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Association in Addiction

The Role of Association in Addiction

Before we start discussing about association, we must understand what association in addiction is. There are few songs that reminds of a near one, heartbreak or a particular event. Similarly there are many songs that acts as a reminiscent to many of the days and nights spent in drunken soliloquy.

A lot of country music is being made around drinking. And the ever-increasing pub and party culture has heightened the popularity of these kinds of music. These memories or being in situations like these can trigger a desire to use drugs or drink alcohol in those with a problem of addiction to alcohol/drugs. And these are called associations in addiction

About Association

As discussed there can be many reasons and situations that trigger the craving to use or drink. Some of the situations that can act as a catalyst to stimulate the urge are –

  • It is related to places of using, interacting with certain people, friends, or family members who were using partners or drinking buddies, a particular kind of music, etc.
  • Trance music or Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is listened to by users of MDMA/ ecstasy and LSD as it is believed to enhance the high. Many times listening to it when one is not using can also trigger the desire to use. Or can trigger a flashback in a person who used to abuse drugs.
  • A person who has an addiction to alcohol and is now sober, if he/she frequents pubs or sits for drinking sessions with friends, even if he does not drink initially, he can eventually find the glass in his hand.
  • Watching movies, plays, matches after, or while drinking or using are strongly considered a strong example of associations. For much singling karaoke is associated with bars and drinking.
  • Being in an environment of using, or listening to music that earlier was an accompaniment to using a substance acts at a subconscious level to trigger thoughts of using.
  • Going out for family dinners was related to planning to go to a restaurant that serves alcohol and how to get more drinks down without letting the wife know… The mind is thus preoccupied with only thoughts of using and the time with the family goes in a blur of irritation, anticipation, and guilt.
  • Having an argument with a family member that triggers off the desire to use.

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Sexual Intimacy in Addiction Association

One of the biggest associations in addiction is the use of substance and sex. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs sexual desire increases manifold. Intercourse lasts longer as it takes longer to get an erection and to reach orgasm. Thus the duration of sex seems longer. With certain substances the desire is extremely high like cocaine and with substances like M-Kat the desire is high but the performance gets affected hence a supplementation like – Viagra is needed many times. Hence the illusion that sex was better with substance use gets identified with.

In treatment the person is made aware of the actual illusion of “good sex “with substance and how sex can be without substance use and can be enjoyed naturally without being high. It is extremely essential to address issues of sex and sexuality during treatment as these sustained illusions and experiences and identifications with sex and addictive use can take the person back to using. For this an accepting, non-judgmental ambience in treatment is very important wherein all the issues and conflicts related to this can be resolved.

Emotional Association in Addiction

Associations have a huge Emotional connotation. In treatment, all these emotional issues and triggers are addressed.

The identification with most of these associations is blurred. Thus it’s very important to identify the particular associations, which are stimulating the urge to usage. Watching movies, eating meals, watching a music concert, or sports matches, without the substance abuse and experiencing and enjoying them has proven to be efficient in breaking these identifications while in the recovery treatment.

Many times, the addicts plan to whether they should use before, during, or after any program he/she might be attending like – movies or outings. But in the bargain, the very activity was lost out on. It is very important to recognize these associations in order to live an addiction-free life and completely experience and enjoy these events in life.

Thus it is most important to know which associations can be broken and gone beyond and this experience is enhanced by doing so as part of the treatment process so the individual is more confident about going back home wherein all these triggers and associations are existent.

Thus the aim of treatment is to deal with emotions that have been difficult to process and reach that stage within oneself that one does not find the need to use.

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