Here is a difficult idea for many people to understand and believe:
if you have developed an addiction, you aren’t really doing things as a result of free will, but as an uncontrollable response to the compelling drives that have hi-jacked your brain. It is definitely not a lack of willpower that is forcing you to continue feeding your addiction.
Once an addiction has developed, scientific research has shown visible proof of changes in how your brain now works. You now find that instead of being driven by the feelings of pleasure you used to get from your drug or behaviour, you experience intense psychological or even physical pain if you try to stop supplying your addiction with what it craves.
Your reasons for continuing with the problem behaviour have totally changed around.
What used to give you pleasure, has now turned against you, and instead of being able to make rational choices about what you do, your addiction has taken control of you.
You haven’t fallen asleep at the wheel, you’ve been hijacked by an addiction. We now know that this is true, because brain studies have clearly shown that visible physical changes have occurred in the brains of people who have developed an addiction.
No one chooses to have an addiction – it’s something that has happened to you that physically changes how your brain now works. Most people are powerless to control these overwhelming drives without help.
No one enjoys having an addiction – what used to be a normal life with all it’s ups and downs, has turned into a nightmare that can only be relieved by endlessly feeding your addiction, even if you really do wish you could stop. You are being held hostage by your addiction, and very often, you can’t see any way of escaping.
There is one thing that is now scientifically proven:
addiction is not a moral weakness, or a lack of willpower
Sometimes it’s hard to remember this when living in close contact with someone with an addiction. It seems to onlookers that they are unwilling to stop, and in many cases they are, but that is because they are still under the control of their addiction, and cannot ‘disobey’ the intense drives from their brain, demanding that they supply it with more of what it craves.
And it’s also difficult for addicts themselves to understand the predicament they now find themselves in. Very often they themselves feel shame and frustration because they realise how powerless they are to disobey the overwhelming demands of their cravings.
Think about it. How humiliating would it be to find out that you’ve become powerless to control your own actions? Addicts themselves often feel they lack willpower, and are weak, ‘bad’ people because they cannot force themselves to change their behaviour, even if that is what they really want to do.
Very often, this leads to giving up on the struggle that seems so hopeless, and so they continue with their addiction. That can lead to feelings of hopelessness, anger, depression – even desperation and suicide.
Having an addiction is not shameful, or ‘bad’, or a lack of willpower. It is also not a hopeless situation to find yourself in, even if it feels as if it is. You have developed an illness, and illnesses can be treated. Help is available. Hope and belief in yourself can be restored.
Having a medical condition that affects your brain might not sound like good news, but it’s a lot better than blaming yourself, or having your family and friends blaming you for something that is no longer under your control without help.
Understanding what is happening to you, can be the first step towards getting treatment, conquering those intense inner drives, and reclaiming control of your life, for yourself and your family.
Being accused of being weak, and having no willpower, can be devastating for the person being subjected to this kind of attack, and reinforces what they often secretly believe about themselves: that all these accusations are actually true – but they are not. You are not weak willed, or hopeless, or immoral – you have developed an addiction.
Addiction is a type of mental illness. If someone has a mental illness, it’s not their fault. And most important of all – mental illnesses can be treated if you ask for help.
If you have any Questions or Comments
Please Contact Me by leaving a Comment in the reply box below,