I see many people post statuses or talk about how addictions are a choice, or that people with addictions are stupid. Ive noticed that most of those people themselves have never experienced it first hand. From having experienced addiction myself, I'm going to share with you my insight and knowledge on this topic to shed some light on this very touchy subject.

Sitting on my old 70s looking, mustard colored couch, my sister said to me something along the lines of "Just don't do it." She meant no harm, and probably doesn't even remember she said something like that, but it played like an old record in my head, over and over again. I would constantly ask myself why couldn't I just stop. It wasn't until years later, that I was able to answer that question for myself.

When someone has a hot temper, they usually respond to criticism or something that bothers them in a way they fundamentally know isn't serving them. They know that responding in a calmly manner would be ideal, but did something else. Even if they see that their behavior is ruining relationships, and making them unhappy, they continue to repeat those patterns. That is because their reactions and actions are impulses based on hard wiring in the brain that was unconsciously created over time through past thoughts and experiences. Addictions and mental illnesses are no different. It is hardwiring in the brain created unconsciously, not by choice, that cause people to take certain actions. To behave in a different way, one must change the hardwiring in their brain, and in order for one to do that, they must have the desire and persistence to change.

The decision to change does not come from a choice at first, but from a burning desire. That desire has to be stronger than their desire to act in a way that isn't serving them, which is extremely difficult when the hard wiring in your brain is unconsciously making you crave that behavior. Unfortunately for some, that burning desire only occurs once they have reached rock bottom. Other instances, inspiration is the catalyst for a desire which leads to the choice to change. Without the desire, there really is no choice. We can not force desire on another, just like how no one could force you to feel good when someone makes you upset. What we can do is shine our light and be the inspiration for change, and lead by example.

Is addiction a choice? Only you can be the judge of that. Every opinion, judgment, reaction, action, is of our own doing. Therefor our opinion on addiction is not based off of what is right or wrong, but what belief system we have built. I'm not here to tell others what to believe about addictions, but I'm here to share my voice and encourage you to challenge your own beliefs, show compassion towards yourself and others, and shine your light.