- Biochemistry of Love, Relationships and Recovery

Biochemistry of Love, Relationships and Recovery




A discussion of topics related to relationships in recovery and treatment

Biochemistry of Love, Relationships and Recovery

Postby Dallas » Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:50 am

Biochemistry of Love, Relationships and Recovery

Recently, I've been conducting some research with a doctor, in regards to biochemical changes in the body, in regards to sobriety, recovery, and the 12 Steps.

Below, I've included a quote from the doctor, regarding one of our discussions on bio-chemical changes in the brain -- that I thought would be appropriate here in the "Relationships Forum".

The Doc wrote:I like the way you put the initial euphoria after sobriety in the context of the further step work....... It appears to be a general theme of change. Most enduring relationships between a man end a woman start out with romantic "in love" euphoria, giving maybe enough push for lasting relationship. In biochemical terms: during the love period our bodies produce mostly D opamine, Adrenaline, Pheromones, and Norepinephrine. These hormones create just about enough desire balanced with physical pleasure. We want more, and we can be consumed with that desire (opium den of lust). We also produce oxytocin and endorphin that are released by all kind of touching and bring us closer together and actually create bonding.

According to science this love cocktail can last for some time, until we develop a tolerance. This love buzz hopefully lasts long enough to develop other means to keep the relationship going. Sorry for this diversion into the biochemistry of love relationships. I thought of the similarity to the initial abstinence euphoria. As you can tell I love science.



[quote="Big Book page 152"]We have shown how we got out from under. You say, “Yes, I’m willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?â€
Last edited by Dallas on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Susan » Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:32 pm

I am glad you shared this Dallas. My studies have also taught the biochemical process of the brain. That relationship in early recovery is really a dependency. Dependency replacement can destroy a person. Most people will not listen though, they think they will die without sex and love. I try to teach all that they are not in the same class as oxygen, I really get some flack for that one. Then I get, we are just friends! And I say " that means you do not do anything with a friend of the opposite sex that you would not do with me". We get to choose our higher power but it should be spiritual and not physical. :D
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Postby garden variety » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:50 pm

Ok you bio majors - some stuff I don't understand - but its related to relationships.

Now with this biochemical business that goes on, which I think there is something to it, I've been noticing something.

When you have a man and woman in a - lets say "committed" relationship where neither one is dating - or maybe just say a "long term relationship" - what your saying is after that "high" phase of euphoria goes back to normal, then maybe there is a "crashing" thing? Which is this when the couple looks at each other warts and all - and decide to keep the thing going and then find out what true love is? Well when they get out of that biochemical thing and either crash or go to what is normal, then the work of a relationship starts right?

Well if this is going on, and those euphoria brain chemicals are gone, is there some other kind of biochemical thing that happens to take its place that lets the couple stay fond of each other?

Now the reason I ask is because I read that more single men and women die at a younger age if they are not in a committed relationship with a member of the opposite sex - well maybe today that would include a same-sex relationship. But the bottom line seems to me that in a relationship, certain levels of hormones are also involved. You know what I mean - you have sex and keep it going on a regular basis - certain male and female hormone levels get higher and stay higher than if there is no companionship. And I'm guessing that's true even if the single person living alone is a regular user of his hands or other things to - well hell - don't mean to sound like a freak here - but you know what I'm saying? But what these "studies" seem to say is that 2 people in a relationship will live longer than single people and will also live healthier physical lives.

So what I understand is that just maybe a man and woman have more sex than somebody manipulating with there own hardware. The couple probably gets off in a better way that keeps the hormone levels higher, right? Yes No? What I also understand about hormones is they cause changes in "biochemicals" related to your brain and mental health, too. So even if these euphoric "lust-related" biochemicals tone down a bit, there is still a different level of biochemicals in a couple that has regular sex then a man or woman that doesn't have a companion even if they do the "self-sex" thing a lot? Is that correct? Now I'm really not trying to be cute here because I want to know what the realtionship of relationships is to your long term health and why single people die younger when they're alone? ANd how does that biochemical euphoria thing you're talking about relate to relationships further on down the line?

