…can we just be Broken Together?

The Landscape of the Mind

The Landscape of the Mind

I’m not shy to admit this one…I’m a SCIENCE GEEK! In high school, I ADORED physics, chemistry, and geometry. On the rare occasions that I allow myself a weekend Netflix binge, I’m far more likely to choose “How it Works”, or “Modern Marvels” rather than some comedy or drama series. I LOVE learning about what makes things (machines and people) tick.

I found this video an interesting and informative juxtaposition of physiology, psychology, and gospel insights.

While searching YouTube to find the “share” link for this video, I happened to notice the comment thread below the clip and wound up entangling myself in a discussion on whether addiction is a choice or a disease. So, I put it to you…

Q: Is addiction a choice or a disease?

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For anyone who cares, I’ll post the long answer below. Enjoy the show, and feel free to give YOUR opinion at the bottom of this post!

The Question is…

“One of the ongoing issues I have with those who classify addiction as a disease along with cancer, colds, leukemia, and other types of sickness is that at some point, the addiction was a choice. I chose to look at pornography, smoke meth, or shoot heroin. I didn’t have someone hold me down and repeatedly inject me until I became hooked…”

And my response…

I firmly believe that God has an individually designed plan for each of us. Each of us is given different circumstances and challenges to shape, test, and strengthen our spirits. One of my personal (and I believe, God-given) challenges is that I am prone by my nature to addictive behavior–my brain works a bit different than yours in the ways discussed in this video…That’s one of MY tests in this life. My wife’s brain works a little differently than yours or mine, and she struggles with bipolar depression…it’s HER test.

Along with my “disease”, I was given spiritual gifts that have provided me with a desire to remain close to the church despite my sinful ways. I’ve managed to stay active in the church my whole life; concurrently I’ve suffered a 3-decade struggle with alcoholism. It’s been a hell of a test, but I’m finally reaching the point where I’m starting to think I’ll come out on top in the end–I have strengths now that I could not have developed (or even imagined) without overcoming the nature of my disease.

[Addiction] IS by nature VERY similar to cancer…

Some people are born with a genetic susceptibility and contract cancer by no fault of their own. Other people choose poorly and expose themselves to substances that cause cancer and they contract the disease due to their own actions. Either way, they have a disease that, unless treated, will kill them.

Likewise, in the end, whether I gave myself the disease of addiction by looking at porn, smoking meth, or drinking booze, or whether I was born with the propensity to do those things, I must overcome the results of my disease or die a spiritual death.

Some cancer patients decide to curse God and die; others praise God and bless the lives of those around them. Some addicts decide to curse God and justify themselves in succumbing to their disease, and some of us see it as a test to overcome and we thank God for the adversity.

I hope I can be found in the second group on judgement day! 🙂

I’m interested to hear what YOU think…let me know! –k

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Husband. Father. Grandfather. Uncle. Son. Pro Musician. Blogger. Inspirational Speaker. Mormon. And...recovering alcoholic. As a Certified Recovery Support Specialist, I share my story at ChangeOfHeart.LIFE, facilitate 12-step meetings for the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, lead Recovery Support Groups, and work for Davis Behavioral Health as part of the Recovery Support Services team.

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