Addiction and Control

July 12th, 2015   •   Comments Off on Addiction and Control   

Addiction has many roots. Control is one problem. Because we like to get what we want (control), we all struggle with addictive behavior to varying degrees.

This internal voice drives the behavior, “I want what I want when I want it.” When we feel powerless, or out-of-control at some level, we take control in some other way to feed our desire for control.

It may be substances (alcohol, drugs, tobacco), sex, food, religion, work, and anything that can be controlled. Addictions can be in opposite extremes: money (gambling & shopping or greed & stealing), food (obesity or anorexia), relationships (domineering or withdrawal), stuff (hoarding or perfect order).

Control is the problem. The problem or disease or whatever we call it is a problem, but it’s not the problem. Yes, the control problem has further roots as well, which is why a person who stops their addictive behavior still has problems.

Making it more complex, addiction is an illusion of control; it’s counter-intuitive. As addictions worsen, life spins out-of-control, and brings more powerlessness in consequences of money, legal, health, relationships, etc.

Addiction moves us toward less control, powerlessness, which drives us to want yet more control. Strategies to increase control of the addictive behavior or person are ineffective. Since the problem is counter-intuitive, so is the solution.

Strategies to understand what we can and can’t control is the solution. It is a continual growth process to increase insight and skill in recognizing and responding to life. It is freedom. It is peace.