I understood myself only after I destroyed myself.
It used to be thought by many doctors, and those in 12-step recovery programs, that addiction was a disease in its own right. Conversely many people believed that alcoholism, drug abuse, compulsive gambling, and other addictions were due to personal weakness. That it was all down to the search for instant self-gratification, and that addicts were just unwilling to stop ~ or perhaps unable to stop drinking, using, gambling…..
However, medical science no longer believes that pleasure-seeking alone drives addicts into their own personal hell. Doctors and scientists now think that most engage in addictive behaviour not so much to attain euphoria as to escape physical, emotional, and spiritual pain and distress.
This is certainly true in my own case. From time to time I drink far too much, not because I like booze or it makes me feel good. I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, which is characterised by extreme emotions, and from time to time negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, paranoia, anxiety, and suicidal depression cause me so much physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that I escape into alcohol. And you know what? Drinking doesn’t really work.
In the USA 15.7 million people seriously abuse alcohol, and 2.6 million of those also suffer from a drug abuse disorder. In all some 7.7 million people in all use illicit drugs in the USA, and / or abuse prescription drugs. About 8% of the total population of the USA have a substance abuse problem. Many of these have multiple addictions ~ gambling, excessive use of pornography, and promiscuity also ruin lives. Doctors also believe that the type of addiction doesn’t matter at all; whether it be alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling, whatever….. all addictions are the same, addicts are people who try to escape physical, emotional, and spiritual distress.
Some 47,000 people a year die directly from an overdose of opiod drugs, and alcohol claims the lives of some 90,000 people a year. I know what that feels like, people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder have a 10% likelihood of committing suicide, which is over 1,000 times more than in the general population.
Some days I can barely breathe, I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. Some days I blame others for my pain and problems. Some days I am barely hanging on. And, some days life is pretty good.
The good news is that there are a number of effective treatments for addiction; including self-help strategies, psychotherapy, rehabilitation programs, and in some cases medication. (As it goes medication doesn’t work, and is actually dangerous for anyone with Borderline Personality Disorder.) But, I can protect myself from addiction by having meaningful and mindful interests in my life, together with supportive friendships. My problems and pain are very transient. And life isn’t always supposed to be fun and filled with pleasure, into every life a little rain must fall. Shit Happens
Some say that addiction only affects weak and pathetic people. And that there is no chance of recovery from any addiction. All I know is that I have many more good days than the bad days on which I hit the bottle.
recovery doesn’t work for those who need it
recovery works for those who want it
No matter what happens, life goes on, until the day you die
a murder of crows is a sign of good news
Most of us experience torment, pain, failure, disaster, and tragedy. Most of us learn that love is blind and that love can be cruel. Some may suffer from serious debilitating illnesses. Others may have mental, spiritual, and psychological problems. More than a few will battle an addiction for most of their lives. Some may have hit rock bottom and struggle with shame and fear. For many there will be no relief or comfort until it’s over, and a tragic few some may hasten the end through taking their own lives.
You may have experienced such moments yourself or observed those around you going through the slough of despond. You, or a member of your family, or a loved one, or a friend, may have struggled for years to find a way to make it through each and every single fucking day. It is in times like those that achieving goals, making plans, realising dreams, can seem a million light years away. Instead time is spent coping with shock, pain, grief, sadness, depression, frustration, fear, tears, fighting not to take that next drink, or snort that next line of coke. Emotions are raw and painful, feelings are negative in the extreme, and the mind can run away like an out of control dynamo. Nothing means anythng, and nothing makes any sense.
In three words I an sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. ~ Robert Frost
But, life goes on. Most of us, given time, maybe given the right support at the right time, most of us are able to return to our dreams and goals, to our plans and schemes, and continue along the warriors path to one form of success or another.
