Does addiction take away free will?

Chronic excessive drinking is dangerously unhealthy, and can even cause death if stopped suddenly. However, if it’s a disease, then it’s pretty easy to cure. With medical supervision and a couple Valium, most alcoholics report a “surprisingly comfortable” detox experience.

However if the problem is not the excessive drinking itself, but the inability to stop drinking despite repeated attempts (according to the current DSM criteria), then maybe it really is a disease. The temptation of alcohol takes away our free will, forcing us to drink and then the ensuing mayhem / cheating / mischief / crimes were not intentional (for examples, attend your local AA meeting or check out one of the many best selling addiction biographies). Have we lost our free will once addicted, no longer able to resist the temptation?

The thorny conundrum of whether we are responsible for our behavior in the face of intense temptation is as old as recorded history. Adam said: “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Eve responded: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” But God would have none of it: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles.” It doesn’t really matter whether their disobedience (for which Adam tried to blame God Himself!) arose from curiosity, rebelliousness or powerful compulsion — the punishment was just the same. And we suffer for it until today, though now it’s more like “brave the strip mall parking lot for juice boxes and french fries.”

Maybe we can enjoy some wine if we’re lucky — just please don’t try that devil-made-me-do-it excuse again.  It may not be the Garden of Eden, but I’m starting to get used to this place.

16 thoughts on “Does addiction take away free will?”

  1. Free will is just an option. If you choose to keep drinking it is free will. You made the choice. If you choose to follow Gods will. you will stop. Choosing of you own free will to stop drinking is not sobriety. Truthfully, the elimination of alcohol is not all that is required for sobriety. One must have a concept of a higher power and be willing to follow that higher powers will. Gods will! Why are you so angry.

  2. Does addiction take away free will? No. Although intense temptation isn’t pleasant, we still have the power to choose. And choose we do, because choice isn’t avoidable. Even by ” not choosing”, we are nonetheless choosing by default. This is what makes self- responsibility before God such a big deal, and why people prefer to try to avoid it or cop out of responsibility, because in truth, we are accountable for everything we think, say, and do, or not do. People prefer an easier way out, even though it’s fantasy and delusion to think there is another way. But they’re invested in their pipe- dream, and will refuse the truth with anger. And that’s understandable, because they’ve been taught that there is no truth, and that they can select their reality regardless of the facts, because they are a god unto themselves, as if they can demand eternal outcome. In fact, they are moving into a realm where they believe they can have anything ” on demand”, as if it were all pay- per- view.

    1. Actually, they are demanding eternal outcome. They demand a great deal of outcomes, that they will receive. But those aren’t the outcomes they’re going for. It’s an entitlement mentality, refusal of reality and pain, thus chronic drinking. Parallel: a mature child doesn’t necessarily enjoy cleaning his room, but to obey his parents, he calmly does. The brat, however, dumps a temper tantrum, demanding their own way, refusing an ” unpleasant” reality, kicking and screaming, creating needless pain and drama. Their adult counterparts are as follows: 1. Mature adult calmly solving problems, behaving with dignity and grace, willing to face reality and to bear it to resolution. 2. Refusal to submit to reality due to pain avoidance or pride that simply will not tolerate the demands of life, purposely shuts down in order to force another internal reality of an altered state of mind through drink or drug, insisting on that altered mind experience, because he refuses the genuine. He is ” exempt”, and can enforce ” his self- belief” by self- medicating. He can get out of Anything he wants this way, just as the three yo does through drama. Refusal= Refusal. These emotional tactics are the biggest internal reasons why someone won’t stop. It’s a tool to get their way, a way that leads to destruction. Every family of one these, knows it’s how the drunk gets his way, to the expense and damage and pain of everyone around him. But he doesn’t care, he’s ” above all that- entitled”, and literally demands his own altered reality. Just like witchcraft- creating a false reality through forcible manipulations, a god unto themselves.

    2. The underlying cause is avoidance of pain, and/ or Self- idolatry. Just say Ouch. That will bring a lot of yelling. They refuse self- responsibility. They have been taught that Self, with all its emotions, is to be the object of worship. Marketing of products has pumped this now for decades, ” You’re worth it! You deserve it! ” the ads seductively croon. What kind of self- serving person is going to turn down that kind of indoctrination?? They won’t.

      1. I would actually try a discussion with you if you spoke sense.
        The run-on sentence style is just too hard to follow.
        Why don’t you try doling it out in smaller bites with a bit of white space between them.
        Basic communication skills.
        Don’t disagree that we need to take responsiblity and not play the victim card. The Program encompasses that goal for me nicely.

    3. You could say, that Addiction, in Contrast to taking away free will, actually is an excuse to IMPOSE IT.

      1. They can’t actually counter any of these truths with truth, so what else can they do, but holler and yell, call names, dump anger, get mad, and otherwise rage in their Emotional-god response to these things. = a Temper Tantrum.

      2. “You could say, that Addiction, in Contrast to taking away free will, actually is an excuse to IMPOSE IT.”

        See what I mean? This is at least as clear as mud.
        You really ought to consider some night classes in English Composition.
        After all, if you want to have a discussion, it helps to clearly articulate your position.
        My understanding of proper use of my “free will” in the program is seeking God’s will for me on a daily basis.
        Nothing less, nothing more.

      3. @ Anonymous,
        If you read all the posts on this thread, then you read my post @ timestamp 6:37P.M July 27, which clearly articulates how drunks use ” Addiction” to IMPOSE THEIR WILL ON OTHERS. If you had read it, which I suspect you did, then you ALREADY know this. You are a strife- maker. Cease trying to pick fights with me. You DO NOT Live and Let Live. You like to fight. Use Logic. My posts are very clear AND articulate. If you have a problem with them, then you just have a problem. Deal with it. I already explained the whole thing in my posts. You aren’t getting anywhere with me, but you certainly are driving down my respect for you.

      4. AddictionMyths entire take on AA is based on his misconceptions and lies.
        If you have thoroughly read what he has written here and not spotted them, then you also have a problem with reading comprehension.
        Powerlessness is an individual determination. Just as I can diagnose nobody as alcoholic, I can also not dictate to them that they are powerless.
        No, I have not read all of your posts in detail. Too long and rambling. I much prefer concise, crisp and succinct over longwinded.
        Ramble on…

      5. Besides which, any opinion from anyone who so clearly has such animus is invalidated by their lies and convoluted logic.
        Keep it simple.
        And short, preferably.

      6. I will expect a 50 page wandering, windy book report in response, of course.
        Go ahead and wear your fingertips down, it doesn’t touch me.

  3. I think drug addiction is not a disease ..We have to guide, educate & rehabilitate these youngsters and if we succeed in doing so, we can easily fight with drug addiction in society … I strongly feel if we change the subconscious mind of these addicted people , we can easily overcome this scenario..

    1. Some substances like heroine are truly addictive and thus should be avoided and are by anyone who is truly educated I’m not talking about dare or the guy on south park “drugs r bad mmmk”. But someone saying hay this is what happens in your brain and this is what can happen in your life. Let’s face it weed and alcohol are much safer than the prescribed drugs that are pushed onto us by greed then permanently f*** your head up. But if you understand chemically what is happening inside your head then you are 10 times less likely to abuse these substances to the point of destruction. Just my two cents education is key look at both sides the negative and positive aspects of anything you ingest.

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