This piece is for those of us that are battling substance abuse and looking for a way out. I believe this can help, and oh, if you know anyone that will benefit from this writ, kindly hook them up.

I really believe that God said I should write about this. I got confirmation time and time again. I remember how God gave me a clear topic via a man of God who succinctly said something along the lines of -while he was having a one on one with God, God likened substance abuse to frying the brain. I had been wondering how I will deliver this very serious issue in the most light-hearted and impact-packed way, and that was it. I got the topic, why are you, a whole child of God, the apple of God’s eyes hell bent on frying your brain and cutting your life short and extinguishing God’s promises and prophesies over your life with substance abuse?

Source: Hindustan Times

Really, this topic speaks to those of us who feel that they are unable to break free from substance abuse. You know, we have a whole lot of people out there who are labouring under addictions to hard drugs and strong drinks if you know what I am saying. Per usual, I will start with explaining the physical effects of substance abuse before I delve into how God will help anyone who is ready and willing to let go and let God.

Now, it will interest you to know, if you do not already know, that the human brain is one of the most complex organs in the body. You will agree with me that this three-pound mass of gray and white matter sits at the center of all human motions and activity. You need your brain to drive, poop, eat, breathe, love (oh yeah); as a creative, you use it to innovate and even to enjoy or not enjoy the most mundane human activity. Your brain is physically the epicenter of your mind, and to be honest, your mind is the physical focal point of your existence so to speak.

Source: Science News

Before I delve into how drugs can literally fry your brain, lol, and consequently affect your mind, I will give you a run-down of how the brain works.

Our God designed brain is made up of many crucial parts with interrelated circuits- mind you, different brain circuits are given different duties with specific functions. Some smart humans have likened the human brain to a complex and intricate computer, which of course is an understatement to say the least. The brain has cells called neurons. These cells are arranged into circuits. The work of a neuron is really to transmit information, they manage the flow of info. Now watch this, neurons work in a chain-like manner, once one of them receive enough signal from another one, it fires, sending the info to other neurons in the circuit. This is how these brain cells send signals or info back and forth to each other and to other parts of the brain, spinal cord, and other nerves in strategic parts of the body.

 Let me give a quick one on how neurons communicate signals or info. A neuron sends info by releasing what is called a neurotransmitter into a gap or synapse. The released neurotransmitter crosses the gap and connects to receptors on the receiving neuron. And yeah, we also have particles called a transporters. Transporters revert neurotransmitters to the neurons that initially released them. This way transporters are able to limit or shut off communication between neurons.

This is where we jump right into how drugs or strong substances interfere with the way brain cells communicate info or signals through neurotransmitters. Drugs such as marijuana and heroine are capable of triggering neurons thereby causing their own chemical compositions to imitate a natural neurotransmitter into the body. What really happens is that these drugs attach to and trigger the neurons to act abnormally. Really, strong substances do not cause the same natural results as neurotransmitters even though drugs mimic neurotransmitters. In fact, these strong substances are the catalysts for the communication of abnormal messages through the network of neurons.

Other drugs like amphetamine (a.k.a white or powder) or cocaine can trigger neurons to deposit abnormally large quantity of natural neurotransmitters; they may also intercept the natural recycling of brain chemicals by interfering with the transporters as described above. In a lot of words, amphetamine and the most expensive white strong substance out there actually disrupt the natural communication between neurons.

What Parts of the Brain Are Affected by Drugs?

Drugs have the power to alter very key brain areas that do critical life sustaining functions. These drugs are also the catalysts that fuel compulsive drug use-addiction.

Drugs affect the:

·         Basal Ganglia (BG)

·         The Extended Amygdala (EA), and

·         The Pre-frontal Cortex (PC)

The BG is responsible for various positive forms of motivation like the pleasant effects of pleasurable activities -sex, eating, and even mingling with others. This part of the brain is very involved with the habits and routines that humans form. The BG forms what is referred to as the brain’s reward circuit. This circuit produces the euphoria that is experienced when drug users get high. With repeated exposure or acquaintance with the drugs, the circuit becomes used to the presence of the drug. This in turn lessens the sensitivity of the circuit, thereby making it hard for repeated users of drugs to feel pleasure from any other substance save the drug. This is a key reason why humans get addicted to drugs as drugs tend to hijack the neurotransmitters that are produced during pleasurable activities.