For most of us the pain, grief, and sadness we have experienced will mean that we return to the warriors path stronger than we were before ~ wiser, kinder, more supportive, more accepting, and more understanding. The struggle changes us, and it may be true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Our priorities, our wants, needs, and desires will have changed as we fought our inner demons or struggled with the shit the world has thrown into our lives. What may have seemed important to the shallow and inconsequential people we were before no longer matters to the toughened survivors we have become. What may seem important to the ordinary folks around us matters not one jot to we who have endured hell and returned.
Some say that they just can’t go on, they can’t take it any more. And that life has taken away everything they have ever loved, wanted, dreamed of, desired, and needed. All I know is that when it is at its worst the important thing is to just keep putting one foot in front of another.
find a way to make it
whatever it takes hold on to the light
As legalization spreads, more Americans are becoming heavy users of cannabis, despite its link to violence and mental illness. ~ The Wall Street Journal.
The resting place for alcoholics, bums, and drug users.
The ideas I want to share with you are considered subversive and ant-social. But subversion can be a good thing. Sometimes going against mainstream opinions is not only justified, it is necessary to counter vested interests, prejudice, error, bigotry, and bad science. If an idea or opinion is not universally accepted, that does not per se mean that the different theory is wrong. Galileo was denounced for suggesting that the Earth orbited the Sun.
There exists today an extraordinary denial of the clear links between cannabis use, mental illness, crime, and violence. For what is the real difference between pot, cocaine, heroin, and sundry other dangerous psychoactive drugs, all of which lead to the untimely death of someone?
As many Americans are regular users of dangerous psychoactive drugs as there are Americans who drink booze every day. And the cannabis used today is far stronger than it was is the 1970s, containg more than 10 times as much THC now than it did back then. ( The psychoactive ingredient of cannabis is TetraHydroCannabinoil.)
Some of the effects of THC on the brain are a lowered IQ, an increased risk of psychosis, schizophrenia, paranoia, delusions, hallucianations, losing touch with reality, reduced cognition, impaired and false memories, and a hell of a lot of ‘neural noise’. THC also totally fucks the brain’s pleasure / reward systems, suppressing self control, leading to increased appetite for food, booze, sex, more drugs…..
Using marijuana has detrimental physical effects causing breathing problems, cardiovascular dangers, intense nausea and vomiting, weight issues. If a pregnant mother uses cannabis she is seriously damaging the foetus in her womb.
Marijuana users experience; lower life satisfaction, poor mental health, poorer physical health, and serious relationship issues. These effects are very long term / permanent, even if you are / were an occasional user of this insidious drug.
Personally I would never get involved with any marijuana user, or indeed anyone who abuses drugs of any kind. And, addicts of anything are infinitely more dangerous than someone who is clean and healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
Just a couple of examples of cannabis fuelled violence: #1 the Islamic terrorists who carried out a devastating attack on innocent passers-by on London Bridge on the 3rd of June 2017 were all habitual users of marijuana, #2 the despicable youth who deliberately drove into a young girl in Utah on Friday 31st of May this year was high on a mixture of cannabis, Xanax, and booze. He killed the 11 year old girl on purpose.
Some say that marijuana is a relatively harmless drug. And, that the weed never hurt anyone. All I know is that using marijuana means that someone is going to die an untimely death.
Growing this in England is illegal,
but nobody cares anymore.
I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. ~ Mark Twain
Lust, Greed, and Addiction. These are deadly sins ~ deadly because lust, greed, and addiction can all drag you down to a rock-bottom more horrible than your worst nightmare, humiliate you, make you ill, and then kill you. Lust can give you all kinds of STD, take you to dangerous places, where you could meet some very nasty people. Greed can make you take risky decisions with money, accept all kinds of bad financial advice, and ultimately take every penny and asset you have, including your home. And addiction is more terribly dreadful than you could possibly imagine. If you are a woman, and addicted to anything, you will most likely do some sordid things just to feed your addiction.
