Addiction and The Myth that You Have No Choice

addiction-and-the-myth-that-you-have-no-choice

There are common myths about addiction that can be confusing and even destructive. One of the myths is that addiction is a brain disease that leaves you with little choice.

In any addiction, any obsessive behavior and your most difficult habits you have at least four choices that you can make (I credit Russ Harris, PhD for the idea behind the four choices, which he calls the Resilience Formula):

You may not like the choices that you have, but in any situation, you have at least four choices: leave, stay and improve and live more and more by your values, stay and accept, stay and just give up.

1.You can leave.

This may feel like running away or avoidance. But sometimes a valid choice is to get away from it all. You can move, you can quit a job that is a big trigger, you can just drop friendships that drag you down. You may feel like this is a hard choice but sometimes you have two hard choices and you pick the best one for you. Most times, though, leaving only takes the problems with you.

2.You can stay and work at it, and try to live more (and more) in line with your values.

You can stay and work to improve a little bit, every day. Take it one day at a time. Admit your mistakes. Identify your values. Set small goals. Be honest about your pain. Get some therapy and other forms of support. Make a contribution to your relationships and to your workplace. Begin to have hope again. Learn to tolerate anxiety and frustration without giving in to your triggers. Pray and meditate and deepen your soul.

3.You can stay and practice acceptance.

Acceptance is not apathy. Apathy can devastate your health and your mental health, but acceptance can be the beginning of change. You can learn to accept and become at peace with what you cannot change. Maturity comes when we accept our limitations.

4.You can stay and give up.

You have the choice to stay and continue to live an unhealthy, and destructive life. Stay, give up and give in. Coast, stay stuck and do nothing to change yourself or your circumstances. If you don’t work at it, you are guaranteed that your life will never improve.

You may not like the choices that you have, but in any situation, you have at least four choices: leave, stay and improve and live more and more by your values, stay and accept, stay and just give up.

If you enjoyed this article, you will enjoy some of my other writings:

Apathy Will Damage Your Health, But Do You Really Care?

Do You Really Have an Addictive Personality?

The 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery: Recovery is Within Your Grasp

I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing.

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Keep it Real

Photo by Abe Novy

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