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Old 09-30-2009, 10:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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hardwired addiction?


my wife made a comment last night that made me think...thought i would share it here, don't know if it's really helpful, but its at least interesting, i think.

we were cleaning up after dinner & she mentioned that she was proud of me for not backing down on my decision to abstain from drinking indefinitely....that kind of puffed me up & i started crowing about how much better i've felt "since i stopped overindulging". she just kind of chuckled at me in that knows-me-better-than-i-know-myself way & said, "too funny. you haven't stopped overindulging...you're just overindulging in sobriety, now. it's always all or nothing with you!". i never really thought about it that way.

...and the more i cogitate on that idea, the more profound it seems. maybe i'm not an alcoholic because i crossed some invisible threshold in the sand of moderation; drank one beer too many, so to speak. maybe i'm an alcoholic because at some primitive, pre-cognitive level, i'm am just an ADDICT. addict to {fill in the blank**....doesn't matter. my hard-wired proclivity to be consumed by something just needs an acceptable focus, and *bam*...the flame catches the fuse...

so, that has me wondering: assuming that concept is true to any degree (which is a big assumption!) and that it applies to anyone other than me (another big one), could it be that sometimes, recovery fails because the addict tries to directly overcome the addiction itself? which, again assuming, would be basically impossible if the nature of addiction is pre-thought. sort of like asking a rock to better itself by trying really hard not to be a rock. and that if that's true (assumptions abound!), that recovery more often succeeds, not because addiction has been conquered or even managed, but because the addictive nature itself has been refocused on something less mortally threatening (maybe sobriety, generally speaking, or possibly God or higher power more specifically)?

i'm certainly not trying to trivialize anyone's experience, just seems like an interesting distinction to consider.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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possibly...... I don't do anything in moderation I don't think and I haven't met anybody that is/has been addicted to anything that does either. It's always full steam ahead.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Interesting.

Two questions:

1. Are you the adult child of an alcoholic parent?

2. Would you consider yourself a creative person, or an artist like a musician or similar?
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The term "hard wired" has become really popular this year
I'm not sure where it came from or if its a fact
so I don't feel I am qualified to share about it.

Perhaps this artcile has information that will interest you

How We Get Addicted - TIME

Blessings to you and your wife
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've wondered the same thing, driftwood. I'm here on SR every day, several times a day, if not all day while I'm working. I am an all-or-nothing kind of person, and when I get bored with something, I drop it and never go back.

I'm a writer, and I'm 3/4ths of the way through a novel I've been working on for two years. I've got an agent interested, and all I need to do is finish it. But now I'm so focused on sobriety, I have dropped all my writing time and don't have the motivation to go back to it right now. This happens all of the time -- I get involved in something else, and it sucks up all my extra time. I keep thinking about the first verse of that song you posted yesterday, "stay up all night,with the things you could do, you won't but you might/The potential you'll be that you'll never see ..." Argh.

I wonder if it's not addictive personalities per se, but some sort of convoluted perfectionism? Like, if I can't do X perfectly or obsessively, I'll quit and mess it all up.

But then on the other hand, if you're going to make major life changes, I think you need to submerge yourself in the changes, at least for a while. I think that's why they tell people in AA to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. It takes about six weeks to change any kind of bad habit, they say, so maybe being obsessive in the beginning is just our minds way of trying to form new, healthier habits?

I dunno. Definitely something to mull.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmm....
Quote:
Interesting.

Two questions:

1. Are you the adult child of an alcoholic parent?

2. Would you consider yourself a creative person, or an artist like a musician or similar?
I'm an alcoholic who can answer no to both of these
I also quit drinking over 20 years ago.

Also....
Quote:
I think that's why they tell people in AA to go to 90 meetings in 90 days
AA does not have 90 and 90 in their program of
recovery. While it's a good idea ...it's not AA
The program of AA is in the first 164 pages of
our book.....Alcoholics Anonymous.
Just to clarify
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getr345 View Post
Interesting.

Two questions:

1. Are you the adult child of an alcoholic parent?

2. Would you consider yourself a creative person, or an artist like a musician or similar?
Neither of my parents are alcoholic (one drinks rarely, the other not at all), but both of their fathers were heavy drinkers..

