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Addiction as a Learning Disorder


Is an addict capable of free choice?


Published on January 21, 2015 by Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D. in Science of Choice



"A key question of addiction is why addicts are so insensitive to the future consequences of their drug seeking behavior. Why do they persist? The consensus among scientists is that drug addiction is associated with altered learning systems that appears to overvalue pleasure, undervalue risk, and fail to learn from repeated mistakes. In other words, drugs distort an unconscious brain process into anticipating an exaggerated level of pleasure. An addict can try to overcome this effect by exercising cognitive control to no avail. Is an addict capable of free choice?"


"Anyone schooled in the basic principle of rational choice theory recognizes that decision making consists of three basic steps: 1) framing a problem, 2) assigning values to the available options, and 3) choosing."






This article is on choice and why choices for addicts can be difficult and are part of a learned response to life. The author discusses the biochemistry behind reward and the importance of control in human behavior. The author asks do we have free will?


This is the essence of Christ Recovery or having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We life in a world that is often a biochemical storm but we do have free will and choice, we can learn and choose to have a better life. "Draw close to God and He will draw close to you." James 4:8.

When and if we make Christ our personal psychotherapist, He  teaches us self control and the ability to make wise choices, avoiding displaced compulsive behaviors.




Why do you drink? What good do you get from your chemical abuse? What are the underlying emotional themes that lead to the experience of helplessness and, in turn, its addictive solution?  Benefits are always there! Your brain is NOT hijacked! Addicts choose compulsive behavior because it feels good to be in control. All compulsive, addictive behavior is about regaining control of helpless, trapped, circumstances with displaced behaviors! We must recognize that chemical abuse is simply a displaced attempt to regain control of our circumstances!



What are the problems associated with it? What benefits would there be from stopping? What defenses do I employ or to keep myself from seeing the key moment?



Replace the benefits from addiction.  Shift the benefits! What more direct alternative actions could I  have taken in place of the addictive act? 

When you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we gain new benefits, values, motivation and purpose.  Replace your old behavior with Christ Driven Behavior. Always ask: Will my behavior honor God? This is the new direct healthy behavior!


Summary: Recognize your weakness, Reframe the pros and cons and Replace the cons with Christ Driven (CDB) behavior.

"I am a Surrendered Believer in Jesus Christ with Free Will and I CHOSE Surrender (Intelligent Delegation) in my victory over, “Recreational Chemical Abuse, my weekend, "False Idols."
"I chose DIRECT health assertive Christ Driven Behavior (CDB) instead of DISPLACED behavior in order to regain control over feeling helpless, powerless, trapped and lacking control. I changed my, "Thinking," and God changed my life."
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There is no reason why anyone with any hurt, habit, or hang up cannot be helped. The Person-God partnership simply needs to be more powerful than any hurt, habit or hangup.

Behind everything you do is a THOUGHT.

Every BEHAVIOR is motivated by a BELIEF.

Every ACTION is prompted by an ATTITUDE.


With respect to behavior, life is about, emotions, beliefs, thinking and control.

"A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."Proverbs 29:11 (Displaced Behaviors)

"Do not be conformed by this world but instead by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2 (Direct Behavior)

When you think and empower yourself and surrender control to God, when you Intelligently Delegate Control to God (2 Corinthians 12:9-10),

God returns that control to you with a, “Helper," the Holy Spirit, (John 14:16) a form of Reciprocal Innervation.

You regain control: "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

No longer are you subject to corrupted displaced thinking but instead are transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

This is where science and scripture intertwine, where Christ Driven Behavior brings, values, control, cause, character and purpose driven behavior, the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5:22-23 .

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.


Proverbs 29:11 "A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."

Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

2 Corinthians 12-9:“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

John 14:16: "He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—"

Philippians 2:13: "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

Galatians 5:22-23 "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Ephesians 4:22-23 "...put away the old person you used to be. Have nothing to do with your old sinful life. It was sinful because of being fooled into following bad desires. Let your minds and hearts be made new."

Life is about finding Purpose. When you have a, "Global Purpose," in life, healthy direct assertive thinking and behavior follow.

Change your thinking, change your life!

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