Addiction leads you to insanity

helping an addicted teenager
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How is it that people who suffer from addiction, just won’t stop. They won’t listen to reason. They simply refuse to be restored to sanity in addiction. They get beaten up in the boxing ring day after day in life. The insanity is that they go back for more each and every morning! Many people with addictions can identify with the above quote. They abuse drugs or alcohol hoping to recreate an earlier high, make themselves feel normal, or solve other problems. Instead, they find that their situation is just the same, or even worse. Even so, they turn back to substance abuse again and again. Why do we keep repeating a cycle that always ends poorly? Why avoid being restored to sanity in addiction when it is seemingly an easy common sense choice to make? The science of an addicted brain reveals why “simply stopping” isn’t an option.

The Bathtub Test

Read this little excerpt that we at Pathways Plett rehab use now and again to describe how one is restored to sanity in addiction, it is called the bathtub test. 

During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the Director how do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized?

‘Well,’ said the Director, ‘we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and
ask him or her to empty the bathtub.’

‘Oh, I understand,’ I said.
‘A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.’

‘No’ said the Director, ‘A normal person would pull the plug!
Do you want a bed near the window?’  


What we know in recovery and being restored to sanity in addiction, is that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

When we discuss the insanity of addiction, we need to note that the definition of the word “insanity” has changed and been changed for many decades. “Insanity” now is a legal word, with the legal definition of being unable to tell right from wrong during the period in which a crime was committed. During the time in which the 12 Step programs were being founded, insanity meant then what it means in common daily usage these days: a debilitating mental disorder. A mentally ill person today would not be referred to as insane in any circumstance, save the highly specific legal definition above. Nonetheless, “insanity” is the word we’ll go forward with. But what is exactly is an example of insanity? Here’s what one addict said about how he came to believe he was insane. ” It may be a lack of imagination or an infinite capacity for self-delusion, but even at a blood-alcohol five times the drunk-driving limit I never thought I was insane. I wasn’t hallucinating (as far as I could tell). I didn’t bay at the moon or take orders from dogs. I certainly never thought I was God or any incarnation of past greatness. Insane? No way. Not if the common definition of deranged and delusional applied. I wasn’t legally insane, either. I knew the difference between right and wrong; it was the primary reason for my guilt and shame….Then I found myself at a rehab hospital close to death!!” Being restored to sanity in addiction, when in addiction is very hard to find for most. 

Denial is a defense mechanism we use to convince ourselves and others that we do not have a problem with drugs. It stops us in our tracks from being restored to sanity in addiction. We may not even be aware we are in denial because drug abuse has impaired our ability to think rationally. But being in denial keeps us in our addiction despite all the harm our drug use causes us and others. Those in 12 Step programs say, “Addiction is the only disease that tells the sufferer that the disease doesn’t exist”. Denial is our way of avoiding the painful reality of our addiction. Because we are too frightened to admit we have become addicts, we simply deny that there is a problem. Ultimately, denial enables us to live in a fantasy, a place that is familiar to us and where we feel safe despite how much pain we may be experiencing. Yet it is our denial that keeps us a prisoner to addiction. So long as this defense mechanism has us in its grip, we are slaves to drugs.

How to go from insane to sane and be restored to sanity in addiction

First admit you have a problem. Then go to Step 2: “Came to believe that a Power greater than us could restore us to sanity” What does it mean to be “restored to sanity”? It simply means to have your ability to make sane choices restored. It does not mean that choices will be made for you. As long as you’re alive — sane or insane, you are responsible and accountable for the choices you make. Is restored to sanity in addiction a choice? The consequences of your choices — are, of your own making, because you are doing the choosing.

What are some things I consider examples of sanity? Being able to hand a crisis or even everyday stress without turning back to old habits: running away.  Reacting on a level that is human.  Feeling things through to the end. What changes in my thinking and behavior are necessary for my restoration to sanity? Less thinking, more knowing.  More reaction than deflection.  Less justifying, more responsibility. Think about these questions with utter openness and honesty. In what areas in my life do I need sanity now? Interpersonal relationships are almost impossible to maintain.  People expect to much of me, when I expect nothing for them.  My faith in humanity has waned to “don’t give a fuck” mode, and its been stuck there for the past three years. An unmanageable life, where one is not restored to sanity in addiction, is a sure sign of obsession and addiction. Read the step one sentence below very carefully to understand its motives. 

aa 12 steps

The concept of powerlessnessNo one wants to believe that they are weak or have flaws; it is only human nature to want to be strong, to fit in, or to even be better than our peers. This is part of evolution. Survival of the fittest. We take comfort in our own mind, we enjoy having our ego stroked, and along with it, our pride. When something happens that threatens our ideal of ourselves, we lash out or we try to ignore it. For people in our situations who have lived the life of an alcoholic or an addict, we often don’t like to admit that we are in that class. Admitting you need help is a good place to begin. Asking for that help comes next. Asking to be restored to sanity in addiction is a process not an event. 

For more help with restored to sanity in addiction contact Pathways Plett rehab Centre on 0824424779, or email