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Hope for Healing

 

Start Your Healing Journey Here!

Thank you for joining me and welcome to this month's edition of my Hope for Healing newsletter! I feel blessed to have you here with me. I welcome and appreciate feedback. Feel free to reach out via my website contact page or through e-mail at info@teriwellbrock.com with comments or questions. 

 
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As shared last month, here is another one of my son, John's, philosophy papers which resonated with my healing journey so I'm sharing it with you . . . 


 

Knowing the Dragon: Addiction Under the Scope of Neuroscience

by John Wellbrock
 

     In Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction, Judith Grisel guides the reader to a more complete understanding of the human brain’s physical and chemical makeup, the chemical properties and behaviors of drugs, and how those two interact to create an addiction. Her goal in sharing knowledge gained from her time spent as a Neuroscientist is to inform, hoping to bring improvement into the lives of people struggling with addiction with whom she shares commonality. She explains in technical detail how drugs overstimulate neural pathways and how the brain responds to adapt the synthetic stimulation as its new norm after repeated exposure to use. The reader can expect to find a perspective of duality that opens a door for emotional engagement in congruence with clever metaphors that allow for complex concepts to become easy to understand. These techniques lend themselves to an elegant delivery of information that continually keeps the reader engaged and, if applicable, renders a state of reflection on the impact of addiction in their life.

     Grisel uses her unique perspective of being a neuroscientist and a recovering addict to establish credibility and emotional connection to her audience. She initiates building credibility in the book’s first sentence with a tee-up question about her neuroscience path choice, which insinuates her profession (Grisel 1). She then catches the reader with an emotional hook using the words “my condition,” which is a subtle reference to her own struggle with addiction (Grisel 1). Then the reader is provided with the logical yet addiction-driven thought process that led Grisel to the study of neurology. She wanted to find what was physically responsible in the brain for triggering moments of out-of-control decision-making when drugs were involved, so that she could be a more functional and accepted user (Grisel 1-2). Grisel captures the reader with an indirect declaration of empathy for those struggling with addiction. Her non-technical tone and the decision to share information about her addiction denote her target audience as non-peers. These deliberate incorporations of her dual perspectives lend themselves to an impactful opening, instilling confidence in the reader about the words to come while subtly declaring her tone and audience.

     The inner workings of the human brain, namely its physical structure, the chemicals it produces, how the chemicals move through that structure, and all of the entanglements of its operations, are not easy to understand; Grisel realized this and adopted the use of clever metaphors to assist her in informing the reader about the role drugs play in the brain. One inclusion is when she describes the brain’s “electrical and chemical energy” to be a “vocabulary” such that it can translate other languages (external environments) into something understandable and, more importantly, meaningful (Grisel 3). If she were to describe this without that metaphor, solely using scientific terms and descriptors instead, any lay reader would be left in confusion or forced to stop their reading and look up definitions if they hoped to know what she was saying. Scattering useful metaphors throughout chapter one allow readers to work through the text with fluidity while leaving them with less confusion and more understanding.

     Grisel does an excellent job of applying her professional knowledge and personal involvement in the matter at hand to connect with the reader and effectively deliver a text that has the primary purpose of furthering the reader’s understanding of the topics – our brains, drugs, and addiction. Earlier, I mentioned how the reader’s attention is captured in the first paragraph of the text through subtext, saying, “Hey. Addiction controlled me, and I’m here to teach you all about it … as a scientist.” That’s engaging for any reader, and establishing that engagement within the first few paragraphs of a book is crucial to keeping them not only reading but also absorbing and learning the material (the entire purpose). Generating that immediate connection allows Grisel to move swiftly into the meat, or rather goo, of the topic: the brain and how it works.

     When I finished chapter one, I was left wanting more knowledge, understanding, and hope for curing addiction. Grisel presented a delicious spread of information appetizers with hints of the deeper flavors to be expected in the main course (the rest of the book). For example, she speaks ever-so-briefly on her past struggles with addiction, referencing drinking and some other unspecified drug (Grisel 1-2). Naturally, I feel compelled to know more about how much her addiction really impacted her life because I’m an empathetic person and want to feel that connection with her. Grisel also doesn’t expand on how or even if her neuroscience studies have affected the struggles mentioned, even though she states that she aimed to cure addiction when she chose her path. It feels unnecessary to say that I desire more of her story. Are you cured, Judith Grisel? Is there hope for those of us who have struggled with addiction? Is there more research to be had? I am confident that I cannot be of the minority in asking these questions, and therefore I must exclaim – What a brilliant way to keep us at the table!

     I believe the information presented in Grisel’s book is a crucial ally for anyone combating addiction. In my experience, to truly be victorious over something that continually acts against one’s will or well-being, there must first be a complete understanding of the obstacle or foe, or the risk of return and defeat remains. I fought alcoholism for nine years, a short bout for many, but long enough to alter the course of my life. During year eight of my fight, I dealt a critical blow to my demons by putting away drink for over half a year. I didn’t understand my alcoholism, though. I thought I won. I thought, “I did it. I proved that I don’t have to drink. Now I can drink again.” I laugh now, thinking back on my naivety because, of course, I drank again and shattered what relationships I had left. If I had known what I do now, what Grisel’s intentions are in her book, that I needed to know what my addiction was and how it worked, so I could genuinely triumph over it, maybe I would have a job, more than one friend, a relationship that didn’t need council, and a past not soaked in blood. People need to know how their addictions work because if they don’t, I tell you, they give way for the return of the undying dragon … and it will rein fire.
 
 
Works Cited
Grisel, Judith. “Chapter 1.” Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction, Doubleday, New York, New York, 2019, pp. 1–3.
 

Another heart-touching review for The Healing Place Podcast! I feel lifted in spirit to continue offering this show as a free resource for those traveling a healing journey or guiding others along that path. Much love and gratitude to all who listen, share, and support my #hopeforhealing #podcast mission.

You can join us at http://thehealingplacepodcast.blubrry.net/ or https://www.youtube.com/c/TeriWellbrock/videos

And write your own iTunes 5-star review at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-healing-place-podcast/id1261995891

Thanks, again, for being a beautiful part of this healing space!


Listen to my entire interview with the fabulous, Elaine Starling, of The Abundance Journey Podcast here: https://theabundancejourney.com/podcast Or listen to a videogram sample of my insights on mindfulness.

Thank you, Elaine, for the healing work you do and for shining a beautiful light of hope into the world! https://www.facebook.com/TheAbundanceJourney

#hopeforhealing #podcast #abundance #theabundancejourney
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Can you help me reach my goal of 100 5-Star Reviews on Apple's iTunes for The Healing Place Podcast? If you're a fan of the show, please follow the link below and leave your rating/review. Thank you, in advance, for helping this show continue to reach new listeners!
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As I say at the end of each podcast episode, until next time, remember, be gentle with yourself!

Teri Wellbrock - international podcast host, writer, speaker, blogger, therapy dog handler
www.teriwellbrock.com
www.unicornshadows.com
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