Pat Riley is considered a successful coach in the NBA. His legacy as an active coach left behind six different teams to be champions. He used the term “Disease of More” to explain what happens to a championship team when they stop acting like a championship team. Within a short period of time after the first championship win, the novelty of winning a championship wears off. Instead of being in the present, they hungrily focus on the next championship, and the others which might come after that. Quickly, their champion-like qualities fall apart.
Addicts and alcoholics can relate. The disease of addiction is a disease of “more”. Quite literally, the chemical dependency that develops in the brain is a disease of more. Characteristically, addiction is a self-centered disease. Addiction develops an ego that is always craving more of everything. Robin Williams once joked that if modern medicine created a pill for alcoholism, an alcoholic would ask, “What happens if I take two?”
The Chemical Need For More
Drugs, alcohol, and other mind altering substances get users “high” by creating a surplus in the production of a brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which means that it transmits messages throughout the brain, carrying a specific message. The message of dopamine is pleasure, which the brain is particularly fond of. Overall, the entire brain reacts to the presence of that extra dopamine and starts wanting more. A tolerance develops which requires more of drugs and alcohol to get the same or a similar effect. Taking more drugs and alcohol, this pattern worsens, constantly needing more. The more drugs and alcohol consumed, the more the brain relies upon them to produce those high volumes of dopamine. At some point, the brain become dopamine depleted. All of the more has acted on the brain the way it does for those championship teams- there isn’t any more left. Drugs and alcohol stop having the same effect, taking high volumes doesn’t get the brain drunk or high. Finally, it can be realized, the idea of more was just an illusion.
Thankfully, there is more to life than drug and alcohol addiction. If you are ready to change your life, Infinity Malibu is here to help. Our luxury residential treatment programs for substance use and co-occurring disorders offer the highest levels of comfort and compassion, providing privacy and seclusion for gaining the most out of recovery. Start your legacy of recovery today by calling us for information on our full continuum of care: (855) 575-2604