It can all begin innocently enough, a date with a co-worker, regularly sitting at the bar in your favourite pub, losing a couple of hundred dollars in Las Vegas. But it may only be a matter of time before you’re the bum on the streets, or the easy slut sitting at the bar in your favourite pub, who’s just looking for a younger guy to fuck her like an animal.
The sad thing is, that once you’re on the train to destruction, there’s usually no getting off until the last stop. Almost everyone I’ve ever known who has taken that ride is now dead, often horribly so, well before their time should have been up. The list of illnesses and causes of death that lust, greed, and addiction will give you is long and horrific; insanity, renal failure, wet brain, suicide, pneumonia, cirrhosis, cardiovascular failure, cancers, accidents, gastrointestinal disorders, blood disorders, pancreatitis, malnutrition, AIDS, random violence, domestic violence, brutal rape, beriberi…..
What can you do if you have lots of casual sex, constantly think about ways of making money, gamble, drink too much and / or take drugs? Well, you can’t stop on your own. So get help before you are utterly rejected by everyone who cares for you. Try Alcoholic Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous….. It’s pointless going to your doctor, the average doctor is as much use helping with these problems as is a cement life jacket.
Some say that they drink, take drugs, gamble, make rash decisions, and have casual sex because of too much stress, worry, and fear. And that they could clean up their act anytime they like. All I know is that almost everyone is stressed, worried, and a little afraid, but they don’t all die an early, disgusting death.
just an easy slut, drinking alone, only one friend in the world, a barman
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter if it’s alcohol or marijuana
In yesterday’s post 10 things successful people do, I said that successful people stay healthy and overcome their addictions ~ well, it’s impossible to stay healthy in the long-term if you have a drugs habit, drink too much, or smoke. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and smoking will all kill you, especially if you are prey to all three. Most addicts have multiple addictions. Add gambling into the mix and you will die a horrible death, after you have lost everything you have.
There are NO exceptions to that rule.
You may think that you drink a little bit, use pot or coke just now and again, take a few too many of your prescription drugs, smoke the odd cigarette when you’re feeling stressed or happy, go to Vegas to gamble every once in a while….. It could be you have a problem you’re not admitting to yourself, and lying about to everyone else.
Denial is not a river in Egypt. Denial will kill you.
The very first step in overcoming an addiction is to admit that you have a problem. The first step in all 12 step recovery groups is to honestly admit that you have a problem. Your problem with booze, drugs, smoking, gambling, unsafe casual sex, erotica, pornography, dangerous pastimes, sugar, food….. may not be so bad ~ YET. Let me tell you, your problem will only get worse, unless you do something about it. And what you have to do is STOP drinking, smoking, using drugs, gambling, or whatever.
There is no such thing as controlled drinking, drug abuse, gambling…..
And, if you cannot stop, and if you still lie about it to yourself and others, then you are a true alcoholic, drug addict, compulsive gambler, long-term chain smoker, and you’re going to lose everything you have, and die horribly. Things may only be a little bit rocky now, but that’s ok for you, missing work once in a while isn’t so bad. Let me tell you, it is going to get worse if you do not completely stop drinking, using, smoking, gambling…..
No matter how bad thing are now, they will get worse.
What to do? A good start is to go and see your doctor, and tell him / her that you have a problem. But, the chances are that, unless you have an exceptional doctor, they’re not going to be much help. Do Not just accept more medication from your doctor ~ drugs in any form are bad for you. Also, the chances are that if you have a propensity to addiction, then you also have an underlying psychological problem. What you probably need is ‘talking therapy’ to deal with your underlying Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD……
Admit you have a problem, and talk to people who understand.
From bitter personal experience I can tell you that there are only two things that work when it comes to recovering from the problems of an addiction;
- Completely stop drinking, using, smoking, gambling, binge eating…..
- Talk with people who truly understand. Ask for their help.
If you are an addict, then you will never, ever be cured, all you can do is begin to recover from your addiction. You will never be able to go back to drinking, or whatever…..
