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Addiction and Your Brain: The Internal Recovery Journey

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Did you know that addiction literally changes your brain? Abusing addictive substances physically alters the structure of your mind, leading to a destructive spiral. Does this sound familiar to you?

For example, when you abuse heroin, you decrease your white matter. And when you have less white matter, you have a diminished capacity to make wise, well-considered decisions.

This is one reason why the heroin relapse rate is so high; each time you use, you are decreasing the “brainpower” you need to quit.

But that’s just the beginning of the story.

How to Effect Change in Your Brain

The good news is that as humans, we have significant neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is just a fancy way of saying that we can create new connections in our brains.

And while addiction changes the structure of the brain, so does recovery.

If you choose, you have the power to rewire your brain and effect positive change.

Recently, our very own co-founder and CEO Joe Koelzer appeared as a featured guest on the Rewired Radio podcast discussing how our team combines evidence-based treatment methods and Spiritual Psychology to transform and save lives.

The Internal Recovery Journey: A Rewired Radio Interview

Highlights of the Internal Recovery Journey include:

  • A discussion of the true nature of addiction and what’s really driving drug use and the opioid crisis today
  • How to cope with the mental and emotional pain that arises when people try to stop using drugs or alcohol
  • Why dual diagnosis is an industry buzzword, but true dual diagnosis treatment is hard to find
  • The specific, holistic healing tools that we teach our Participants to address issues on all four levels of self: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual
  • How The Clearing is different from other residential rehab facilities
  • The importance of Aftercare and helping people implement new practices in their lives

Listen to Joe and Erica’s conversation now:



Memorable Clips from The Internal Recovery Journey:

“What we found is that … it’s not about the substances. It’s about the depression, the anxiety, the self-loathing, the hopelessness, the issues around trauma and loss and despair, that’s the stuff that has people using. And if we can deal with that, then we have a great road to recovery.”


“I see dual diagnosis becoming a marketing term, but I don’t see [the industry] putting in the effort ... to help folks deal with underlying core issues.”


“It’s very very hard to take away my substances without something to deal with the mental and emotional pain that started me using. When I take away my substances, I just have all of these feelings right there in my face, and what am I supposed to do about it?”


“[Our founding] was to approach treatment with a blank piece of paper. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing; don’t look at what insurance wants to pay for; don’t look at any of that kind of stuff. But if we were going to put together a program where people could really, really heal, what would that program look like? And that’s what we did, three years ago now.”

If you'd like to know more about how we address underlying core issues in our addiction recovery program, download our free eBook

Download E-Book Heal Underlying Core Issues



About Erica Spiegelman

Erica is an addiction and wellness specialist and author, and recently we interviewed her about her book Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery.


Caroline McGraw

This post was written by Caroline McGraw

In addition to her work as "the voice of The Clearing", Caroline Garnet McGraw writes about trading perfectionism for possibility at A Wish Come Clear. Visit and receive your free Perfectionist Recovery Toolkit today!

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