From the Frying Pan into the Fire

Guilt and Temptation Represent a Formidable Foe in the Battle against Addiction

There’s a vintage 1987 television commercial that contains but 14 words – yet if you’ve seen it you almost certainly remember it. “OK, last time,” a voice says behind a picture of a spat of butter sizzling in a pan. “This is drugs.” Then an egg is broken and drops atop the butter and starts to fry instantly. “This is your brain on drugs,” the voice says. “Any questions?” This profound public service announcement likely had an effect on someone’s choice-making process after it aired, maybe a good number of someones – certainly that was the point. It, no doubt, left an impression on Stephen Dewey, whose work at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research inspired a website devoted to the very subject of the TV ad. In fact, the site is called, and it relates research Dewey and others conduct to determine just how drug use affects the brain. In one of the site’s blogs, shares a story that also ran on, outlining how the brain of an addict works and how difficult the task is to retrain it once it veers off a healthy course. The article notes how guilt is a major component in the life cycle of addiction. As people become dependent on alcohol or drugs, they begin doing and saying things they know, deep down, aren’t right, but they lose the ability to control themselves. They use drugs, lie about using drugs, and even steal to support more drug use. At each turn, the addict accumulates memories of each of these negative incidents and the guilt grows. This vicious cycle is especially prevalent in settings where an addict is in contact with former close friends and family members. The “trigger” to destructive behavior can be as simple as a traditional reunion. When families and friends get together, addicts are likely to be exposed to the temptation to lapse or relapse – drinks can be found almost everywhere. When addicts succumb, they often also feel tremendous guilt in the knowledge of their transgressions, as well as in the notion that those with whom they’ve been the closest would be sorely disappointed to discover what happened. Unfortunately, they often retreat and often refuel the addictive fire as negative emotions and guilt manifest in more alcohol or drug use directly after time spent with family. Staff members at The Right Step inpatient and outpatient drug treatment facilities understand how temptation and guilt can devour an addict’s life. Further, they have devoted lives and careers to helping thousands of clients with substance abuse issues get back on track. Through a variety of treatment options and one of the nation’s premier alumni programs, The Right Step lives up to its name every day for people wanting to beat addiction. To learn more about The Right Step, call 844-877-1781. Or visit the The Right Step website.

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