Why Are Addictions So Tough To Change?


Everything that is consistent in our life will define us because it becomes neurologically wired. When it's neurologically wired (with repetition and emotion), then whatever is consistent is part of us, indeed it is a habit and the habit reaffirms who we are - "our personality". The subconscious mind, that 88% of the mind, deals with all our habits, memory, self image and our personality.

Dr Joe Dispenza in his book Evolve your Mind explains scientifically why change is difficult: "For every known element in our life, we have an existing neural representation in the form of people, things, times, places, and events, and each neural representation connects every person, place, thing, time, and event to a specific feeling. We can begin to see why change is difficult. Changing a person, place, thing, time, or event in our life means that we are breaking the neurochemical circuit that we have kept intact by continuous stimulation". The scientific information in this MIND MATTERS NEWS has come from various scientific sources, my own experience and also from  Evolve your Mind.

Personal Experiences

I can remember being in a seminar some time ago where we were challenged to pretend that our right arm was cut off and then to do a daily activity with our left arm for a month. I chose shaving with my left hand. I can remember that quite often I started shaving with my right hand and then said to myself "Oh no! I must use my left".  Only when I consciously remembered to shave with my left hand, did I actually do it - it had not become automatic. At the end of a month it still wasn't a habit (and it took me longer to shave) so I reverted to using only my right arm.

Sandra (my wife) on the other hand was using her right hand to operate a computer mouse and developed repetitive strain injury (RSI).  It hurt her (the pain is registered as a negative emotion) to use her right hand. It took her a while but now Sandra only operates her right handed mouse with her left hand and has completely established this habit - so much so that it is now uncomfortable to operate a mouse with her right-hand. From a previous Mind Matters News (as my new E- reports are now called) you can see what's happened with Sandra - the new neural pathway has been established using her left hand and the previous neural pathway using her right hand has dropped away (the cells are used for something else now) and all this happened within a month because Sandra was motivated by pain - which is emotion - and emotion is the language of memory.

The Subconscious Mind wants what it's got

In our society we have invariably looked at tobacco smoking, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and more as addictions. Once a person is hooked they 'can't help it '. The body takes over and wants more! Neurologically it has been proven that once a pattern (habit - neural pathway) is established, the mind-body associations (with that habit) once triggered by a thought (or an association) sets off the loop. In other words all the associated chemicals are desired by the mind and body because we have learned to have and desire the associated reaction.  For example, say in panic attacks, just the thought of possibly having a panic attack can lead to ' hot sweats '. That's right - the 'addiction' is actually the panic attack.

I use a statement which says 'the subconscious mind wants what it's got and not what it has not got'. So with good or bad habits - 'the job of the subconscious mind is to keep you where you are now'. How does it do this?  With self sabotage - negative self talk. But now we know that this is not the only way. The mind-body is wired to produce the chemicals needed to self sabotage - the mind-body wants those negative feelings. It's addicted to them. The job of the conscious mind is to recognise this negativity and to do something about it. No, it's not easy to change but when you use the CALM methods, involving the subconscious mind, directed by the conscious mind, it's easier.

Thinking about addictions!

It's quite a challenge to think of  'addictions' in this way! The loop that is set up between the mind and the body encourages addictions to 'hang around'. Some examples can be easy to understand and  chocolate is one! Are you are chocoholic? Other examples can revolutionise our thinking - say the feeling of shame, or unworthiness, or being a victim or a bad relationship.

I am sure you have heard the expression 'out of the frying pan into the fire' when applied to a relationship. Let us take an example of feeling unworthy, having low self-esteem and a lack of self-love in a long-term relationship. The neurochemical habit of being unworthy is established - it is familiar and natural to feel this way about ourselves based on the interaction with our long term partner. One day we summon enough courage to separate and we look for another relationship. Unless we have really learned the lessons involved about loving self and self worth, the body and mind invariably want the same neurochemicals to fire again. We feel the same feelings (and think it's love) - so we find someone who sparks the release of those chemicals from the brain that feed the body to make a feeling. Out of the frying pan and into the fire because we are addicted to the neurochemicals that produce those feelings.

And the Inner Voice is always at work

That Inner Voice - the sabotaging voice is the voice that keeps us where we are now. It keeps us in our comfort zone. Our comfort zone includes all habits - good and bad. Let's look at the example of you deciding NOT to be a victim any more.

With great intentions you start the day and perhaps walk into a cafe to grab a coffee.  Something triggers your memory of how your partner really hurt your feelings at yesterday's family picnic. You're mind now goes to all the other times your partner has hurt you - over many years. You now start to feel bad. Your voice of self-talk says 'You're no good. You'll never be any good.' Your Inner Voice tells you that you can break your promise to yourself - your original commitment of deciding not to be a victim. It continues to  sabotage you 'You'll always be the same. You can't help it - your dad and mum abused you, so what chance have you got? You can't change - you'll never change.' 

If you stop those automatic thoughts you will feel really uncomfortable - out of your comfort zone. Besides you lost your wallet this morning and the car wouldn't start so you have good reasons to be a victim. So you act on your internal voice - your self chatter - you become more comfortable accepting that you are a victim.

So, be aware of all your own habits and patterns, particularly the negative ones. When you are aware then you can do something about it.  In fact if you would like to work for 30 days with an Active Meditation to change a smoking habit or a phobia or fear then have a look at Quit Smoking CD #21 or  Overcoming Fear CD #15 - both these CDs utilise the content of this paper to effect change within your comfort zone.  In my next Mind Matters News I'll go further and show you a way to help you fix addictions. 

All the Best

  Sandy signature
Sandy MacGregor 

Success Story

Thanks so much for the opportunity to attend your Life Skills Seminar, it has changed my life remarkably even in such a short period and I am feeling so GOOD! Even on days when I am feeling a little low I go to Peaceful Place or meditate and all the colour comes back into the world again. I have been meditating every morning before I start work and nothing stops me, if I’m late to a meeting so be it! Hehehe. Still sleeping so much better too, dropping off before I even get to the colours nowLM, NSW.

 I told you sometime ago how much the birthing CD helped my wife during her labour (especially the colours)…and the benefits haven’t stopped. With our first 2 children she had problems with breastfeeding them as she reckoned she wasn’t providing enough of her milk. Now, with our third one, when she needs to manually express her milk she goes to her PP and imagines she has giant bottles by her side and she is filling them up. She is amazed as to how her body responds to the imagery as she just produces ‘buckets’ of the stuff!  MM,  ACT.



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