HOW ADDICTION WORKS (part IV of V)
How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.
—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Conscious and Subconscious
The conscious mind makes up 12 percent of our thinking and emoting.
The remaining 88 percent is regulated by the subconscious.
The conscious mind is shallow and simple, whereas the subconscious mind is vast, deep, and complex.
The conscious mind goes dormant when we sleep, but the subconscious works 24-7,
always active and busy
(dreaming, processing, and the like).
The conscious mind can only hold one thought or emotion at a time,
while the subconscious can multitask.
The conscious mind is easily overwhelmed by stress and information,
whereas the subconscious has a seemingly infinite capacity.
Project Addiction Solution teaches you how to get the SUBconscious to work FOR you instead of against!
John Kappasstated that the conscious mind has a limited capacity for what he called “message units.” A message unit is something a person is hearing, reading, sensing, feeling, and so on. At any given moment, we are inundated with thousands of message units, from the words on this page to the temperature of the room to the sound of a dog or a siren outside. Let’s say the conscious mind’s maximum capacity is ten trillion message units. Once you hit ten trillion and one, you overload. This means you get tired and want to go to sleep; essentially, the conscious mind begins to power down. The process of dreaming vents unnecessary message units, making room for more.
If you get overwhelmed by message units by getting too many in a single waking period (ten trillion and one), you experience stress. Stress causes the conscious mind to shut down. Some departments shut down before others, just as a home’s electric panel blows breakers when it’s overloaded.
It takes a lot of conscious willpower for an addict to abstain from drugs, which fatigues the conscious mind. Add in other life stressors and the pressure becomes too much, causing fuses to blow. The willpower to abstain from drugs is no longer available—the breakers are blowing.
The subconscious regulates and controls our behaviors. I know you want to believe that you are the master of your own destiny, but even the shoes you wear were chosen by your subconscious mind more than your conscious mind.
Absolutely all of our behaviors, especially the habitual ones, have come about through subconscious conditioning. Upon analysis of these likes or dislikes, we can gain access to the reasoning of the subconscious, but without analysis the subconscious continues to influence us from the background. This means that if we are going to succeed at changing any behavior, we must do so on a subconscious level.
True, in order for you to change something about yourself, you must first become consciously aware of it. But if simply deciding were enough, we would all be perfect, wouldn’t we? Real success will take place only when we convince the subconscious to support the change. To do that, we must apply the pleasure principle, for we can only learn new behaviors—like sobriety—through repetition and association. A new behavior can only become part of our character or personality the same way all other behaviors did—through repetition. We must consciously reinforce the positive association.
This means that if we are going to succeed at changing any behavior we must do it on a subconscious level.
The Conscious and Subconscious
If you think we’re going to make a conscious choice to change your thinking you’re going to be sadly disappointed.
In order for you to change something about yourself you must first become consciously aware of it.
If we are able to gain awareness we must next make a conscious decision to change it,
but if simply consciously deciding were enough we would all be perfect, wouldn’t we!?
The moment you make a conscious decision to change a familiar behavior the subconscious creates denial mechanisms to keep you from doing it (to protect what’s familiar).
Real success will take place only when we convince the subconscious to support the change in the programming!
To do that we must apply the Pleasure-Principle as
we can only learn new behaviors (like sobriety) through repetition and association!
A new behavior will only become a part of our character or personality the same way all the others did:
By doing it over and over again (repetition),
but now we will have to consciously reinforce the association that it is a “good” thing (association).
Addicts become addicted to more than just the substances they abuse.
Over time, being an addict creates a deep sense of self-loathing and low self-esteem.
Between society’s judgmental attitude,
lack of tolerance,
lack of understanding,
addicts’ beliefs that they’re not strong enough or good enough to stop,
and the constant yo-yo effect of feeling high and then low,
addicts start to get very familiar with feeling like f——ups.
Remember that the subconscious applies pressure to sustain anything that is familiar.
Addicts become addicted to self-loathing,
the secretive lifestyle,
the ritual of getting high,
getting high too!
Almost everything about addicts becomes part of the addiction.
It becomes part of addicts’ identities and familiar to such an extent that they don’t know who they are—
or would be or could be—
The sober life is such unfamiliar territory that addicts’ minds reject it.
Addicts can imagine sober life as being a good life, but this is such unfamilar territory that it is abstract and remote—
it’s not real.
The concept of predisposition is widely debated in the recovery field.
Predisposition is the idea that addiction is in some way hereditary.
It is entirely possible that someone might someday find a so-called addict gene in the human genome that confirms a genetic predisposition to addiction.
Or is it behavioral; that is, psychological?
Frankly, the point is somewhat irrelevant.
Ultimately it makes no difference if there’s a genetic predisposition or how addiction got there;
all that matters is what one does about it.
How Addiction Works part III will expose the truth abour addiction cues, commonly known as “triggers”.
- How identify them
- Avoid them
- Live with them…
Pretty important stuff no matter what our addiction is—shopping, heroin, sex or video games…