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Your Brain Releases Dopamine from Hugs or Drugs

Dope is the solution to dopamine deprived childhoods

If we receive proper maternal nurturing as infants, our brains develop normal dopamine receptors. When we are unconditionally loved & engage in eye contact and intimacy with our caretakers, we get high from our own endorphins. (Internal morphine). We learn to experience social engagement and personal intimacy as pleasurable and endorphin rich. If our parents are not attuned to us we can wither away from emotional neglect and are sometimes left with a shortage of dopamine receptors for the remainder of our lives. We learn to experience social engagement as painful and are incapable of emotional intimacy. We are traumatized by our adverse childhood experiences.

Internal or External Dope?

Some of us find a solution by using external dope to flood our limited supply of dopamine receptors and allow us to feel pleasure. We smoke, shoot, or snort it so that we can relieve our childhood trauma. When I was young I found a cure for my emotionally deprived childhood by self-administering the plant-based medicine known as alcohol. Sugar is a good example of a quick fix for endorphins and also temporarily raises levels of the mood chemical serotonin. However, there are healthier ways of flooding the brain with dope. How will you get your fix today?

 dopamine

How will you self-regulate your emotional state today?

Because self-regulation and self-mastery are developmental achievements, we reach them only if the conditions for development are right. Some people never attain it. Even at the advanced age of sixty-five years I often find myself dependent on some external support to sooth my anxiety. If I experience too much undirected internal energy I look to coffee to lift my mood. I am an old man perpetually rushing towards that next accomplishment or trophy. Now I am on a mission to bring trauma consciousness to the world of recovery. I could be engaging my rather advanced yoga practice but I just have to write this blog before breakfast and my Al-Anon meeting.

Emotional Maturity

The drug addict is a person who has not emotionally matured. As I re-enter the post-Covid world my intention is to promote maturity in myself and others whose early environment sabotaged healthy emotional growth. Psychological maturation is the development of a sense of self as separate from inner experience. Young children do not make this differentiation and we perceive this as immaturity.

Differentiation

“Differentiation is defined as the ability to be in emotional contact with others yet still autonomous in one’s emotional functioning. It’s the capacity to hold on to ourselves while interacting with others. The poorly differentiated person is easily overwhelmed by his emotions; he absorbs anxiety from others and generates considerable anxiety within himself (which he then radiates out to others.)” – In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction, by Gabor Mate, M.D.  

in the realm of the hungry ghosts why the pain