Some say that being an addict means that you are a morally weak degenerate lunatic. And, that all addicts are hopeless cases who will just die sooner rather than later. All I know is that it is possible to begin to recover from Borderline Personality Disorder and Alcoholism.
addicts are not lunatics,
but they may well have a psychological problem
Knowing that you’ll push everyone away is tough to deal with.
Some people suffer. Some people are in constant mental, psychological, and spiritual pain. Those people may find themselves doing crazy and impulsive things, drinking too much, using drugs, getting into inappropriate and dysfunctional sexual relationships, pushing away everyone that truly cares for them, isolating themselves….. Those people may be suffering from a serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder ~ they may need professional help. They may act like a lunatic.
People with even mild Borderline Personality Disorder, (BPD), do very strange things; they test the people who care for them by doing things which are really socially unacceptable ~ for example constantly being late, flirting inappropriately, expecting and needing gifts lavished upon them. They have extreme reactions to the thought of being abandoned and / or rejected.
People with BPD have a propensity to enter into dysfunctional and unstable romantic and sexual relationships / have casual sex / cheat / commit adultery with monotonous regularity. They tell themselves their sexuality is normal. They are impulsive and have intense, highly changeable moods. Paranoia, anger, ennui, and emptiness all come easily to those who have even the mildest touch of BPD in their psyche.
They tell themselves that they like being alone in their comfort zone
Suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder is difficult, but the situation isn’t hopeless. Recovery is possible, growth is certain, becoming a better person is the eventual reward for all that suffering. I should know, I have been at the very Gates of Hell because for most of my life I suffered from undiagnosed and untreated BPD.
But now I know. I know what caused me to push people away from me all my life; it’s a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder. If you don’t get close to people they can’t hurt you, and if you push someone away hard enough that they leave you, well that just means you were right about them all along…..
Knowing Exactly what’s wrong with you is very liberating. Knowing Exactly why you have suffered and are still suffering is even more liberating. And, I know Exactly why I developed Borderline Personality Disorder.
When I was about four-and-a-half years old, the woman who loved me most, the woman who cared for me, got sick and died. She was my nana, my maternal grandmother. And nobody told me that she’d died, my parents didn’t explain, there was a wall of silence, and I thought she’d abandoned me because I wasn’t good enough.
That one event blighted my whole life ~ until now.
Some say that it’s good to be mean to the one who loves you, because if they stay with you it proves that they love you. And, that if they leave you it proves that you were right to be mean to them all along. All I know is that only the mentally ill can like being alone and lonely.
You can get so that everything seems normal
even crazy, vicious, evil mood swings
even turning into a Mr. Hyde
Our very souls may be consumed by shadows.
We each have a complex relationship with ourselves. If we have ever really suffered through something like; alcoholism, drug addiction, addiction to gambling, sex addiction, too many of the wrong prescription drugs, parental abuse, an abusive relationship, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, serious problems with our diet, mental health problems, failed relationships, job loss, loss of our home… (or more likely a mixture of all of these problems and more), then we also have a complex relationship with the whole world and everyone in it.
At times we can find ourselves in a very bad place where every voice is critical, malevolent, and negative ~ even our own inner voice. Our inner voice creates inner demons; anger, depression, fear of rejection, rejection of others, jealousy, judgementalism, self-doubt, self-hatred, worthlessness…
All the dark, malevolent Passions of the Soul are roused and exerted; its mild and amiable affections are suppressed; and with them virtuous Principles are laid prostrate. ~ Charles Inglis
Unless you have been there you can have no idea how bad the pain and anguish these inner demons can create. One will do almost anything to escape the crippling pain; including going back to our addictions, making big geographical moves, shutting down and numbing ourselves, isolating ourselves, psychotherapy, strong prescription drugs, attending 12 step groups, spirituality, retreating further into mental illness, suicide…
It is not just our inner demons. If we are in that bad place then we are also surrounded by demons. Everyone we know, everyone we meet, adds to these outer demons with their misplaced concerned advice, criticisms, and rejection. Many people do not want us to get well, they measure themselves against our struggle and feel superior, they add their negative demons to our own. When I was at my last rock-bottom I became aware that almost everyone I knew, everyone I met, was feeding off my pain. Few understand, few want to understand, and fewer still truly want to help.
