The Addiction Brain

Drug addiciton affects everyone. Whether it be in their family, within the circle of friends, or encounters with an addict on the street. Alcohol, amphetamines, opiods are the first to come to mind when mentioning addiction. But when do we go beyond that conversation. Help for recovery is more accessable than ever, and today drug addiction is becoming less and less stigmatized due to honest conversation and overwhelming attention media focus’s on musicians and movie stars who end up in rehab, in the hospital, or even dead.

But why isn’t there more discussion on the bioligical phenomena of addiciton itself? Every day people are exposed to the tasy pastries sitting in the glass shelf of the coffee shop. Deserts are strategically placed at every corner of grocery stores just in case you fought off the urge when you first walked in – give it time – twenty minutes of loading fresh groceries in your cart that you’ve made a conscious effort to buy isn’t easy. Go ahead, treat yourself to those $5 box of chocolate chip cookies on your way out.

Okay, maybe sugar cravings is to obvious. The whole world knows America has an eating problem. I won’t even get into the addiction we have with technology – that’s a blog we can save for another time.

Any action we carry through over and again inadvertently has the potential to become an addiction. Though repition, for instance, isn’t inherently negative. Picking up your guitar to practice without thinknig about it could make you one hell of a guitar player. However, grabbing your xbox controller to get down on some Madden when you have dishes to do, dinner to cook, and clothes to set out for work in the morning can cause conflict; an argument with your lover at the least.

It seems that no matter who you are or where you’re from, becoming addicted to something is apart of life we all deal with. Noticing your addiciton, better yet, taking control of it may buy you time with friends, or at the most extreme incidences, save your life. So how do we talk about addiction if the consequences aren’t as obvious to us as emptying your savings account for an all-nighter?

Recognising that we as humans aren’t as enlightened as we once thought. It’s no coinsedence that church is the most popular among rehab communities. For a lot of non-believers or folks who didn’t grow up in a religious household, going to church is simply out of question. You’d have to hit rock bottom to name Jesus Christ as your savior, but it is extremely common. We are not in control of our behavior like we want to believe.

Another avenue for addicts is to change their drug of choice, i.e, extreme hobbies, high levels of exercise, meditation – activity that requires complete control and attention – it’s being mindful. The first thing meditators notice when they start the prcatice is that their mind doesn’t have a moment of silence. We have an estimated 70,000 thoughts every day. How many of those thoughts are productive, if any? What are the odds that you are in control of every one of those thoughts?

There’s not an enlighted monk on this planet that has ever made that accusation, so why do we give ourselves so much credit for our accomplihments, yet neglect the oppurtunities passed by because we fail to recognize when we are lost in our thoughts and leave our control up to the addict brain that decides to order the slice of pizza for lunch when you know, nutritionist and scientists know, that eating a salad with the right amount of fats and protien would fuel you much longer and effeciantly for the rest of the work day. Yet we want to choose the greasy food every single time.

Researchers have shown that Judges give harsher sentences to those who procede prior to lunch. If there is one thing we should take away from this is that we can no longer place blame at each other. If the most looked up to in the juducial system is influenced by his own appetite on such a way it impacts the lives of others and the amount of time they spend in jail, we should not shun down on individuals who become obese. Fast food restaurants cover every square mile of the city. Nor should we complain to our spouse about hours spent on video games rather than washing the dishes. Our primal brain rewards itself advancing to the next level of COD, the fucking dishes can wait. We are all addicts of our own pleasures getting a fix – and the moment you may be in the present moment may be when the person sitting across from you lost control of a mind of its own.

We must be more compassionate to one another. While some addictions go completely unnoticed, a frightening amount of individuals pay the ultimate price for theirs. 40% of prisoners are in jail for non-violent, drug related offenses. Of the 40%, every one of them knows they have an addiction and have tried and failed multiple times before being encarcerated. If deserts were illegal, how many of us would stop eating them? That quesion may seem ridiculous to some, but if deserts are the leading cause of heart disease that directly inflat the cost of taxes and health insurance, why do they get a pass and some drugs that don’t cause nearly as much damage could put you away for the rest of your life? Addiction is more than a problem. It’s a condition that affects us all. Time to recognize the significant part of our vastly complex mind and take responcibility for the way we’ve been treating it.