Now to the second part of the brain affected by the abuse of drugs- the EA, this part of the brain is responsible for the stressful and fearful feelings we feel. It is responsible for the feelings like anxiety, unease, irritability that repeated users of drugs feel after the drug high moment. Feeling this type of way makes substance abusers run back to get more of the drug. The EA circuit becomes more sensitive the more drug abusers use the drug.

What happens then is that a person laboring with substance use disorder now uses drugs to get temporary relief from the aftereffects-discomfort instead of to even experience the drug high.

Drugs like opioids (a common type is the highly addictive heroin) negatively affects other parts of the brain like the brain stem which controls critical to life-breathing, heart rate, sleeping and the likes. An overdose of this drug may lead to death after a seriously depressed breathing.

Another part of the brain that gets affected with drug abuse is the PC. The prefrontal cortex enables humans to think, analyze, be in control of one’s self, solve problems, and even make decisions. Unsurprisingly, this happens to be the last part of the brain to mature, thereby making teenagers most susceptible to the side effects when they abuse substances. With the interworking of the parts of the brain as mentioned above and the PC, a person with substance abuse disorder will have less control regarding the drug use and will tend to compulsively seek the drug.

While all the above can be considered as cruise and why not? Many have died untimely deaths from substance abuse and others have seriously altered their brain functions due to this unforgiving addiction. Others have had to battle different diseases. Asides from the fact that when you are high or drunk, you are open to making very unsober decisions, alcohol and strong substances eventually dull your mind and give you the leeway to confidently misbehave and engage in destructive behavior.  There is a good reason why the bible says we should be alert and of sober mind. I once read a “celeb” say drugs help you stay patient with the very many challenges and mundane tasks of life. I still wonder why depending on drugs should be the way out when patience is in fact a fruit of the spirit of God. You really need not depend on any substance to be patient, spend more time with God, you could also tell Him to help you to be patient with difficult people and situations. He really will help you.

Now do not get me wrong. Being confident is key. It is quite crucial at least in the world we live in. Strong drink or drugs should not be the catalyst of your confidence. Your knowledge of who God says you are etc, should fuel your confidence.  The Spirit of the living God can give you unusual confidence. There is a reason why Paul told the Ephesians to not be drunk on wine which leads to debauchery, instead to be filled with the Spirit of God.

Un-shockingly, wine mocks humans; a wise man once said that beer is a brawler. He went on to say that whoever is led to misbehave by these strong substances is not wise.

I mean, the consequences of our actions after getting high or drunk can really not be blamed on the alcohol. Remember again that your body is so special. Why roast or fry the critical parts of your brain and cause them to behave abnormally. I think it is positively “selfish” to honor one’s body. Honor God- who lives in you- with your body. Remember that your body really is not yours. You are God’s temple. You were bought with an actual price and there are amazing things that God wants to be wrought on earth through you, why cut your life short when nations are waiting on your manifestation.

It goes without saying that it is pointless to harm one’s body or be careless, reckless or negligent with our bodies.

Individuals who believe they can never come off drugs ever should note that when we are tempted (with drugs, smoke, hard drinks) God will also provide a way out so that we can endure the temptation without falling.  Trust me, there is always a way out to sobriety in as much as one is willing to drop bad habits that do not add positively to their lives. Don’t give up! You can always overcome the temptation to take drugs no matter how hopeless you feel.

Should you need help with getting over hard drugs and substance abuse, kindly call (770) 624-2728.

You may also reach out to the organizations below:

Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative

Faithful Counselling.

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Hi! I'm Taiwo. I love God! He's like at the center of everything for me. Then, I love people, wierd people, meeting new people and all of that. I hope to travel to every country in THE WORLD and meet new people and experience different cultures! Professionally, I am a Corporate and Commercial Lawyer in Nigeria. I help nurture businesses and non-profit entities from the stage of conception (registration) through obtaining relevant licenses (where applicable), building the right organizational structure, and even obtaining funds via equity and debts. I provide cutting edge business advise tailored towards the vision of the founder(s) in different sectors, particularly emerging technologies. Just because I am more than my profession, I will also be using this space to speak to our souls by publishing truths that can help us all heal, grow together and be whole. Trust me, that’s not all, every now and then, you will stumble on publications that show fashion, art and style. Just fasten your belt and enjoy the ride through my space! Wanna reach out to me? Kindly call me via: 08143817162 or send an email to taiwodamilolalawal@gmail.com.

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