The reason I ask this is because - I don't know if its me or I'm just an alcoholic thinking "its all about me" - but I notice that when I am sexually involved with a woman in a relationship, I don't get sick as often, I seem to have more strength and energy, and my overall health seems to be better than when I'm not in a relationship. Now that's not saying anything about my state of mind because I think it's about the same. I mean I don't feel less happy, joyous, and free when I'm not in a relationship. I still have a blast living and learning, and I still do worthwhile things to help others.

So is anything I'm saying make sense to you Finch, or you Dallas as it relates to these biochemical changes? Or am I just plain goofy and off the map. If I am I do apologize especially if I offended anyone.

Now I'm also not pretending to be a dummy either because I did go to college and I had to take biology 101 or whatever its number was. And I passed it with a "B". But I was drinking real heavy back then and I can't remember talking about any of this. I just remember those dumb pea plants at first and I can't even remember what the course ended on. I also loved biology in the 9th grade, but we didn't talk about biochemicals and brain chemicals and such. ANd sex and relationships were way off limits then.

But we did talk about sex in junior college in my health class. Again I was drinking and don't remember the details, but I also was having sex pretty often too and probably thought that I knew enough without having a book or teacher. I dated this woman that was 10 years older than me - she was a real sweetheart but she got figety about our age difference and that ended. But I was in relationships all the time back then and come to think about it right now, I don't remember being sick at all.

Thanks again for your time and I hope you can enlighten me a little more.
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Postby Dallas » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:15 pm

Gees, Paul... I don't think I understood where you were going and what you said. :lol: So many different questions. Are you in love? :oops: :lol: :lol:

Only two things I picked up on that I would comment on is:

GardenVariety wrote:Now I'm really not trying to be cute here because I want to know what the realtionship of relationships is to your long term health and why single people die younger when they're alone?



GardenVariety wrote:The reason I ask this is because - I don't know if its me or I'm just an alcoholic thinking "its all about me" - but I notice that when I am sexually involved with a woman in a relationship, I don't get sick as often, I seem to have more strength and energy, and my overall health seems to be better than when I'm not in a relationship. Now that's not saying anything about my state of mind because I think it's about the same. I mean I don't feel less happy, joyous, and free when I'm not in a relationship. I still have a blast living and learning, and I still do worthwhile things to help others.


Some research that I've read is that particularly... if men stay sexually active... they live longer and with less health problems. It didn't include the info as to whether they were in a relationship arrangement or not.

However, part of the research I read... was that men who were in unhappy or unfulfilling relationships... which could be a cause for their lack of libido and sexual activity... did die younger and with more serious health problems.

That particular research was different than the biochemistry of love and relationships research that I had been referring to above.

I've also read some papers (different than above in both cases)... that indicated individuals and couples... that have dogs and other pets... tend to be happier and live longer than those without.

I believe a lot of the "longer happier and healthier life" results ... is related to the individual's "will and desire to live." And, "will and desire to live" may have something to do with a sense of "purpose" to living.

It doesn't specifically refer to sex and/or relationships... but part of this is mentioned on pages 132 & 133 of the Big Book.

Alcoholics that are not happy, cheerful, do not laugh much, and tend to take life too serious ... tend to have more health problems.... than alcoholics that are happy and laugh a lot.

There is a famous medical center and doctor down in Texas... that uses humor... as part of their therapy to treat cancer patients... and they have a lot of research that shows that humor is very effective in treating all sorts of illness... including cancer.

So, what is it... that keeps us laughing? Happy? Healthy? And, sober?

I believe it's our attitude. Our attitude about ourselves and about others, and our attitude about life.

Our book also indicates that "to get over drinking -- will require a transformation of thoughts and attitudes."

Laughter produces physiological and biological changes in our body... especially "belly laughter." And, the physical activity, combined with mental activity (thoughts and attitudes) effects our health, our body, our immune system, and our life at a chemical and cellular level.

So, if it's true... that laughter, thoughts, attitude and physical activity will do that for the body... it sounds rather logical to me that... good, healthy sex activity would do it, also! And, what is it that makes for good sex activity? I believe it starts in the mind... with the thoughts and attitudes... about ourselves... and the other person.

Gee... this sounds like such an adult topic for a bunch of children to be discussing! :lol:

Dallas
Last edited by Dallas on Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Susan » Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:54 pm

OK Now Sex is not the answer to all my problems today!!! :D :) . I think sex can be a dependency and that effects the chemicals in the brain. We are very sensitive people. I think it might be better to keep it simple here and go with, Is It Selfish Or Not! :D We can let someone else do the nueroscience.
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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:40 pm

Can we say...over-analyze? :P :P Sure...I knew you could :wink: :twisted: .

