Why Underlying Causes For About Addiction Is A Myth

ID-10013611Why Underlying Causes For About Addiction Is A Myth

It is vital to understand this fact: a cause is finite and completely predictable; it doesn’t include any reasoning. Should a mugger jump out unexpectedly and strike you in the face, no conscious (cognitive) process is going to occur between the strike and your hands involuntarily coming up to cover you face – it is automatic. Such responses are a direct casual relationship; these responses are caused by fear and are hard wired in the brain.

Our society, including drug and alcohol treatment programs, 12 step programs and addiction counseling would like to believe that your behaviors are “addictive” or reflect behaviors in which they are conducted with no thought and no choice. Your addiction in this skewed view is caused by stress or trauma. Yet a cause for a behavior such as heavy substance use needs thought to occur because heavy substance use it not a simple involuntary reflex, but a complex behavior that takes several steps to complete.

The treatment industry and our culture, in general, would like you to believe that your habits are involuntary, out of your control, and “caused” by external factors- rather than reasoned out in an attempt to satisfy personal desires. When you compare and contrast the choice to go to a crack house against that of automatic fear response, the cultural view that they are one in the same can be seen for the absurdity that it is.

No one could really believe that going to the liquor store, buying booze, drinking all night, or being intoxicated is on the same level as your reaction to the mugger. Yet, this is exactly what our cultural viewpoint is suggesting and is asking you to believe.  Treatment programs may say something to you like, “You are powerless over your drinking,” which then expands to, “You cannot deal with stress well, so you need to develop a support system to help you resist binging on drugs or alcohol when things get bad.” In this frame of logic, stress causes drinking, and support is needed to fight the causative power of stress.

This “underlying cause for addiction” theory leaves out three inherent human characteristics: free will, choice and reasoning. It makes you an involuntary, helpless, victim of your surroundings and circumstances. In this view, stressful circumstances cause you to use and supportive circumstances cause you to stop – all the while your personal enjoyment of substance use is ignored – making you a perpetual victim of circumstance.

Take this time to reflect on anything you have learned about your own drinking patterns. Do you really believe there is no reasoning behind your choices to get drunk, high or any other behaviors that you choose? Do you believe that you’re diseased and truly addicted? Do you believe that you are incapable of controlling yourself? Do you feel judged in a treatment program, or feel like someone is giving you fear-based advice (i.e. if you don’t stop drinking you will die)? Ultimately, ever choice you make is based on pre- thoughts and reasoning. Stress does not cause drinking, neither does anger, anxiety, an abusive relationship or a death of a loved one. Stress can be a reason or excuse to drink but not a cause. Discovering that drinking is in your own control can help you get your life together once again.

Melissa currently writes for Saint Jude Retreats, which is an alternative to traditional . As well as writing for St. Jude’s, Melissa enjoys writing about topics that include health and relationships.

 

Image courtesy of Mantas Ruzveltas /




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