The Gift of the Addict Brain
There was no one better at solving a problem then me when I was an addict and looking for a fix.
I was a master of problem solving. That addict brain is still alive and kicking inside me….so I use it!
When there’s a problem and I just can’t find a solution to it, I think to myself, “What if this was a fix that I really wanted? It’s absolutely amazing what my brain will come up with when I think this way!
Addict logic is the distorted and irrational thinking patterns and behaviors from when I struggled with addiction. This may include minimizing the consequences of my behavior, making excuses or justifying my actions, and engaging in self-destructive behaviors despite being aware of the negative consequences. Addict logic can make it difficult for me to recognize the real-life outcomes of my decision process and how it may hinder my ability to make positive changes towards recovery.
That’s the official meaning. But if you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you know that here at Benched Sinners, we know we don’t lose growth we’ve worked towards, nor skills we’ve learned. What’s changed is how we apply these skills.
Addict brain can be a way for me to excuse myself from the consequences of my actions; but what I want is to tap into is the uncompromising drive to solve a problem, no matter what. We will talk about the consequences bit in a minute. Addict brain is the magical thinking that opens my mind to all of the solutions available. My normal brain will filter out things like too expensive, too far to walk, don’t want to deal with certain people, dangerous and on and on. Addict brain says, I’m making this happen and I don’t care what I have to do to make it so! Addict brain does not care about the consequences, it wants that fix.
So, I have this super hero caliber talent if I can tap into it. Next, we’re going to return to an earlier idea, “What would someone who loves themselves do?” I ask this question before taking action on any of my brilliant addict brain solutions (because sometimes these solutions are not so brilliant, right?). If I love myself, I know I don’t want to hurt myself, I don’t want to hurt others, I don’t want legal issues; I don’t want trouble of any kind! So, I run my brilliant solutions through this filter and BOOM, we have feasible options. This form of problem solving allows me to ask for help – and that is not something I’ve been good at doing in the past. What a surprise! My Addict brain allows me to ask for help - talk about using a negative to create a positive!
This concept is a little abstract, so let’s talk about a real-life example, shall we? I need to take my dog to the vet tomorrow. This is for a procedure that he needs and I’ve been trying to get him for months. I found a program that will pay for it! This is a miracle for us; BUT…I’m broke, I don’t have a car and I don’t know many people in this city. So, call in the addict brain!! If this was a fix, I know what I would do! I do know my neighbor/landlord. I hate asking for help but addict brain makes that a little easier. I can have my partner drop the pup off in the morning on their way to work and ask my landlord/neighbor to help me pick him up. It’s not the perfect solution, but it gets the job done and that’s the point, right?!
Past addiction has taught me problem solving skills that I can still use today. Addict brain is a double-edged sword. While it can create irrational thinking patterns and self-destructive behaviors, it can also provide an uncompromising drive to create solutions. I absolutely must be able to filter potential solutions through the question of, "What would someone who loves themselves would do," in order to ensure the chosen solution does not cause harm. Harnessing the power of “addict brain" can help find a solution, despite financial and logistical limitations. Skills learned in addiction can be harnessed in a productive way with mindful consideration.
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