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Addiction. Is it just an execuse to behave irrationally, or can it be a legitimate problem? I'm speaking purely of psychological addiction, here, as opposed to chemical addiction. I've come to believe from my own experiences that no matter how addicted I thought I was to some activity, I've had the power to choose not to, but I chose to carry on, and that by calling it an addiction I was merely abdicating responsibility for my actions to some unreachable, uncontrollable force (the addiction). If this is the case, I was behaving immorally the whole time. Anyone care to comment?

EDIT: Another thing I intended to mention but forgot. A psychologist I speak to thinks that sometimes a feeling can be just too strong to ignore, and therefore addictions are real. If you accept this is that a rejection of free will? I figured if I started thinking that way, I would make it real...

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Addiction. Is it just an execuse to behave irrationally, or can it be a legitimate problem? I'm speaking purely of psychological addiction, here, as opposed to chemical addiction.

Both. It's an (invalid) excuse to behave irrationally that causes legitimate problems.

I've come to believe from my own experiences that no matter how addicted I thought I was to some activity, I've had the power to choose not to, but I chose to carry on, and that by calling it an addiction I was merely abdicating responsibility for my actions to some unreachable, uncontrollable force (the addiction). If this is the case, I was behaving immorally the whole time. Anyone care to comment?
I would say that you were behaving immorally the whole time. I know I was. I recently put to rest a serious gambling problem that caused immense problems in my life. I absolutely had the power to stop; I just never made the decision to do so. If you are in the midst of a destructive behavior, its a lot easier to point the finger at somebody or something else (I always blamed my problems on a monster inside me called Gamblor :) ) rather than taking responsibility for your actions.

The tricky thing about addictions, at least in my case, is that they are used as an escape from your problems. When I went to the casino, it was like taking a break from reality and nothing mattered except the game until the casino closed. Spending so much time up there (regardless of whether I won or lost) took away from every other aspect of my life and soon my life was in utter shambles. But what did I decide to do rather than deal with these problems? I went and played cards! Even though this was the root of all my problems!

Breaking an addiction such as this one is still very difficult even after making the decision to stop. It takes a lot of discipline and self-esteem, something that you lose if you are willingly engaged in an activity that has been destroying you for an extended period of time.

But the bottom line is that human beings are volitional, you can choose to do or not do whatever you want. There are no magical powers (or monsters) that force you to do anything. All you have to do is make the right choices.

EDIT: Another thing I intended to mention but forgot. A psychologist I speak to thinks that sometimes a feeling can be just too strong to ignore, and therefore addictions are real. If you accept this is that a rejection of free will? I figured if I started thinking that way, I would make it real...

I would not say this is a rejection of free will. Some feelings are indeed too strong to ignore. But instead of immediately acting on these feelings like an animal does, recognize the source of these feelings, why you are having them, and then make a rational choice on what the best way to react to them is. To say that you have no control over your actions is a form of evasion (sometimes a very persuasive one).

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Both.  It's an (invalid) excuse to behave irrationally that causes legitimate problems.

That makes sense.

I would say that you were behaving immorally the whole time.  I know I was.  I recently put to rest a serious gambling problem that caused immense problems in my life.  I absolutely had the power to stop; I just never made the decision to do so.  If you are in the midst of a destructive behavior, its a lot easier to point the finger at somebody or something else (I always blamed my problems on a monster inside me called Gamblor  :)  ) rather than taking responsibility for your actions. 
This is encouraging to hear. My addiction has been of a very similar nature to gambling. I never thought to give a name for it (Gamblor, sounds pretty funny :)) and perhaps that is just as well.

The tricky thing about addictions, at least in my case, is that they are used as an escape from your problems.  When I went to the casino, it was like taking a break from reality and nothing mattered except the game until the casino closed.  Spending so much time up there (regardless of whether I won or lost) took away from every other aspect of my life and soon my life was in utter shambles.  But what did I decide to do rather than deal with these problems?  I went and played cards!  Even though this was the root of all my problems!

Can't but nod my head in agreement.

Breaking an addiction such as this one is still very difficult even after making the decision to stop.  It takes a lot of discipline and self-esteem, something that you lose if you are willingly engaged in an activity that has been destroying you for an extended period of time.

But the bottom line is that human beings are volitional, you can choose to do or not do whatever you want.  There are no magical powers (or monsters) that force you to do anything.  All you have to do is make the right choices.

And again. This is what I have been thinking for a while, but hearing it from someone else is reassuring.

I would not say this is a rejection of free will.  Some feelings are indeed too strong to ignore.  But instead of immediately acting on these feelings like an animal does, recognize the source of these feelings, why you are having them, and then make a rational choice on what the best way to react to them is.  To say that you have no control over your actions is a form of evasion (sometimes a very persuasive one).

I may have misstated what he actually said. The intended meaning was: "Some feelings are too strong not to obey" not "to ignore". Which is a different thing entirely and you might agree with me that that is untrue? If a feeling can be so strong that you can't do anything but obey it, that negates free will doesn't it? Or maybe just in that one context, though I don't know if such a manifestation of feeling is possible unless you have something wrong with your brain...

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(Gamblor, sounds pretty funny :))

I actually got that from an episode of The Simpson's where Marge has a gambling problem.

I may have misstated what he actually said. The intended meaning was: "Some feelings are too strong not to obey" not "to ignore". Which is a different thing entirely and you might agree with me that that is untrue? If a feeling can be so strong that you can't do anything but obey it, that negates free will doesn't it? Or maybe just in that one context, though I don't know if such a manifestation of feeling is possible unless you have something wrong with your brain...

