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Don't they have a choice??

Old 10-10-2008, 09:04 AM
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Don't they have a choice??

Hi all!!

I had a question...
I was reading the new naranon book (SESH) and couldnt quite agree with someting I read.
It said that you should accept the fact that addicts use because they dont have a choice....it is a disease. They are not doing it because they want to harm anybody, they just cant help it.
I dont know if I necessarily agree with that. I mean they choose to get up and go to the bank or wherever to get the money to buy the stuff, and then no one is holding a gun to their head, so they are making the choice to use as well. And finally, they have a choice to go and get help -- although that part, im not so sure about --because if they are in such denial that they think they dont need the help, why would they go unless finally they realize how bad their lives have become.
I just find it very hard to accept when my husband uses...especially when he tells me the day before that he doesnt like it, that it only causes bad consequences and makes him depressed, and he doesnt want to die from it, and have his children to be without a father.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:08 AM
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I believe it is the addiction making the choice not the person you knew.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:09 AM
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I agree with you drainedwife. I think since it is a cognitive problem that can be cured by a cognitive method, then it is a cognitive choice if one wants to fix the problem or not.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:15 AM
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An addict while in active addiction doesn't have a choice--in my opinion....the drugs dominate their every move--it is their master in a way. But once getting clean..being off the drugs for a period of time (even a short time)--I believe they do have a choice...once the mind starts to clear.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:16 AM
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This is my take on it, as a recovering addict.

My choice is whether or not to pick up. If I choose to use, then my addiction takes over and I will not stop until I run out of money, dope, or have some huge consequence happen.

I had the same problem, when I first went to meetings, and was told I was powerless. I was furious!! I finally realized I AM powerless once I start using. However, I have the choice to use or not to use.

When I was deep into my addiction, using 24/7, that's all I wanted. It wasn't until I had some clean time, and realized that my using life wasn't really a life at all, that I made the choice not to pick up.

Don't know if this helps any, but it's how I figured it out for me.

Hugs and prayers!

Amy
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:15 AM
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Do you have a choice to stay with your husband? Do you have a choice to leave? You are super unhappy, and you say you want to leave but keep choosing to stay because you feel like you have no other choice. Just like its never a good time to leave your husband, it's never a good time to quit using drugs. Things have to get really really bad or we have to find some reason that is really really motivating. And it has to come from within. Nothing our family says or does is going to change what we are doing.

That's kind of what it's like to be an addict. Sure we say WANT to quit (just like you say you want to leave). But we still need to do the work. And until we are willing to actually do the work required to make our lives better, we won't do anything but complain about why life sucks. And then we'll go out and get high so we don't have to do anything about it.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ANGELINA243 View Post
An addict while in active addiction doesn't have a choice--in my opinion....the drugs dominate their every move--it is their master in a way. But once getting clean..being off the drugs for a period of time (even a short time)--I believe they do have a choice...once the mind starts to clear.

I like how she explained it. This is how I think it was for me.
I am HUGE on choices. My life has always been about choices.
For a time period, "I" let crystal meth take my choices away
from me, it took me a lot of time, energy and effort to learn
how to start making "MY OWN" choices again and not drug
induced choices.

At this point in time, I have the choice to use or not use meth.
I won't use it because I KNOW if I did, it would take the choice
to do another line away from me. I WOULD end up doing more,
whether or not I wanted to or not.

That's just me. :day4

:ghug2
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:41 AM
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I've had the same thoughts, drainedwife. Especially since I've had cancer myself, and have lost a mom and brother to cancer, I have a hard time accepting that addiction is a disease. But, those are probably my own hang ups- I hear "Disease," and think, "Cancer." I hear "Addiction," and think, "Choices."

I hope I'm not coming across as unempathetic to people who suffer from addiction, because I do believe as stated above that it's the addiction that takes over and a person does become powerless (just as a person with cancer), until they are lucky enough to get the proper treatment to overcome the addiction and then make the choices to keep themselves clean.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:44 AM
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Here is an excerpt from Staying Sober by Terence T. Gorski and Merlene Miller:
(emphasis- underlined by me)
The Disease of Addiction

"Addiction" is a condition in which a person develops bio-psycho-social dependence on any mood-altering substance. An addiction causes a person to use a drug for short-term gratification. But there is a price to be paid. The addiction creates long-term pain and discomfort. An addiction is accompanied by obsession, compulsion and loss of control. When not using, the person who suffers an addiction thinks about, plans, and looks forward to using again. This is obsession. Using interferes with living, but there is a compulsion or overwhelming urge to use again in spite of long-term painful consequences. The addicted person uses the drug to relieve the pain create by using the drug. Thus the continued use of the chemical leads to continued use of the chemical. This is addiction.

The choice is there for the first drink or drug, but the disease often wins when a person gets stuck in the cycle and/or refuses to address the different aspects mentioned in the above quoted material. In my experience the ones I've seen find success in recovery, have all addressed the underlined components listed above. (no matter the doc or issue)
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:48 AM
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I was thinking after reading this thread that if it was THAT easy to choose not to drink/drug, this site would not exist.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:25 AM
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I think it's a brain thing.
IMO....
The choice is there to pick up the first hit, or bottle, and after that the choice is gone.

Even when their intentions are good.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:45 PM
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So i think i get it now...its such a hard disease to comprehend ....
So when he says it is honorable for him to risk his health (by using) in order to support his family.....he really believes this because it is the drugs talking, or his addict brain talking...and the same thing when he says that god says its ok and he forgives him.....
I just need to realize this, accept it, and stop trying to reason with him..