Some especially gifted, intelligent, and sensitive people believe that there is a third layer of demons, in addition to our inner demons, and the tormenting demons gifted to us by almost everyone we know. Most spiritual and religious people also believe that there are more demons than the physiological and psychological. These special people believe in genuine demons, in the spiritual realm, and that some of us may be victims of these demons. In my mind’s eye I am very aware that in the shadows surrounding my soul lurk the powers of darkness seeking to torment and torture me.
Demons manifest themselves in people in different ways. For instance, out of nowhere, somebody can become very angry for no reason. That’s not just an emotion. That’s a demon. ~ Stephen Baldwin.
None of the details really matter. What I do know is that if you have truly suffered, and if you are suffering now, then you are the victim of demons who will feed off your pain, and want nothing more than to destroy you and everything and everyone you care for.
It is our demons that make us believe that our partner is sleeping with other men, that giving into our addiction will solve our problems, and that suicide is painless.
Many of us have tried over the years to face down our inner demons. Some succeed, many fail. Many fail because they don’t realise that the main causes of their misery are inner demons which seem to have an intelligence and will of their own. Many more fail because they never realise that they are also surrounded by malevolent evil demons emanating from the subconscious psyche of everyone they know. And, some fail because they are the victims of true demonic possession.
Demons are not your superiors, demons are not even your equals. All demons have is the ability to make you cause yourself pain and suffering. Demons can only torment and torture you if you let them, but most of us allow demons to torture us because we are not even aware that they are there.
Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy. ~ David D. Burns.
Recovery begins with admitting that you have a problem.
I cannot yet face down my demons, but I know they are there, trying to make me torture myself so that they can feed off my pain. (Even your inner demons feed off the pain you cause yourself.)
Now, when I feel myself going down a negative path to my own personal hell, I can tell myself that it’s just my personal demons trying to destroy me, and that I should ignore their oppressive persecution. That helps me. A psychological bully can only bully you if you let them. Your demons have no physical power over you. Ignore them and your demons will go away. Eventually I shall be able to face down my demons and tell them to fuck off ~ and that will be a good day.
Demons are to be pitied. They have nothing but your pain and suffering. If you do not allow your demons to make you cause yourself pain and suffering, then those demons will eventually die and vanish into nothing.
You can and will get well if you do not allow your demons to torment and torture you.
click on the book
SOMETIMES, SELF-WILL AND EFFORT ARE JUST NOT ENOUGH
In 12 step recovery programmes this is step 2. In Alcoholics Anonymous the full text reads;
We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. ~ The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
For many people trying to recover from an addiction to alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, gambling, shoplifting…, this is where it all falls apart. One may have been dry and clean for a while, (although cigarettes and candy will have taken the place of the primary addiction), but here we begin to flirt with the idea of God.
Addicts and people under great stress have poor memories, they will have forgotten that when they were at their nadir they will have said something like; ‘Please God, get me out of this one…’ In any event, in the quotation given above where does it say God? It doesn’t, it says; a Power greater than ourselves. Addiction is self-will writ large; egotism, egomania, narcissism, conceit, and vanity are all part of the psychology of an addict. Addicts and the otherwise mentally ill believe they are the most important person in the Cosmos ~ that belief has to be smashed.
Addiction, stress, anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, anorexia, binge eating disorder, psychotic disorders, exhibitionism…, (the list could go on and on), all produce a state of desperation. A state where the sufferer is willing to do almost anything to escape from the see-saw of euphoria and misery that they endure. Anything, except believe that there is more in this Cosmos than themselves ~ addiction and self-absorption go together like ham and eggs.
