Alcohol and drug rehab centre in Pretoria, South Africa

Crossroads Recovery Centre offers high quality, specialised treatment for those suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, sex, food and other addictions. Addiction is defined by the relentless pursuit of a drink, drug or other addiction, no matter the consequences to yourself, your family and friends, work commitments and other people associated with you. An addict in active addiction will do whatever is necessary to fulfill their compulsion to use.

Addiction is the loss of control over the use of a chemical substance or physical action. Willpower and self control are no longer available to an addict, once addicted an addict/alcoholic no longer has any ability to exert long term control over their substance of choice. Without a radical change of personality and outlook on life they will undoubtedly fall prey once again to the nature of their addictive disease. Simply expecting an addict/alcoholic to be able to stop on their own is not realistic; an addict needs time in a rehabilitation centre to come to terms with their addiction and the treatment of their disease.

Everyone struggling with addiction pays a very high price. Addicts/alcoholics have lost the ability to control the use of their drug of choice and are now controlled by their addiction. Addicts/alcoholics have one thought running through their minds like a mantra ‘Just one more, and then I will stop’ over and over this goes ‘just one more time, I will use and then I will stop tomorrow and everything will be different, just one more time and then I will pull myself together and I will fix my life, just one more time, just one more, just one more’. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow but tomorrow never comes. Lost in the illusion, they can never break free on their own.

The sad truth is that on his own, an addict or alcoholic will rarely be able to stop using for any length of time. Yes, they might be able to when things get bad enough, or when some crisis forces them to, like an impending divorce, a final warning at work or running out of money, but lifelong abstinence is always elusive. It is staying sober that is the problem. Once the crisis has passed or has been resolved, they invariably return to their previous habits. These periods of abstinence or controlled using are absolutely devastating to the addict and heartbreaking to family and friends who love and care for them. It is in these seemingly normal periods; going to work, spending time with family and living a seemingly normal and responsible life that alcoholics/addicts create the illusion of control over their drug of choice. In these periods, the addicted person begins to believe they can control their using; families begin to have some hope, addicts begin to have some hope for themselves, the future opens up with possibilities, and then it happens again. The cycle begins once more, before they realise it, they have torn down the hopes their families had for them, they have torn down the hopes and dreams they had for themselves.

This is the heartbreak and gut wrenching anguish of this disease. Periods of hope and possibility are normally followed by periods of using, a return to the nightmare of active addiction, where the compulsion to lie, steal, manipulate and hurt other people in order to satisfy the selfish compulsion to use, is overriding. The periods of seeming recovery and active addiction get closer and closer together until filled with guilt, shame, fear and anger, an addict will continue to use until the bitter end.

If the disease of addiction is not treated at some point, jail, institutions and death may be a consequence.

What is addiction?

  1. Addiction is defined by NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse US.) as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterised by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to the harmful behaviours seen in people who abuse drugs.
  2. Addiction is similar to other diseases like heart disease, in the sense that both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of the underlying organ, have serious harmful consequences, are preventable, treatable, and if left untreated, can have lasting consequences.
  3. Individuals who suffer from addiction often have one or more accompanying medical issues, including lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders. Imaging scans, chest X-rays, and blood tests show the damaging effects of drug abuse throughout the body.
  4. Simply expecting an addict/alcoholic to be able to stop using on his/her own is not realistic; an addict needs time in a rehabilitation centre to come to terms with their addiction and the treatment of their disease.
  5. Addiction, although a complex disease, is seen to be characterised by three main elements, namely physical craving, mental obsession and compulsive behaviour.
  6. Addiction is a progressive disease with periods of abstinence or controlled using followed by periods of loss of control or binges, these binges increase in severity and length as the addict progresses in their addiction.
  7. An addict in active addiction will do whatever is necessary in order to continue their addiction. Manipulation, dishonesty, stealing, theft, violence, prostitution, etc. are common secondary characteristics.
  8. Addiction is the avoidance of normal social responsibilities like work, family, relationships, etc.
  9. Addiction is loss of self esteem and respect; using a substance in order to feel good about yourself.
  10. Addiction is the use of a substance to escape from emotional pain and feelings.
  11. Addiction is using despite negative consequences, loss of work, loss of family, criminal charges, etc.
  12. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenges a person’s self control and ability to resist intense impulses urging them to take drugs.