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#189670 - 11/02/07 03:54 PM Addiction = No responsibility???
mollyr Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 5
This might sound really insensitive, but part of me doesn't buy the whole addiction = no responsibility for your actions. People have choices! Everyone has a choice, right? Or is that wrong? I guess I'm not an addict so I don't know the feeling...I try to understand, and most of me does, but on some level isn't he responsible for the choices he made? Sometimes I feel compelled to do "bad" or "unhealthy" things, and I have to fight that urge - why are addicts not held responsible for their choice not to fight the bad urge?

#189674 - 11/02/07 04:28 PM Re: Addiction = No responsibility??? [Re: mollyr]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
Its not an area of concern for me unless the person in question is affecting my life in some negative way.

That said, I totally agree with you. It comes down to an individuals choice.

#189676 - 11/02/07 04:46 PM Re: Addiction = No responsibility??? [Re: Hauser]
MarkK Offline

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2653
Loc: Denver, CO
i will begin by agreeing, addiction does not remove my responsibility.


having fought my way through addictions - being curled up in the fetal position, knowing i was dying - my body, my mind - convinced death would come - but i had the choice to not simply "take the cure".

we all have choices - sometimes it's just the choice to seek help. but i don't think we want to minimize the magnitude of chosing to walk where you believe you will die, or suffer great harm. even asking for help - why ask for help to die?

and when you're in the middle of a heavy addiction, be it booze, drugs, sex, porn, what have you - you are NOT seeing the world clearly. and i think people need to be given the grace to realize that.

sorry - my ramble, I know ... but i needed to say something.


#189685 - 11/02/07 05:22 PM Re: Addiction = No responsibility??? [Re: mollyr]
BJK Offline

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Originally Posted By: mollyr
why are addicts not held responsible for their choice not to fight the bad urge?

I disagree with this, and I'm a recovering addict. I hold addicts responsible for their addictions. Unfortunately, too many of them take that responsibility with their lives.


Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

#189695 - 11/02/07 06:36 PM Re: Addiction = No responsibility??? [Re: BJK]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hi Molly,

I'm not going to be very original in my response because so many before me have explained these things with words I could never find. The post below was written well over year ago by one of the guys here. It has to do with acting out which is another term, in many ways, for the type of addictions I believe you are asking about. At the end of this quote, I also put a link to the whole conversation which was really, really intense. I hope it answers a few questions, although it's very likely to spawn some more too.

ROCK ON.........Trish

to be honest, therapists dont know, and i'm betting in most cases the survivor doesnt understand it either. not in terms he can tell you anyway.

one theory is that we are trying to regain control. we are drawn to it because as an adult we have the control that we didnt as kids. another theory is that survivors do it so that they can try and understand what happened and make it make sense. all that is well and good, but i bet the guy doing it doesnt think in those terms.

it is very confusing and complex. speaking from my experience, the first part of it is hating yourself. when you see yourself as sick and perverted, you dont respect yourself. i had this hopelessness that made resisting very hard. it was kind of like being surrendered to it. it was my destiny kind of.

you walk around empty and unhappy, looking for that magic thing that will fill you up. you love your wife and kids, your family, but you dont love yourself and you dont love your life. you dont value anything except maybe the idea of death. the only time you escape all that is when you're having sex. when you're having sex, you focus on the sex and the pleasure, and escape the reality of all that hate for a little while.

the problem is, because sex is a thrill, a high, an escape, it becomes more than just sharing with someone you love. it becomes your drug, something meant to take away the pain. you need that edge, that something daring and thrilling to make it better than the routine of your wife. you have all these fantasies that just eat at you all the time. you think about it, dream of it, look at porn showing it, write about it, until the draw is just so powerful there is no hope of resisting. it takes on a life of its own.