Trust me on this, one does not have to believe in the God of our childhood, or the God of our parents, or the God of whatever church or religion we theoretically belong to. Lapsed Christians, lapsed Jews, Agnostics, atheists, sun worshipers, druids, can all come to believe that there is a power in the universe that is greater than they are. In 12 step recovery programmes this sometimes known as ‘finding your higher power.’
I believe in a higher power and I believe in good and bad, right and wrong. You sleep in the bed you make. ~ Leif Garrett.
Lief Garrett, singer, actor, television personality, one time drug addict, member of the Church of Scientology, often in legal difficulties.
So we’re in physical and mental torment of one sort or another. In order to recover we need to give up some of our egomaniacal self-will, narcissistic denial, and the conceit that we can stop doing whatever destructive behaviour we suffer from, whenever we want to. Whether one believes in a Deity, or not, recovery from addiction and a range of other destructive behaviours depends on faith and spirituality. The human mind finds it much easier to believe in something, rather than believing in nothing, (although one could believe in nothingness and infinity.)
There is something about modern man and woman, particularly men and women who are suffering extreme distress, which makes it difficult for them to accept that there is anything beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, or otherwise detect with one of our many other senses. Very well, what if I quote from one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century? A man so smart that 99% of the people in the world don’t even understand what he was getting at.
The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms ~ this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of all true spirituality, (geistigkeit). ~ Albert Einstein, The Merging of Spirit and Science.
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist and philosopher of science.
Quantum physics and probability theory are both pretty wedded to the fact that nothing is impossible. People being what they are, if one gives a lot of them three choices;
- There is definitely no God, Goddess, Higher Power, or a Power greater than me.
- There may or may not be a Higher Power, Earth Goddess, Power of the Cosmos, et alii.
- There is a Higher Power, Mother Goddess, Power of the Universe, Isis and Aphrodite. I know because I have faith.
There is no possibility whatsoever that they would be able to come to a consensus of opinion. The proof of this is in Arrow’s impossibility theorem. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter what one believes in, as long as one believes in something that is greater than a single human being ~ that is, greater than you. We cannot go on just existing, we need faith and spirituality in order to live ~ after all, we are broken human beings.
Personally, I walked the road of recovery from my disease by believing in the power of the Cosmos. It didn’t matter what I believed in, as long as I believed that there was a Power greater than myself. If you can’t even manage that, then believe in the fact that you want to believe in something, because that will put you on the road to spirituality and recovery from whatever syndromes you suffer from.
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. ~ Carl Sagan, in Cosmos.
Carl Edward Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science populariser, researcher into extraterrestrial life.
All of human life requires faith. Faith in gravity, in the laws of physics, in birth, love, life and death. To recover from serious addiction, mental illness, extreme stress, also requires faith and spirituality.
Given that I am currently not only on planet weird, I am deep in the jungle on planet weird, after experiencing reincarnation into my own life, I need a hell of a lot more faith and spirituality than most. Currently it suits me to believe in my vision of the Goddesses Isis and Aphrodite. They are my higher powers, not yours. You need to find your own higher power for yourself to achieve true spirituality.
DOES FREE WILL EXIST?
Well, the real answer is Yes, and No, or Maybe.
For millenia philosophers have debated whether humans have free will. What is free will? Is free will compatible with the notion of a God, or Gods? Is free will possible alongside causal determinism? Is free will probable if we believe in quantum mechanics?
Free Will is taken to be the ability to act without the constraint of necessity or fate, or to choose between alternative possibilities. In fact, these two concepts are mutually exclusive. There may be many possibilities, but the choice must be driven by necessity or fate.
In which case free will does not exist. On a daily basis most individuals in the west act out of necessity; school, work, relationships, weather, economics, the list of things which drive human behaviour is endless to the point of infinity.
Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer.
Arthur Schopenhauer ~ philosopher and author of The World as Will and Representation and Essays and Aphorisms.
