Free Will: Don’t Doubt Yourself

When you’re addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, or sex you’ve probably been told that addiction trumps free will. After all in many models of recovery it’s taught that you must give yourself over to a higher power because you are powerless against addiction. Researchers are starting to question that model though, suggesting that people have more free will than they are lead to believe.

Addiction is nothing to be ashamed of, it is a disease of the mind. But let’s take a quick look into ourselves right now. If you were once addicted or you’re still struggling with addiction today and you feel powerless, ask yourself these questions,

-          At the peak of your addiction, would you take drugs or alcohol in front of a police officer in front of a police station, knowing that you’d be caught or arrested?
-          During your addiction, did you ever hold down a job, go to school, or otherwise hold off drug/alcohol use during any time frame of the day for any reason or another?

If you answered no to the first question or yes to the second question, then you should know these are choices of free will. We’re not saying free will alone would have stopped your addiction dead in it’s tracks, just that you shouldn’t feel completely powerless. Give yourself some credit, you may not be perfect and you may not have the best coping skills yet but what you do have is free will.

In recovery, you’re going to learn how to reign in that power and make those tough choices. Everytime you get a craving and want to use but you don’t, you’ve exercised that same free will. Everytime you’re feeling down, lost or lonely and the pull to use comes bubbling to the surface but you go to a meeting, talk to a friend, or find something else to do, you’re exercising free will.

You’ve got it in you, you just have to practice and learn how to use your power, so never doubt yourself.

Areas-Holmblad, L. “Lack of Belief in Free Will May Undermine Addiction Treatment”. Addiction Now. (website). August 2017
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