Just razzin' ya, guys...been fun reading all of this :lol: :wink:

Later, kids, 8)
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Postby Dallas » Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:52 pm

Kind of like... money doesn’t solve all my problems, but it sure solves most of the problems that are worth thinking about? :lol:

Sex and money have one thing in common for me -- I’ve never had a problem with having too much of either one of them! :lol: :lol:

Makes me wonder if there are any similarities in the theories of the biochemistry in relationships, courting, money and sex. It appears to me that a lack of any one of those can substantially produce negative effects on the health and well-being of the others. :lol:

Reminds me of the scenario of the teenage son, who says to his father..." But, Dad, ... you just don't understand.... a job isn't my problem -- my problem is that I don't have a car or the money to take my girlfriend out on a date tonight!" :lol:

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Postby Susan » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:18 pm

This is a fun thread. LOL I can not seem to find any info or statistics as to whether people live longer if they have sex with someone else or by hand but I do know this, to drink over no sex, not the right type, to much sex can put strain on the brain. I think if you have some sex going with another person that really good. If you are providing your own by hand things could look up soon. Just don't drink!!! :D

Rev. Finch
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Postby Dallas » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:27 pm

This may sound funny or odd... or maybe it's just a real live and true example of page 132, Big Book:
"We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor
do we carry the world’s troubles on our shoulders. When
we see a man sinking into the mire that is alcoholism, we
give him first aid and place what we have at his disposal.
For his sake, we do recount and almost relive the horrors
of our past
."

How about the present?

My story: When I was a kid, I was told that little boys would get pimples and go blind if they played with themselves. And, more specifically... you did the, you know, sex with self thing.

Well... later in life I was told that was just a myth.

I was saddened to discover that it was a myth and that I had been lied to about it. That would have been a real good reason to drink!!! But, that was okay. By the time I discovered it, I had become a real Trooper by A.A.'s standards.... and I had tools to deal with my resentments over being lied to about the effects of having sex with myself... which would deter even good alcoholicly inclined drinkers. And, I learned to forgive them. (I made the discovery after... my first 4th Step, but at least I had the 10th Step that I could use on it!). :lol: :lol:

But... here's the truth that saddens me... and that I'm having difficulty accepting, today.

Why didn't someone tell me that lack of sex is what would really lead to blindness? (Blindness without pimples, too! No warning sign that it would be coming on!)

For about the last six months... I've had a problem with the vision in my left eye. Now, I've lost nearly 90 percent of the vision. I finally went to an eye doctor and she told me that it was the result of damage to my left eye... that was caused my the pressure of the fluid being too high... the pressure was building up... instead of letting go.

Well.... I am left handed... but, I don't think I should be blaming that on my loss of vision in my left eye! I also eat and comb my hair with my left hand! So, it has nothing to do with my use... or lack of using my left hand. I don't think.

Perhaps... it's about the biochemistry of my left eye... or, the fact, that I haven't been seeing enough... so that the pressure from the fluids would want to move on... or at least... release and let go... with love. (Sounds kind of Al-Anon-ish, doesn't it?)

Now... I'm stuck with having one good eye and one bad eye. I don't want to accept it. I want to fix it. And, I'm trying. (I have a lot of good will power... that can be used for smaller things... like blindness and stuff like that... even though it doesn't work on my alcoholism). :lol:

Now... I just know that sooner or later... I'm going to discover that I've got some resentments and grief over losing the vision in my left eye... which means a strenuous effort through personal inventory and housecleaning... all over again!

And, the way I feel about it is... why heck! I could have been having self-sex all this time and not have to worry if I'd go blind or not and at least I could have had memories about what sex was for!!! :lol: :lol:

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Postby garden variety » Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:30 pm

I just did some online reading, and everyone knows everything you read on the internet is true, right? :P :P :P

Anyway, I think Dallas explained the answer I was looking for. I really am happy knowing this thing I've been noticing about levels of health is related to biochemistry, and not something "all about me".

