There Are No Addictive Substances
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 by Jon Burras
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     A stroll through a local chocolate boutique reveals a world of temptation for many and a plethora of orgasmic thoughts. Your mouth begins to water at the smell of the tasty treats as your heart skips a beat or two. The friendly young counter person hands you a free sample and a helpful warning, "Be careful. This one is highly addictive!"

     Does the term "addictive" send cautious chills down your spine and electric sparks into the air warning you not to fall prey to this mythological magnetic trap? Are you on guard not to lose control and allow another powerful substance to take over your brain and diminish your power to choose?

     Those who control language have the ability to control the masses. The problem begins in our "scientificated" society which has come to dominate and control our thought processes and our world view. This science-based model has turned everything into a disease and has created fancy names for each new condition that arises. The more elaborate and clinical sounding the name of these new conditions the farther the average person is removed from trying to understand them. A condition with an obscure name must only be understood by the professionals, or this is what we are expected to believe.

    The term "addictive" is one such name that attempts to classify an object into a special category—something that is ill-fated to your brain if you ever come in contact with it. You are told that once you start you are forever lost in the battle of trying to stay away from this magical substance. "It is addictive" and now your brain has been poisoned.

     The truth of the matter is that there are no addictive substances. There is nothing on the planet that is addictive. You have been lied to and misguided over and over again. The scientific community has taken over our world view and has created a fictitious name for a fictitious condition.

    The expression "addictive" was first heard in courtrooms some years back when scientific professionals argued that tobacco companies knew their products (cigarettes) where in fact addictive. This blame game was perpetrated by the summation of most of the states' Attorneys General and fancy legal teams who were looking to extract billions of dollars from the tobacco companies and pour that money into their own pockets and the state coffers. They succeeded.             Nicotine (the chief chemical in tobacco products) was labeled as an "addictive" substance. Hence, the story goes that once a person tries tobacco they are hopelessly hooked for life because their brain is now responsible for demanding more of this chemical.

    EhealthMD.com says that "A smoking addiction means a person has formed an uncontrollable dependence on cigarettes to the point where stopping smoking would cause severe emotional, mental, or physical reactions."

     The science-minded community began to label a good many substances and behaviors as being "addictive." Alcohol, street drugs, gambling and prescription pills like narcotics and opiates were all given the "addictive" label. According to this model, it is your brain, your biology or your DNA which are now calling the shots and demanding more of this drug. Unfortunately none of this is true. Your biology is not in charge and your brain is not responsible for your addictive behavior. You have found something that creates a "high" experience (whether it is mild or extreme) and you continue to make choices to re-experience that high. One reason you continue to want that high is because you wish to mask any physical or emotional pain you might be experiencing. Another reason is to keep feeding your body, which is now physically dependant on this drug and withdrawing from it will create uncomfortable (and often life-threatening) symptoms. This is called "physical dependence" and not the elusive term "addictive."  Equating "physical dependence" with "addictiveness" and your right to choose are completely erroneous assumptions.

     The blame it on you biology campaign wishes to remove you from the choices that you have made. It is much easier to place blame on a chemical or substance than to stand up and take responsibility for the choices you are making. Is this not scientific quackery at its worst?

We live in a blame society. We are taught to be on the lookout for someone or something to blame. The case is the same when it comes to addictions. Blaming a substance for your choice to use it fits right into the way our society wants you to think. The reality is that we are all addicts and we all have a vast array of addictions (substances, thoughts, behaviors etc.) that we have stored away to use when we have an emotion that we do not want to feel. Addictions are about choosing something to medicate yourself with.

     Your biology or your brain are not making these choices for you—you are. We all choose the addiction that is right for our personality in the right situation. Addictions are about choices and not substances. Some substances create greater highs (like cocaine) and some create mild low-grade highs (like television watching). No matter what high you choose it is because you are avoiding feeling your feelings.

     There are no "addictive" substances. There are only choices. Addictions are all about choices. You are fully alive when you choose to feel your emotions. You are now in an addictive state when you choose to use something that alters your mood. Isn't it time we stop demonizing substances and start taking responsibility for our own emotional reality?



Return to Nature: The Five Pillars of Healing, Jon Burras