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Two Causes of Addictions

Attachment to desire is the problem


Fighting an Addiction Is Feeding that Addiction

  • Garbage Rules will prod you to face your self-defeating thinking that’s keeping you addicted.
  • Ego will help you to understand and overcome the underlying problem in your addiction.

“Vices are never genuinely tamed.” —Seneca


  • 2 CAUSES OF ADDICTION


First Cause of Addiction: Trying to Stop Desire

Addiction often occurs when you desire to end an urge, hunger, or appetite—because such a desire will only feed the urge, hunger, or appetite.

Desire versus desire feeds both desires.

  • A simple way to understand this fact is that, “What you resist persists.”
  • To understand how a desire to end something can cause an addiction to it over time, read Not.

Second Cause of Addiction: Trying to Fix Pain

Addiction occurs when you seek to control or change pain with pleasure. A distraction that you normally use to get away from your pain for a while will turn into an addiction once you start to use that distraction to fix the pain rather than to just avoid or escape the pain.

A distraction such as Internet surfing, shopping, eating, drinking, sexing, drugging, gambling, smoking, working, coffee drinking, etc., can work to avoid or escape pain for a while. While you might certainly be abusing or misusing an activity at that point, merely using an activity to escape or avoid pain will not lead to an addiction.

  • However, if you take that same behavior and use it to fix, solve, control, or change your pain—then that behavior or activity will become an addiction.

This crucial distinction needs to be understood in concrete or practical terms. If you carry your pain into the activity, then that is a sign that that activity is or will likely become an addiction.

If you leave your pain behind when you use that activity, then that is a sign that you are using that activity to cope with pain by distracting yourself from it. While the activity may still be unhealthy, it is not an addiction at that point but only a coping strategy.


Example: Fixing Pain with Pleasure Loop

It is a known fact that if you let a horse, it will eat itself to death. When a horse is eating itself to death, the horse is getting both pleasure and pain signals. The pain signals from its swollen belly eventually become stronger than the pleasure signals from its tongue.

  • However, the horse tries to fix the pain with the pleasure and so compulsively eats until it drops dead.

This is also seen in birds who gorge themselves on insects when there is, for example, a plague of locusts. The horse and birds are using the cause of the pain as the cure for the pain so die. In much the same way, the addict eventually winds up leading a miserable life yet still continues to use the drug or behavior that is causing the miserable life as the cure.


Summary: Distraction Not Control

A distraction is just that when you use it to escape or avoid pain for a while. This is a useful coping strategy that we all use and need sometimes. Clearly, it is not a great strategy in that distraction does not remove the pain.

Distraction merely serves to give us a break from the pain for awhile. However, when you use a distraction to somehow modify a pain, then that distraction will become an addiction.

  • Addiction is when you try to fix pain with pleasure.

Related Pages

  1. 8 Thinking Skills for Detaching
  2. Blame Issues: List of Pages
  3. Coping Skills: Weakness Is Strength
  4. Deconstructivism: The Answer
  5. Use Negation, Not Destruction
  6. What Is Thinking Good For?

QUOTATIONS VARIOUS SOURCES

Organized Alphabetically

“And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.” —Luke 12:22

“Correct it or accept it.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Detach with love.” —Al-Anon

“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.” —Chuang-Tzu

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.” —Anonymous

“I’ve developed a new philosophy–I only dread one day at a time.” —Charlie Brown

“Recovery does not take care of itself no matter how old it is.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Recovery is the process of recovering who you were as a child.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Recovery requires conquering the seven-headed dragon: physical, mental, emotional, social, motivational, renewal, spiritual.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery.” —Matthew Arnold

“Suffering isn’t ennobling, recovery is.” —Christian Barnard

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” —Matthew 6:34

“The attitude of unconditional self-acceptance is probably the most important variable in their long-term recovery.” —Albert Ellis, Rational-Emotive Therapy with Alcoholics and Substance Abusers, page 71

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.” —Mark Twain

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” —Matthew 6:25

“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” —Buddha

“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

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