I would agree that the revised statement "Some feelings are too strong not to obey" is untrue because it is indeed a negation of free will.

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I might have something to add. I'm not sure if the particular addiction being discussed is chemical in nature, but if so, that lends another dimension to the process of removal. I recently kicked a nicotine habit, which is a chemical addiction that quickly and insidiously becomes a mental/psychological addiction. While I have not written anything on my experiences, the process (similar to my own) is documented at Don Watkin's Anger Management. It is an interesting, more epistemological, study of addiction, particularly nicotine.

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I'm speaking purely of psychological addiction, here, as opposed to chemical addiction.

What can be said about Henry Cameron's drinking 'problem'? Was it psychological or chemical?

I don't think there are two categories of addiction - because virtually all chemical addictions have a psychological root cause. Addiction is a psychological problem, period.

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What can be said about Henry Cameron's drinking 'problem'? Was it psychological or chemical?

I don't think there are two categories of addiction - because virtually all chemical addictions have a psychological root cause. Addiction is a psychological problem, period.

You can't possibly put the addiction to booze and the addiction to Heroin in the same category. You can stop drinking anytime, and the only effect you'll have is having to face your problems again.

Stop taking Heroin for a while, and the physical reactions are tremendous. You'll have troubles sleeping, eating, digesting, or enjoying yourself in any way.

Of course you can stop taking Heroin, your volition is not stipped away - but it DOES cause something extra to mere psychological dependency.

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You can't possibly put the addiction to booze and the addiction to Heroin in the same category. You can stop drinking anytime, and the only effect you'll have is having to face your problems again.

Except of course for DT's.

Alcohol has some pretty strong withdrawal symptoms. Not as strong as Heroin for sure, but it does have a chemical element which increases with continued or heavy use.

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Yes, I guess any substance when you take it at these ENOURMOUS qualtities for a long time has SOME withrawal symptoms.

But AA is not built around those chemical reactions, but around the real problems of alcoholics - the psychological ones that make them WANT to get drunk.

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Yes but unfortunately AA's approach is to substitute the psychological dependence on God for the dependence on chemicals, which I suppose is the lesser of two evils, but unfortunately puts struggling people in a terrible position. I don't think they really deal with those Psychological issues, they just *switch hit*.

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EDIT: Another thing I intended to mention but forgot. A psychologist I speak to thinks that sometimes a feeling can be just too strong to ignore, and therefore addictions are real. If you accept this is that a rejection of free will? I figured if I started thinking that way, I would make it real...

A psychologist who says "sometimes a feeling can be just too strong to ignore" is (by implication) saying that it is normal and healthy to ignore "less strong" feelings. This attitude is wrong and harmful to one's well-being.

Feelings/emotions are value responses to some aspect of perceived reality. They cannot be "commanded" out of existence. In "The Disowned Self" , Dr. Branden tells us emotions follow a natural course of their own. An emotion is first experienced, it is then expressed in some form of bodily behavior, and then it is discharged.

Repressing emotions can lead to all sorts of problems. Brandon shows us that it is unnecessary. It is possible to experience and acknowledge all emotions without being compelled to act on them. They must all be taken seriously though. They provide feedback about your values (whether right or wrong).

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Yes but unfortunately AA's approach is to substitute the psychological dependence on God for the dependence on chemicals, which I suppose is the lesser of two evils, but unfortunately puts struggling people in a terrible position.  I don't think they really deal with those Psychological issues, they just *switch hit*.

While what you say is true, I don't know that it necessarily goes against the basic principles of objectivism and rationality. One of these principles seems to be that without living or being conscious, there is no possible way to value anything. And that the values of a rational person are those things which help him to go on living. Though it may not be true for the average person, an alcoholic or other addict is in a unique situation wherein the prescribed program of recovery including dependence upon a "god" of some kind is the only thing which will save his life. Since the fundamental desire to preserve his own life is usually the primary reason an addict will make the attempt to recover using AA or another one of these programs, it seems that it can't be that far out of line with objective values.

Furthermore, while dependence on a god may be abhorrent to some, the results of this dependence can't go unrecognized. Dependence on a higher power has enabled many people not only to survive, but also to genuinely deal with various psychological problems of which alcoholism or addiction are only symptoms. Of course I am only speaking from my own experience, and perhaps I'm just being irrational in a way I'm not aware of yet. However, I've been a recovered alcoholic for years, and I haven't found an instance of true incompatibility between the two sets of principles (objectivism and my recovery program). Well, there's my food for thought. :)

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Addiction. Is it just an execuse to behave irrationally, or can it be a legitimate problem? I'm speaking purely of psychological addiction, here, as opposed to chemical addiction. I've come to believe from my own experiences that no matter how addicted I thought I was to some activity, I've had the power to choose not to, but I chose to carry on, and that by calling it an addiction I was merely abdicating responsibility for my actions to some unreachable, uncontrollable force (the addiction). If this is the case, I was behaving immorally the whole time. Anyone care to comment?

EDIT: Another thing I intended to mention but forgot. A psychologist I speak to thinks that sometimes a feeling can be just too strong to ignore, and therefore addictions are real. If you accept this is that a rejection of free will? I figured if I started thinking that way, I would make it real...

Addiction is an excuse to behave irrationality, and that is a legitimate problem.

The question is always, "Why does this addiction exist, and what do I replace it

with that is non-problematic?"

Addiction (as commonly defined) is always immoral, but the addict MAY call it

something other than immoral, through lack of knowledge about morality.

Behaving immorally but not knowing you were doing so says nothing more than

that that condition is possible.

Once you understand that it is immoral, then to continue it is active evil-doing.

-Iakeo

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