instinct, without conscious thought

A great description of addiction:

If you never find your drug of choice, a dirty band-aid to the gaping wound of neurochemical imbalance, then perhaps you’ll never find addiction. For most of us, it isn’t worth the experiment to know. For others, it starts out innocently, by becoming too reliant on pain pills prescribed by a doctor after an accident. Would you be “better” with a neurochemical enhancement? I’ve been to rehab facilities and have seen good people lose their livelihoods, children and everything they hold dear. And thus, I ask: how could you say it’s not chemistry? How could you say it’s choice? Choice to feel robbed of free will? Choice to be dependent?

For addicts, it’s never over. A structure in the reptilian or old brain, the amygdala, causes the addict to crave a drug when she recognizes people, places, situations or patterns with which she’s previously used. It’s instinct, without conscious thought. Consider this: if you’re drowning, you’ll push up for air. So will an addict, only her air is a drug.

3 thoughts on “instinct, without conscious thought

  1. What a defeatist and biologically-determinist outlook! We (homo sapiens) have also evolved a higher brain where, yes, conscious “choice” is a crucial factor and psycho-social experiences (especially in formative years) can alter brain chemistry. I know, from my own and others’ experiences, that you have to make a conscious choice to begin & sustain recovery from addiction.
    You’re right, once it becomes (if not already) “hard-wired”, “it’s never over”. But you can begin to recover, with support, and we can continue to “get over it” whilst still being able to have a life.
    You wanna be a reptile all your life? well, snake it baby, but you can do a whole lot better as a whole, rounded, mature & self-insightful human being.

    1. I’m not sure I took her statements the same way you did.

      I didn’t take them to mean that we’re doomed. Rather a description of how our will gets co-opted by addiction and what we’re up against when we try to recover or help others recover.

      Do you have a different view of the nature of addiction? Or, was your concern that it sounded too damning?

      Thanks for the comment!

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