Letting go of the chains
Rethinking the cause of addictions by Gary Craig
Addictions are a mystery to most professionals. Addicted people come to them for help and want….really want….to be free of their addiction. But despite their good intentions and despite spending a great deal of time and money, they usually revert to their former behavior.
And even when someone kicks one addiction they somehow manage to pick up another in its place. Most people who give up cigarettes, for example, usually gain weight because they substitute food for cigarettes. Likewise, people who get beyond alcohol often revert to heavy uses of cigarettes and coffee. In these cases the addiction is not overcome….it is merely shifted. The reason for the poor performance of most addiction treatments is that they do not address the true cause!!! If they did, people would not need to substitute one addiction for another.
So what is the true cause of addictive behavior? Let’s start by listing what it is not. It is not what conventional methods have tried to make it for many decades. For example:
- It is not a bad habit.
- It is not inherited.
- It is not because it runs in the family.
- It is not because the addict is weak.
- It is not a lack of will power.
In my experience, these “causes” are put forth because they seem to be explanations for this unwanted behavior. There seems to be some logic in them and that, of course, is why they are pursued. However, they all have one thing in common…a poor record for relieving someone of their addiction. What is needed here is the true cause….not a list of seem-to-be’s.
The true cause of all addictions is anxiety….an uneasy feeling that is temporarily masked, or tranquilized, by some substance or behavior.