Essay number twenty-nine: by The Midnight Writer
Addictions and Obsessions
Because of the way our mind works we develop habits that our subconscious mind handles for us. This is necessary to free the conscious mind from the burden of having to make decisions about everyday movements. Life would be unbearably complicated if we had to think about which muscles to use every time we wanted to stand up.
All of our habits are handled by our subconscious mind. Unfortunately our subconscious mind never makes a decision about the good or evil that may be attached to a habit. Hence we become obsessed with habits that are bad for our minds and bodies. We call these bad habits Obsessions. The obsessions attached to a chemical dependency are called Addictions. Obsessions that are not attached to a chemical dependency, in my opinion, should not be referred to as an addiction.
In this essay I will deal with the subject as obsessions only. Everything from biting your nails to taking heroine will just be considered different levels of bad habits. Everything we do that has a bad or harmful effect on us should be considered an obsession that we need to deal with in an effort to improve our lives.
The problem then becomes how to change the behavior of our subconscious mind and that is not as easy as it sounds. Obsessions connected to drugs or powerful emotions can be especially difficult to overcome.
I have heard it said that it takes thirty days to remove a bad habit from your subconscious. I doubt that it is true. I have known people who have been addicted to alcohol or nicotine and quit cold-turkey with no desire to resume. I have known others that quit and have had to struggle against the obsessions years later.
In seeking to overcome obsessions the conscious mind cannot win a fight with the subconscious mind using will power alone. Your subconscious mind is the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. Understanding how your conscious mind and subconscious mind interact is important in overcoming any obsession.
Your conscious mind forms your beliefs about right and wrong. Your subconscious mind stores and obeys your beliefs without judgement.
Think of your subconscious mind as being a computer and your conscious mind as being the computer operator. The computer will only do what it has been programed to do. It places no moral value to its operation. If the operator decides that the computer is not operating properly he cannot will the computer to change. The operator will have to reprogram the computer in order to get it to function the way he wants. Few operators know how to reprogram a computer and even fewer people know how to reprogram their subconscious mind. Will power will not reprogram your subconscious mind. You have to change your beliefs.
My mother smoked her entire adult life. When a doctor told her she had to either quit smoking or die, she quit immediately and was never tempted to start smoking again. Her belief in the doctor’s admonition changed her beliefs about smoking and the subconscious mind obeyed. It was not will power that stopped her habit; it was the change in her beliefs about smoking.
We each need to discover what works for us in stopping harmful obsessions. You may discover that a support group is the best answer. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It just means you’re human.