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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books.


What is Meant By Preoccupation Wiht Alcohol and Other Drugs


D
ear Dr. Steve:

I have been drinking and drugging since I was fourteen years old. First it was a few beers on the weekends with a few of my friends. Next, it was reefer. By the time I was nineteen I was dealing reefer and cocaine so that I could pay for what I was using myself. I’m now twenty-three. My whole life has become about getting high, recovering from the four night binges, swearing I’ll never do that to myself again, and then hitting the streets so I could get more money to get high. All I think about is figuring out when and how I can get high next. I’m running so many schemes, shooting so many different angles, I can barely keep it all straight. The paranoia that all of the plotting and scheming creates is unbelievable. But no matter how much I try and get out of the life, it keeps pulling me back in. I feel driven by something within me that isn’t a part of me. Even when I don’t want to anymore, I keep going back out there for more. It’s on my mind day and night—being high, getting high, how to get over on whom in order to stay high. I feel like I’m losing it, like I’m under some kind of mind control by an alien from a parallel universe.

One sign of alcoholism and drug addiction is spending large amounts of time in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of alcohol and other drugs. This is because all addictions consume time, thought, and energy. They are not mere pastimes. They are obsessions and preoccupations that demand more and more from the person who uses alcohol and other drugs. The obsession and preoccupation with obtaining, using, and recovering from the consumption of alcohol and other drugs intensifies over time because:
1.) As the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction progresses, one experiences an impaired ability to control their consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Impaired control leads to the increased consumption of of alcohol and other drugs.

2.) As the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction progresses, tolerance for alcohol and other drugs consumed increases. This leads to the increased consumption of alcohol and other drugs to achieve the desired effect.

3.) As the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction progresses, the onset of withdrawal symptoms begins. This leads to the increased consumption of alcohol and other drugs to prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms.  

4.) As the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction progresses, a mental obsession, a thought process over which one has no control, develops. This mental obsession creates a physical compulsion to consume alcohol and other drugs.

5.) As the compulsion to consume more alcohol and other drugs is satisfied, impaired control over the consumption of alcohol and other drugs as well as physical dependence (increased tolerance and onset of withdrawal symptoms) develops and/or increases. This leads to the increased consumption of   alcohol and other drugs.

These five factors combined explain the web of alcoholism and drug addiction in which an individual becomes ensnared. As a practical and logistical matter, once an individual becomes entrapped by: 1.) Impaired control over consumption of alcohol and other drugs, 2.) The mental compulsion to consume alcohol and other drugs, and 3.) The physical addiction that fuels the continued consumption of alcohol and other drugs, they must necessarily: 1.) Spend more time planning when and how to get more alcohol and other drugs, 2.) Spend more money on alcohol and other drugs, 3.) Spend more time in the acquisition of money to buy more alcohol and other drugs, 4.) Expend more mental energy to ensure that they are not caught in the activities required to continue to consume alcohol and other drugs.

There is one way out of this vicious circle of self-destruction—total abstinence from all mood altering substances. If you are unable to quit by yourself, you should consider seeking treatment for your condition. Contact a qualified healthcare provider who can help you assess and evaluate the extent of your problem and the treatment necessary to help you manage your problem. Contact Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to find the time and place of support group meetings in your community.
You can contact Alcoholics Anonymous at:

In the U.S./Canada: Look for "Alcoholics Anonymous" in any telephone directory. In most urban areas, a Central A.A. office, or "Intergroup," staffed mainly by volunteer A.A. s, will be happy to answer your questions and/or put you in touch with those who can. Or, you can write to: A.A. World Services, Inc., P.O. Box 459, New York, NY 10163 - (212) 870-3400. www.alcoholics-anonymous.org

Outside of U.S./Canada, write or call the General Service Office located closest to you.

You can contact Narcotics Anonymous at:
World Service Office in Los Angeles
PO Box 9999
Van Nuys, California 91409 USA
Telephone (818) 773-9999
Fax (818) 700-0700
www.na.org

Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM local time


Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist

1.) Contact a qualified healthcare provider.
2.) Contact your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
3.) Read as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism.
4.) Read as much as you can about Recovery.
5.) Meet as many people as you can at Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting.
6.) Integrate the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous into your life.

G.B.U.

Steve



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