at first you resist. you dont want to hurt your wife. all you want is to feel good. you wish your wife would do this or that, but are too ashamed to ask, or worse, you have asked and she doesnt want to. the urge gets stronger, you fight it, but when you hate yourself, you have no value and no worth. you arent worthy of your wife. all you are worthy of is sickness and perversion. you see no good in the world, only pain.

you get so empty and feel so isolated that everything around you loses all meaning. the only thing that can stop the pain is that high. you need that escape so bad you can't stand it. maybe you've made arrangements to meet someone over and over, and each time in a last minute battle with guilt, you make an excuse and back out. then one time, after a fight or when you are really extra down, you give in.

for a brief instant, all you feel is the pleasure. you feel the high while you are living it. you block out everything and live for the instant. for that instant, for that blink of an eye, the pain is forgotten. you know you will pay an awful price after, but for that one instant, you have relief.

when it is over, the whole cycle starts again. you feel awful for doing it. you hate yourself, and that hate builds and grows until you need that next escape, that next moment where you can forget all the pain. that is what it is like for a survivor. it isnt that you dont love your wife or girlfriend. it is that you hate yourself. it takes self esteem and self worth to be able to resist when things get bad. remove all hope and all value from a person, and he just doesnt care what happens to himself any more. if he loses you, well it is just something else he deserves and has coming. the whole time it actually has very little to do with you or his love for you. it is all about him, about his pain, about making it go away for a moment.

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#189706 - 11/02/07 09:37 PM Re: Addiction = No responsibility??? [Re: Trish4850]
MusicMan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 146
Loc: Elmira, NY
Wow, Trish, what an excellent post. This is addiction! And I agree that all addicts have to make a choice. The addiction is beyond the control of the addict. However, there is help out there - all kinds of help. Every addict can make the choice to reach out and find help. If he or she chooses to act out instead of reach, then they are to be held accountable for their actions.

With all of the help with support groups, etc., that is out there, there is no reason for addicts not to make good choices instead of making their lives and everyone else's lives around them full of hurt.

God bless,
John, The Music Man

#189799 - 11/03/07 04:07 PM Re: Addiction = No responsibility??? [Re: MusicMan]
KeithR Offline

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 363
Loc: Georgia
Trish, this is an excellent post. It covers many of the feelings I had, and some feelings that were obvioulsy there for me, that I never acknowledged.

Molly, when I first started recovery, I didn't know what the Hell was going on. I mean I didn't even realize I needed to start recovery. I just thought this was the way I was and I there was nothing I could do about it. I had really justified every single action that I took to point where I believed it was ok at the time. It's so stupid now, looling back as to how I could think all these things were ok. They were deceitful, hurtful, shameful, irresponsible and downright dangerous. Over a period of time though, each little step into this addcition, seemed to become "acceptable". This is bizarre since I was able to function while keeping this it the dark. I had a very good job, which I thougt I doing just fine at.

So how does it happen? I wish I knew. It's not that I had a choice. I had thousands and thousands of choices. I made the wrong one every time to get me to point where it was out of my control. Each one of those thousands of choices was small, though. Many were seemingly insignificant, inconsequential so I thought. Addictions are "cunning and baffling" as the 12 step literature says.

As I said, I had somehow convinced myself that nothing was wrong with me, at the very height of my addictive behavior. After 2 or 3 full days fighting with my wife, I thought, maybe something is wrong. I found sexual addiction on the internet,a and decided to take a test. Boy, did I pass. That's when I started recovery in a 12 step program.

It was at least another couple of weeks or so, before I began therapy and began to connect any of this to my childhood sexual abuse. As many, if not all women have said... men can be sooooo stupid.

I believe that the CSA and the addiction are an "explanation" for the things I did as an adult. I can use them as an "excuse", because I AM responsible, as shameful as that is to say. I do say that I want another chance. I understand I have no right to ask for one, and that's in the hands of my spouse.

If I can leave you with some bit of hope, please read the end of the interview with Curtis St. John (page 16) that is in the current MS newsletter.

I hope this helps some.



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