Concluding Remarks of Chapter One

What we have really been discussing in this first chapter is the mechanisms behind our powerlessness to our addictive substances and behaviors. Having read this, it is my hope that the reader can begin to understand that, if they possess an emotional dependency, a mental obsession, and a phenomena of craving, then they truly are powerless over this substance/behavior. They just can’t help it. And if we are powerless, then our lives are, subsequently, out of control and unmanageable. This is the first step of the twelve step program. “We admitted we were powerless over addictions, and our lives had become unmanageable.” This is the premise behind the step. That our entire being, soul-mental, body-physical, and spirit-emotional, is completely powerless to this substance. It has complete control of our lives and is the very thing that is the most destructive force present in our lives. Only, we see it as the ultimate source of fulfillment. Because of this powerlessness, we are living a lie. The lie, that using is fulfilling our lives, and to not use would not be “living.” In fact, it is the opposite that is the truth. This dissection of powerlessness should bring one to the realization of the control that substances/behaviors have over their lives. This is the point of the first chapter. To begin to open our minds to the lie that we have bought into and to free us from the evil power that promises life but can only deliver death.

One might argue regarding powerlessness saying, “Well they just have to choose not to do it, it is a matter of will power.” This is simply not the case for addicts. With this statement, neuroscience agrees. “The effects of drugs on projections to the frontal lobes are what eventually lead to the impaired control over drug use, through a reduction of cortical decision making functions. Thus, such characteristics as ‘lack of will-power’ and ‘personal weakness’ do not play a significant role in the development of drug dependence.” (1) The brain of an addict is hardwired to eliminate the free-will. Only the absence of the substance returns the power of choice. However, many believe to not use is to live a life that is unfulfilled and boring. Addicts will not accept this proposition. Indeed, many of us who struggle with addiction have used the same “choice” argument saying, “I can quit whenever I want to but I just have chosen not to quit.” Generally this statement is made when the user is in some kind of trouble for their use and they are trying to get the attention of their use of substances. This statement is also usually followed by a “until now” proclamation by the addict. Not so, the fact that we have to defend our use declares us guilty before the world. People who don’t suffer from addiction don’t have to explain their use to the rest of the world. Only us delusional thinkers have to do this. In fact, this will be the subject of our next section, the delusionality of our own thinking.

Endnotes

1. Erickson, Carlton, “The Science of Addiction”, W.W. Norton and Company, New York and London, 2007, page 53

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