I like to think I'm pretty creative...I played guitar in several bands in my 20's, still bang around on that, mandolin, and viola. and tin whistle. and I paint. :P


CarolD - this article is great! thank you! just what i was looking for
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Not trying to generalize and no two people and their circumstances are the same but a key characteristic of Adult Children of Alcoholics is that they are very "all or nothing" oriented, and I have found that people who are artistic and who are creative tend to crave that "ah-ha" feeling/moment that comes with creativity, and sometimes they find a replacement for that feeling (or when they don't have a good outlet for their creativity) in drugs and alcohol, combine these two things and you have a recipe for addiction, dependence, and alcoholism, IMO.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I agree with your assumptions driftwood...I'm addicted to being addicted. I'm always all or nothing...I find moderation incredibly boring. Many people have told me this about myself as well so it's not just me thinking I am this way. When I don't drink/toke or smoke to access I always end up getting addicting to other things...exercise, diet and nutrition, playing guitar for hours on end...video games...reading etc. When I get interested in something I tend to focus solely on that to the exclusion of almost everything else...I become fascinated by it and need to know everything about it...but I always, invariably, become bored with it and move onto something else. Good theory.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I guess anything can be addictive - including positive things. Maybe the distinction is... certain addictions enslave us, while others, such as creativity, set us free.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Very good theory indeed. When others ask what my doc is I always say "MORE" - of anything really. Recovery can become addictive - and balance is key - but I live this program everyday - I have to in order to remain true to myself. BUT I can get too far into it and feel its taking over in an uncomfortable way. It's like anything else - exercise, diet, nutrition, etc... we can get overly obsessed. However, I do like the fact that getting overly obsessed with sobriety/recovery/healthy coping techniques allows me to live in a productive state of being - rather than a counter productive/self distructive state of being.
I think it is a shift in focus - a healthy one that is meant to be celebrated.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Penny - yeah, i know what you mean. i am so bad to spend a lot of time trying to amp up my interest in certain things, not because i'm naturally inclined to focus on them, but because i crave the feeling of being driven to do something. i want work to draw me out of bed at 4:30am, blinking and yawning but unable to stop myself....when it doesn't do that, it's almost unbearable.

mattcake - i love that idea. that is almost a koan. no, i'm sure it *is* one.

getr345 - whoa...'ah-ha' moment....don't just know what you mean, i know i chase that feeling or awareness or whatever it is. the less-than-instant instance where some connection is made, and the whole of formerly disconnected ideas or feelings forever become much, much greater than the sum of parts. the instant of creation, man.

if you tell me that you really are Mr. Hetfield, i shall scream like a leeetle girrrrl! lots of water under my bridges that had a Metallic sound track.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I am NOT Het but he is my HERO and my inspiration.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
getr345 - whoa...'ah-ha' moment....don't just know what you mean, i know i chase that feeling or awareness or whatever it is. the less-than-instant instance where some connection is made, and the whole of formerly disconnected ideas or feelings forever become much, much greater than the sum of parts. the instant of creation, man.
James talks about it here...

YouTube - JAMES HETFIELD INTERVIEW (2009)

At about the 1:10 mark...
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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driftwood, and honestly, for me, connecting with you just now provided me with that "ah-ha" feeling or the "hit" as James describes it in the video. It felt good. So, I have found that by helping others with recovery issues, and by connecting with people both here online and in the physical world, that provides a very real outlet for me in terms of my need to be creative writing and speaking, even if it's just creating an understanding between myself and somebody else who is struggling with the same issues that I am struggling with or with somebody who lacks knowledge about addiction and recovery. I think that is one reason it is so important and so valuable for people in recovery to be able to help others and see that help bear fruit. It provides a valuable outlet that might otherwise be filled by drinkin and druggin...
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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right on, brother man...i think that when 'ah-ha' happens mentally or emotionally, it's a gift, but when it happens between the identities of two people, that's love, in the most not-ridiculous or emotionally crippled way, but in the universal form, if that makes sense. Eternity (however you choose to name He/She/It) permitting us the privilege of perceiving itself in eachother. glad to know yas and catch a glimpse
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm told my first word was more.
It fits LOL.

I don't like generalisations but it is certainly true for me that I've lived my passions. good and not so good, 110%

It's just nowadays I'm getting better at focusing that energy, and doing it positively

D
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