand just how complete my addiction to smoking was you should read I suck, in which I explain all the f*ed up reasons I completely and totally LOVED smoking.

I credit my non-smoking success to Chantix, a new little-advertised drug that seems to have "turned-off" my addiction. I am not clear how exactly it works, but I suspect it works on the addiction receptor of the brain. You smoke for the first week and then you don't want to smoke anymore. My own unscientific opinion is that smoking during the first week clues in the brain that this is the addiction that needs to be turned off. I am not a doctor so I can't get more scientific than that. But, I think there has been ample evidence to suggest that when a person becomes addicted to something whether it's a drug, alcohol or cigarettes there is a brain receptor which becomes "miswired" if you will and tells your brain "you must have this to lead a happy life."

In addiction recovery, they call it addict thinking or stinking thinking. In recovery one of the things you might learn is how to will yourself into a different thought process. While your brain continues to say, "You need a cigarette," you try to change the thinking to "cigarettes are bad for me" through repetition. It's effective, but it's a painful and tiresome process. It could take literally years of determinedly praying and willing for this method to really be effective. Those years, to my recollection of being dependent on anti-anxiety medication, are painful ones. In no way do they not suck. This pill, Chantix, took 2 months to change the actual thought process about my smoking addiction.

I feel completely cured of my 20 year addiction to cigarettes. I took this twice-daily pill for two months and I have no more need for cigarettes. I even went to visit my whole family for an entire week with a baby in a mini-van, usually a major trigger for me, and didn't even think about smoking. At no time did I want to kill any one of my relatives and no one wanted to kill me, at least not because I was jonesing for a smoke. Before, every time I tried to quit smoking my husband would stash one around the house to toss at me when he felt he couldn't take anymore crap without considering murder or divorce. (Total enabler.)

Considering my previous obsession and/or addiction to smoking my liberation from the habit is a miracle. Not a minor one either. The misery, crankiness, irritability of "trying to quit" for several years was terrible. Simply the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about them as something I needed, (even after quitting for nine months at a time during pregnancies) is a testament to how addicted I felt. After taking Chantix for an easy two months it is as though the addiction has been turned off. Also, I noticed that my desire for other addictive substances is being effected. For instance, my desire for drinking a beer or having a glass of wine has also been greatly reduced.

The relevant piece of information for the non-smoking general public here is that an addiction might be "cured" through medication. Think of the freedom this would provide for millions of people in America and around the world. If Chantix can do this for smokers, what might a similar drug do for the alcoholic? What about the crystal-meth addict? What about people in chronic pain from illness or injuries who avoid taking addictive medications they might safely use if there were a cure for addiction?

Who doesn't know an addict? Who doesn't love an addict? Who prays that their own addict might overcome their addiction? Think of all the people who wouldn't be in prison if they had freedom from their addictions? We could save millions of tax-payer dollars by curing people of their addictions with medication like Chantix. In 2007 alone the President's Drug Control Budget called for $12.9 billion to continue the war on drugs. Think of all the families that might be saved, divorces that might be avoided, children who wouldn't be abandoned, financial ruin that might be skirted if there was a cure for other addictions. Addicts might once again become productive citizens as opposed to the criminals addictions make them become.

I'm someone who has walked the path of being addicted and using substances to pacify feelings until becoming dependent on them. I can speak from a place where I know that addictions can be overcome through Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, therapy, faith, prayer, changes in lifestyle, stress management, rehab and just plain holding on to your ass through recovery, but it's not as easy as it looks. Some people just don't have it in them to do it without medication. Many die, many go to prison, many lose their children, many lose themselves, many stay shackled to their addictions even through sobriety, all are at-risk for relapse.

Medications like Chantix could prove to be a break-through in one of the most destructive health epidemics ever experienced - addiction.

16 comments:

Rebecca said...

That's so awesome. Congrats!!!!

therapydoc said...

So this is a smoke-free blog?

Staci said...

Apparently Chantix is also being studied for alcohol dependence and other addiction problems. Check out this article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19683029/

So Sioux Me said...

I told you so! Someone sent me this article backing up my hypothesis about drinking and other addictions and the effectiveness of Chantix.

"The biggest thrill is that this drug, which has already proved safe for people trying to stop smoking, is now a potential drug to fight alcohol dependence," said Selena Bartlett, a neuroscientist with the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco who led the study. Details appear this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Read the whole story here: http://news.aol.com/story/_a/anti-smoking-pill-may-help-curb-drinking/n20070709203809990005

Tracee

So Sioux Me said...

Just remember where you heard it first. Ha ha.

Tracee, smoke free blogger.

jen said...

Go you! That is awesome!

I considered myself a non-smoker since '99, but I would always smoke when driking socialy if other people were. Within the past two years that urge to smoke when drinking has completely dissolved. I don't even crave it anymore, but it took me a loooong time to get there.

MICKY said...

A recent copy of Reader's Digest has a couple of articles on Alcoholics Anonymous. The crux of the articles is that the famous 12 Steps, don't work at all. Apparently, there's no data to support the claim that Alcoholics Anonymous is successful at getting people to stop drinking. From my own experience, the 12 Steps, shut down the critical thinking section of ones brain. What do you think? Comments are welcome!!
PEACE BE WITH YOU
MICKY

So Sioux Me said...

Micky,

I think Alcoholics Anonymous DOES work for many, many people. I would hesitate to criticise the hope of any addict in getting better through a 12-step program.

Having sat through about 8-9 months of meetings, I have to say that not all AA or NA meetings are alike. There are abrasive angry people that might interfere with a new person's recovery. Recovery sucks, so abrasive angry people are to be expected. There are people who give up LIFE and choose to use AA or NA as a substitute drug. I don't necessarily believe that every person has to go to meetings for the rest of their life. I certainly don't want to.

But, AA and NA is a self-guided process. If you hate the meetings and don't get involved in the process of your own recovery then I agree, it will not work. AA is not a magic bullet. Currently, there is no magic bullet.

However, I know lots of people who are leading productive happy lives who credit AA and other 12-step programs with their success.

Is it perfect. No.

Is perfection too high of an expectation for a non-centralized, non-profit, self-monitoring, completely free, 100% democratic system? Yes, absolutely perfection would be too much to ask. For that kind of system any successes should be celebrated.

Tracee

apostol said...

Hey girl
thanks for stopping by. Yes, the pay off is I love my cigarettes.
Vomiting is not something I'm up to at the present time. Plan on starting the pills again once we get moved, but THIS time working the steps with them:)

JRANDAL21 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hellan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chantix said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr.Webb Penelope said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chantix said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xanax said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
luccy said...

People fail in accelerating weight loss due to various reasons such as the lack of a well-managed dieting schedule and also for not practicing physical exercises regularly. Altogether, if you are not aware of comprehensive weight loss information, including weight loss tips, it is also likely to slacken your weight loss regimen and as such you should instantly visit the site http://www.weight-loss-truths.com and enhance your knowledge on various weight loss details before starting off your anti-obesity regimen.