Many people have the opportunity to look back at choices in their lives with great regret and wish that they had never done certain things but none seem to have such an afforded opportunity to do so as that of the addict, who often is left feeling as if their choices are destined to repeat themselves. Although the fear is possible it is also far from the truth. it is true that the past can often be a predictor of future, but it by no means dictates it.
The reason for the misguided thought of such malice destiny most certainly is connected to the very nature of addiction itself. Addiction has two undeniable effects on its host which would lead to this sense of hopelessness. The first is the creation of a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion for the addict to submit to his or her addictive behavior and the second is its cunning and unnoticed control over the addict’s thoughts and actions putting them in a state familiar to that of autopilot like a bird that is guided by instinct to fly south for the winter. These effects appear to make the challenge of change impossible, creating an aura of doom that surrounds the addict despite their heartfelt intention to change the path that they are on and follow new direction but desire does not provide hope in this conflictive situation.
Addiction, like nothing other than coercive force or blackmail has the ability to put individuals into situations that they never otherwise would choose to be in. The descent from normalcy may start small with the use of a lie that guards an addict’s family from the disturbing truth that someone in whom the love is sick. It soon progresses to be a bit more intensive such as when a once law abiding citizen who is now addicted finds themselves stealing the change from the cup holder of an occupied customer of a shopping center or the checkbook from their mother’s bureau. The extreme nature of addiction is evident as the teen male who, years ago, swore to his buddies that he would never even kiss another male for a million dollars finds himself as an addicted adult performing oral sex on another man for twenty dollars, a 10 dollar profit from his usual take. This all simply demonstrates the progressive and manipulative nature of the addictions drive to be fulfilled by its host.
As far as the shame and guilt that could be associated with these acts, that is objective, to be weighed and felt only by the host, the pawn, the addict, being that his or her addiction itself has no remorse and is incapable of feeling. The regret, no matter how it resides, whether it be strong or not at all, has but only four potential outcomes on the future choices of the addict who may have such feelings but virtually no effect on the addiction itself. The first of the reactions is that of the addict who finds themselves surprisingly comfortable with their choice to deter from formal moral and value based behavior. Second, is the addict who feels regret but sees no other option but to proceed with such behavior in the future in order to protect themselves and/or others from the malevolent possibilities that there addiction could bring to them, choosing what appears to be a lesser of many evils. Third, we find the addict who has hit such a low and feeling so out of control that they hopelessly submit to their addiction’s manipulative tendencies but in the same right we find the fourth possibility, often referred to as an addicts “rock bottom” which provides just enough disruption to the addicts normal tendencies to motivate them to make a legitimate attempt to change but sadly often results in relapse, perpetuating the aforementioned sense of hopelessness. Once again desire does not create hope. We see that when the addict fails in their past attempts to recovery they often are led to believe that the past will repeat itself during the insidious cycle of their addiction, an unavoidable damnation. Despite the convincing evidence that the addiction provides the perceived destiny is only as true as the addictions ability to convince the addict it is. Being that an addiction, like any other disease, is aggressive in nature but also unable to have a will of its own, the perception is a fraudulent manipulation of self perceived facts. The past may be often able to predict the future but it does and cannot, in anyway, dictate it.
Reviewing the presented conditions of the addiction found above we find more than a few roadblocks to change and worse yet, hope. Those blocks being, fear, compulsion, a cunning and unnoticed ability to control its host, an aura of doom, coercion, a subtle but progressive descent from normalcy, a manipulative nature, a provision of shame and guilt, a lack of remorse, a deterrence from moral and value based behaviors, a projected lack of options, an insidious nature and a most debilitating sense of hopelessness itself. The list is intensive and could be overwhelming if perceived as the truth which is quite different than it actually is. Dissecting and meticulously observing the addictions previously mentioned conditions leads to an understanding that it is not at all as fortified as it appears.
To begin, the fear it creates is simply a reaction to the concepts that are soon to be mentioned and could be alleviated after proper understanding. As in most situations, whether it be addiction or not, fear is created by misunderstandings and general ignorance. Compulsion seems to be a admirable foe but what does it really mean? It is often defined as an irresistible impulse to act and that sounds devastating if not for the word impulse located between the words irresistible and act. So what creates hope from the word impulse? Well impulse is defined as a sudden wish or urge that prompts an unpremeditated act or feeling and a wish or urge can be arrested just as an act or feeling that is unpremeditated can be meditated post its immersion. Quite simply, the compulsion can be fought and subdued regardless of its intensity after it presents itself.
The addiction also presents a cunning and unnoticed ability to control. Just as a magician fools his audience by creating an illusion of image and then suddenly makes it disappear so too does an addiction with its presentation of thought and control. The addiction in reality can not think and thus is unable to actually be cunning and with that its ability to control is in fact unnoticed because it actually does not exist. The truth that is less apparent during active addiction is that the only thoughtful and controlling force acting upon the life of the addict is his own. He, like his impulse, although with difficulty, can be controlled by choice. This of course is not a easy as it sound and may require a single fleeting but substantial choice to enter a treatment center or seek medication (two of many options…that’s right, options). This argument by no means should dilute its observer as one of ease but rather of possibility.
After defeating the notions of the controlling impulse and cunning persuasions from addiction it is simple to expel the rest of its debilitating elements. Lets begin with its aura of doom. It is not as thick once the truth of viable options are revealed and its descent from normalcy is also stunted with the slightest action to accept just one option. Suddenly its coercion appears to be the illusion it is and at best is presents as a desperate plea for sustainability. Remorse, shame, guilt, morality, and value all belong to the addicted individual not the addiction itself so they can not be given nor taken away by the addiction or its promoted behaviors despite how hard people have tried to make it so and finally with the truth shining brightly upon the plight of addiction it can no longer be so insidious that it creates a sense of hopelessness condemned by a lack of options. If there is just one viable option the cycle can be abandoned and the future is not a victim of its past thus leaving it with no ability for its course to be guaranteed by it.
Recovery is not only a fortune upon the recovered it is also a possibility for those who need it. A wise man once said, “You never fail until you stop trying”. That man was Albert Einstein but it does not take a genius to find hope rather it takes only someone who is willing to look around.
With all that was said within the content of this argument two ideas speak more truth than any of the others. The future is one’s own and the slightest bit of hope can seed its possibility to spring forth growth. Now whether that hope is to appease the growth of an addiction or to blossom a recovery from it is up to addict who holds it but nonetheless it does exist and both the past and the future have absolutely nothing to do with it.