Fate is another matter. Many Eastern Religions believe that everything is preordained, although the word most commonly used to describe Eastern beliefs is fatalism. In fact, many Christians also believe that God has already decided everything. This may be called either preordination or predestination.
Fatalism espouses the belief that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do. We have no power to influence the future or our own actions. In the East this produces an attitude of resignation in the face of the events of daily life. Fatalism also espouses the belief that to live is to suffer ~ which is one of the Four Noble Truths.
To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning to the suffering. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.
Friedrich Nietzsche ~ philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet, composer and author of The Wanderer and His Shadow.
Free will obviously relies on internal thoughts and feelings, and how successful is anyone in generating and sustaining the psychological, physiological, emotional, cognitive and subconscious dimensions which make up a free-thinking individual? How does that fit with alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder, hypersexuality…? Again the list of neurosis and character defects which appear to deprive humans of free will is almost endless to the point of infinity.
Does a man with a severe addiction to gambling have any choice but to go on gambling until he is broke and destitute, and often beyond that with borrowed money? Does this man have sufficient free will to say; ‘Stuff this for a game of soldiers, I’m going to make a nice casserole for dinner instead of throwing my money away betting on the 3:30 at Sandown?’
Well yes and no. It is only his gambling addiction which is preventing him from exercising free will, not something in the intrinsic structure of the Cosmos. Does a nymphomaniac have a choice about having sex with every man who happens along? Well, possibly not. Unlike sluts and skanks who merely have a pathetically low self image and will sleep with just about anybody, nymphomaniacs have the bona fide mental illness of hypersexuality. They have a choice but the choice is almost always Yes.
I have met many gamblers, sluts, alcoholics, skanks, people with OCD, tramps, heroin addicts, vamps, cocaine addicts, hookers, and strippers, but I have never met a real, honest to God nymphomaniac. Excessive sexual drive in a man is called satyriasis, and I wouldn’t like to suffer from that.
To live a spiritual existence implies that free will does exist. It isn’t a given that any woman needs to have sex with every man that comes along, (unless said woman is a hooker). It isn’t a given that alcoholic women will do almost anything for a drink, up to and including prostituting herself with casual sex. It isn’t a given that the same woman may have OCD and be a compulsive thief.
For example, in the choice between alcoholic and sexual debauchery as against spirituality, an absence of free will negates any moral responsibility whatsoever. Without freedom of action there is no morality. However, given a choice between dying sad and lonely, bottle in hand, and living to see your children grow up, the choice is blindingly obvious. Therefore a man’s decision to give up the booze are not the result of free will but of necessity. BULLSHIT. If that were true then hardly anyone would be a practicing alcoholic ~ and yet our city streets are full of dipsomaniacs.
The difficulty we face is that once we are in a given lifestyle, it is incredibly painful to change. Free will implies that our skank can wake up one morning and decide that she isn’t going to do that sort of thing anymore. On the one hand, she could do that, on the other hand, she won’t. She won’t until she is badly beaten, or gang raped, or suffers similar trauma. It takes a lot to make people want to change their ways, and self deception and denial means our woman probably does not even recognise that she has a problem.
Admitting that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, that takes a hell of a lot of free will. I don’t think there is a self assessment for compulsive shoppers, but there are many for alcoholics. Am I An Alcoholic? is one question some of us should ask ourselves, for alcoholism deprives one of free will.
So, addiction deprives one of free will. So does compulsion. When one is conscripted into an army one doesn’t have very much free will after that. Except we do, even in the mud and blood of the trenches during WWI, there was free will. ‘Should I have a cigarette now or later?’ ‘Am I actually going to have to eat yet another tin of bully beef?’
Free will does exist, despite what a lot of people with more letters after their name than you can shake a stick at say. Which is just as well as far as spirituality is concerned, for without free will there is no spirituality.
It is possible to recover from addiction, but not without some degree of spirituality and a willingness to begin to live a spiritual life. You don’t have to take my word for that, just go to one 12 step recovery meeting.