I think that is part of my problem, i cant accept that i no longer have a partner that i can talk to and who actually hears what i am saying.....I keep thinking it is going to get better...that he will never let it get so bad that he will loose his job, or get arrested, (i know he cant control either one.....) but i think it is part of why i stay....i think i am having trouble with acceptance because he is somewhat functioning (in that he has kept his job and sometimes does things with the kids, and does family things)....
I keep trying to talk to him, trying to get through to him, but what i dont seem to get is that he cant even hear me-----his brain is so messed up, its like he cant control his own thinking...its so sad.....i hate this disease.

Maybe once i start to accept the facts, then i can move ahead with my life......i mean this can go on for years and years, where he is semi-functioning...but i still wont have a partner...and its just not fair.....he did make that first choice to use right? and just because he cant control it now, it is not my obligation because i married him to live with someone not emotionally available to me, or who is using a dangerous substance and even bringing it into our house.......

Now what about ...in sickness and in health???...it is a sickness...but is it different because of that first decision to use???
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by drainedwife View Post
So i think i get it now...its such a hard disease to comprehend ....
So when he says it is honorable for him to risk his health (by using) in order to support his family.....he really believes this because it is the drugs talking, or his addict brain talking...and the same thing when he says that god says its ok and he forgives him.....
I just need to realize this, accept it, and stop trying to reason with him..
He says this because it rationizes to HIM why he uses, I consider it quacking.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:58 PM
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Drained you are right on with that post.

Using drugs makes us clinically insane. Our brains do not function right. Our thought processes are all screwed up. They can prove this with MRIs of the brain. It is a medical fact. And even if we stay clean 2 or 3 days or a week, the damage is done. It takes months and months for our brains to go back to nearly normal (hopefully). In fact, my brain will NEVER be normal because I activated that "addiction gene" in my brain by using drugs. So my "disease" may be in recession, but it will never go away. I will always be prone to exhibiting addict behaviors. I have to stay away from substances.

Sure God forgives him. But that doesn't make what he is doing right. That's the drug talking. Trying to legitimize the use. But we know that's crazy talk. Don't we? The fact is all he wants to do is drugs and he will do anything to ensure he can continue to use. It may be that the only that will stop him is prison or losing his job or getting arrested.

Honey, what are YOU going to do WHEN that happens? You don't have to wait until then to stop this. You can do something now to prevent further damage to yourself and your children.

Somewhat functioning, somewhat sane. That's really no life at all. For you. Or for your children.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:21 PM
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you deserve better.
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Old 10-10-2008, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by drainedwife View Post
So i think i get it now...its such a hard disease to comprehend ....
So when he says it is honorable for him to risk his health (by using) in order to support his family.....he really believes this because it is the drugs talking, or his addict brain talking...and the same thing when he says that god says its ok and he forgives him.....
I just need to realize this, accept it, and stop trying to reason with him..
I used to believe that way kind of... That I couldn't work without doing meth.
I didn't think of myself as "Honorable" I thought of myself as being trapped, as pretty pathetic. But it is what I believed.
I sure did NOT believe God thought it was okay, or anything of the sort, I believed I was living in the Devils land...

You are right just because he believes thå† does not mean you have to join in on that thinking. And if you do, you are just confirming his beliefs..

You know better... and you deserve better..
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:44 PM
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I think that my ah has to view it that way also, because he cannot think bad of himself...it would just kill him...he has to think that it is okay, and "honorable", because otherwise he wouldnt be able to live with himself. I believe his thinking is "addictive" but also part of his charachter flaws because he cant take responsibility for the things that he does (like using), because again, that would be too much for him to deal with. he has to keep telling himself he is a good person, and he has to keep telling himself that god forgives him.
He would never think that he is pathetic or living in devils land..i dont know, maybe it is somewhat narcacisstic.(?????) in that he just cant look at himself ....or is it simply an addicts way of thinking???
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:02 PM
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It is simply an addicts way of thinking - justification. DENIAL
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:03 AM
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i never got into any drugs, DW, but i know i always felt really guilty after a night of binge drinking. i did not even try to justify anything to myself or condone it within my own mind. i knew getting drunk and acting crazy and not remembering stuff was not acceptable behavior. i think personality types have a lot to do with this question you pose. some people simply cannot handle criticism, whether it comes from their own conscience or other people.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Done-With-It View Post
I used to believe that way kind of... That I couldn't work without doing meth.
When I first learned how to shoot pool it was always with music playing so my brain adjusted to the association. I was young and barely tall enough to see over the table. When I got older and started smoking, I needed music and cigarettes, too. A few more years and I was in bars, so I needed music, cigs, and a shot of tequila followed by a few beers.

Then when I quit smoking the first time, it meant no alcohol because then I'd want to smoke. I gave up pool for a while until I felt ready to face it and I was fine, as long as I had my first association - music. I don't know if I'll ever be able to overcome that one. Good thing my livelihood doesn't depend on it.

Speaking of smoking, it was my choice to pick up after quitting for a few years. I remember standing there at the counter, fidgeting because I knew I was about to screw up buying that first pack. But I did it anyway and it's back to the drawing board. I don't dread withdrawals, it's only 3 days. Once I get past that I don't go back, I know it's all psychological not physical. What I dread is having to adjust all my habits and routines again.
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