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Modeling addiction

Old 06-06-2013, 12:15 PM
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Modeling addiction

We all are searching for answers,to addiction pain past and present.
This website is an excellent resource,I have learned,for what I call
modeling addiction.

Modeling is just that.A working diagram that attempts to explain
observed behavior,useful only in predicting future events-----and having
no intrinsic value in and of itself (e.g. when a model stops working,
toss it & find a new model.)

The cortex is what makes us human.When a shark attacks you while
surfing,it didn't brood over the moral implications.It didn't decide to attack
at this beach or that beach based on socio-economic factors or consider that
eating THIS human is any more desirable than eating THAT human.In fact,
in its simple mind,you looked like a (tasty!) seal because you were wearing a
wetsuit.

It didn't care.

That's where the big disconnect between THEIR actions and OUR
feelings comes in.The proto/reptilian inner brain that our outer brain is wrapped
around "cares" about only one thing......dopamine.

All it knows or cares about is seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.All the
sophisticated machinations of the upper order is a complete non sequitor to
this pleasure seeking/pain avoiding biochemical computer.

It's been a long journey for me,and a big realization was that none of
the disappointment,hurt feelings,feelings of injustice-----were ever appropriate
in any way, shape, or form.

Every time you want to "get mad" at an addict,or feel hurt or taken
advantage of........just remember that person no longer has the very essense
that we humans treasure most----but is only a slave to those proto subconscious
urges (far below reasoned thought but able to override it) that even THEY have
very little hope of understanding, let alone controlling.

Disease/choice is as pointless a waste of time as nature/nurture.To even
begin to think that this could be neatly reduced to a binary argument is to
misunderstand it to the point of perfect non comprehension.

The model I am forming to complete my visit to this particular genre
of the human condition must remain one of compassion.Regret for a lost soul
and so much pointless and needless misery.Scars that will negatively influence
their families for generations------all of it borne of one catastrophically poor
decision.

Followed by the flawed egotistical one.....of refusing to correct it before
the very mechanism of decision making itself ......is fatally compromised.

I wish she didn't take that fork in the road.I wish her life had been
more than just a horriffic cautionary tale.

Wishing gets a bad rap.The proto-brain can't wish.So if you find
yourself wishing-----be grateful for the privilege.

Not everyone gets to.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:15 PM
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Thank you, Vale, I was just thinking about the reptile brain as I was taking a beautiful drive through the countryside this morning. It must have just set my mind on "primitive" which led to "primitive addict brain." I am often trying to understand the science behind addiction, and this morning I was asking, "Why does the primitive brain overtake the higher brain in addiction?" I know about all the extra dopamine receptors which grow as a result of drug abuse. I know that their "hunger" for dopamine compels the addict to compulsively seek the drug that satisfies those receptors. But the switch being completely thrown from higher brain to lower brain...the door shutting behind the addict and locking him or her into that lower brain....the science of it is confusing to me. If you know of a very good article about this, I'd appreciate a link.

I just have to add one more thought to the thread. Often I hear people say, "Underneath the addiction, addicts are really lovable and wonderful people."

I think language like that is a set-up for relationship disaster. "Underneath" an addiction may be a pathological narcissist. Or a predator of any variety. A sociopath. A rapist. A pathological liar. A child abuser. A maniac. It seems to me dangerously naive to say that the individual is a train wreck because of addiction but sober the individual will be compassionate and ethical. (You didn't say that, but often I hear people say that in various ways).

It seems so classically codependent to me, that kind of language about who is "underneath" the addiction. Still projecting goodness onto people, still getting conned too many times.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by EnglishGarden View Post
Often I hear people say, "Underneath the addiction, addicts are really lovable and wonderful people."

"Underneath" an addiction may be a pathological narcissist. Or a predator of any variety. A sociopath. A rapist. A pathological liar. A child abuser. A maniac. It seems to me dangerously naive to say that the individual is a train wreck because of addiction but sober the individual will be compassionate and ethical.
^^^^ Really excellent point.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:04 PM
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Vale/EGarden, those are great points.

I wondered if you were going to say making models of addiction is an addiction. *shrug* I've spent too much time thinking about what makes my A tick. Yea, we can't figure it out, but addicts can produce very revealing, vivid pictures on their exterior.

It is sad to think how much damage has been done physically and what might be underneath their baser parts.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:13 PM
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EG & Baloo....

A fascinating spin. We DON'T know who is underneath, what the real
content of their personality inventory is, do we?

And so we PROJECT who we WANT to be there,and make our decisions
accordingly.Often time I (as are we all) taken aback by an extraordinarily
hard sales push.No offense,many make their living in sales and it is an
honorable and necessary societal function. But the perennial "Would I lie
to you" occasionally appears as a nuclear adjunct to the usual 'dance'.

Some find it rude to reply: " I met you 3 minutes ago----how could I
possibly be expected to vouch for your honesty/character?"

It's truthful,but considered unfair in the 'dance hall'.

It's not.The truest thing I have found in life is: the best predictor of future
performance is past performance.Depending on their circumstances,people have
very valid reasons to love that fact or hate it.

We don't know WHO they are,or were,or will (or won't)be.My deepest and most
closely held belief is that the addict I cared about was deeply scarred by
unspeakable events within her own family as her very personality was forming.

Quite by accident she volunteered data that (to put it mildly) made my blood
run cold.How to put this as euphemistically as possible?......No.......I'm not even
going to allude to it.Suffice to say when it was dropped into casual conversation
I knew in the space of a hummingbirds wingbeat just HOW far out of my depth
I was.......and that I had no competence,wish,or reason to do anything but initiate
emergency egress from dark places I do not belong.

Three time violent convicted felon......but a heart of gold? Think again.

The most dangerous thing a human being can do is ignore reality.I did it and it was a very,
very dangerous thing to do. That I navigated it to conclusion without serious life damage is
temptation to pat myself on the back----and a trap laid by fate for the egotistical.

I was lucky.That's it.

The race does not always go to the swift......but that's the way to bet.That the house
of addiction always wins is a tenet without exception.That house is not my friend-----I am
a working man with a fantastic wife,life,family,and future.

But in summary, we don't really KNOW what's in Pandora's box before we open
it,do we? That therein lies a heart of gold is indeed a possibility-

---like winning the lotto.

Fun if it happens,but don't plan on doing it for a living.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:30 PM
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EG,

You may want to check out some studies by George Vaillant at Harvard.

"Addiction resides in what is often referred to as our reptilian brain, and—well, alligators don’t come when they’re called.”
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:34 PM
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Cynical,

THAT'S funny!
They don't come when called!

(but sometimes they show up when you DIDN'T call......and you end up
minus a leg!)


I think next time I'll save a buck or two and just order the "Complete
works of Godzilla" on Netflix......and watch those lizards tear the crap out of
downtown Tokyo..... and each other!! I know,I know----some of them were
so low budget you could see the zippers on the monster costumes....but
UNLIKE addiction,when I get sick of it I just press the OFF button on
my remote..... don't have to change my phone number!
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