What I read basically said just what Dallas said about people living alone dying sooner and having more health issues. Dallas talked about dogs too. Well it looks like the theory is something "biochemical", probably more than one single thing, happens when "companionship" enters the mix. It could be dogs, opposite-sex, or same sex-companions.

What apparently happens is that when a companion enters the picture, several elements that are somehow centered in the mind start producing physical manifestations. And it's all related to the need of survival whether it's family or civilization.

It seems that with a companion, either one of two things happen. Either the companions split up and become alone, or they decide to "survive" together instead of apart. When that happens, they say that there will be arguments and disagreements and dislikes and all kinds of things that are looked at as "negative". But what the companions do that decide to stay together after that "biochemistry" of romance you guys talked about goes away, is they "navigate" through their "differences" so that both companions "survive" together. It may start out as just survival in reconciling the disagreements of life together but it evolves into a matter of what allows each companion to live with more peace and comfort and still "survive" together.

Now this whole process is not a simple thing, but you can look at it and see what happens. The minds of companions are forced to do things to figure out a way to survive together that folks living alone don't do. So the brains use different activity centers, more of this, less of that, and it turns into a combination of (LISTEN TO THIS DALLAS) taking different actions which bring about different "biochemical" processes then what happens with single people.

I'm pretty amazed at how this stuff ties into the program and why it works, too. So things happen at lets say a primative level that let the companions realize they have to survive together for life. So their brains start sorting out almost automatically the things that would be destructive for themselves and their companion, and they almost just as automatically abandon ideas and thoughts like that. Like as an example, if I make a decision to marry my fiance, and that decision comes from the survival need, I don't waste time thinking about ways to end the companionship or get rid of the other person.

Now I might not like knowing that I have to give up certain things to survive with another person, but I take those actions because I have to. But over time it evolves into resolving the differences that caused the negative arguments, disagreemts, and dislikes at first. This is what they mean by "the honeymoon is over" which is when it seems like all hell breaks loose. Call it a "disillusionment" of one partner and the other.

But the survival need comes into play over time and the disagreements get fewer not because one person likes the other so much, but that both companions are trying to get the most comfort or "pleasure" they can get while surviving together. The result is a longer life and better health for both companions. So two people don't even have to "love" each other to get the benefits of long life and better health - they only have to survive - and each one is driven by that need.

Well that's how I understood this as I was reading it. But the thing that I'm glad about is what I said about me actually feeling and living healthier when I'm involved in a realtionship that involves sex and closeness and intimacy.

I don't want to get to silly, but I started adding things up. I'll come out with this honestly. I take more showers and baths when I have a sexual partner then when I'm alone. I'll bet there's a lot of folks that will skip a shower or bath a night or two if nothing is going on with any partners and they just sit home and watch TV. What happens if I come into contact with lets say someone sick at the office? If my butt is in the shower every night because I don't want to be embarassed about being "ripe" around of my companion, then I just washed the same germs away that I didn't mind have hanging around being alone and watching TV. So it makes sense that I "feel" healthier or less sick with a girlfriend because I am healthier. I'm taking extra steps to insure a better comfort level for both of us.

And since everybody at my darn office has pciked up on this, yes there is girl that came into my life just recently. So to Dallas, I don't know if I'm "falling in love", but I haven't been finding a need to use my own hand these days, and I been using a little bit more of that expensive non-alcoholic cologne-oil.

There it goes again - funny how other folks around you can pick up on things like this. Three people I come into contact with at my office building asked me with that "I know what you've been up to" tone in their voice - they all asked "Well how was your weekend?" as if I was a different person. Any other time they'd just say hello. But now it's an inquisitive grin and asking nosey questions. So it all makes sense so much that the people that know you can tell something happened that makes your face and demeanor look different when you get into a realtionship. I guess it must show that I'm looking healthier because I'm taking more actions to be healthier.

I cracked up at your little line Rev Finch: If I'm using my own hand things will look up soon. Bwahahahahaha! I love your sense of humor! "things will look up" uh-uuhh - girl watch yourself!

This is a fun thread - and it is even funnier thinking about when it started I was more concerned about being sick so long and where it is now, I'm on the other side in a relationship.

Hey Finch, what are the signs of relationship dependency? Let me first say that I'm looking into this for a friend, and obviously not myself! :oops: :oops: :oops:
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