What is the root cause of addiction?

Update, 7/24/17: Bill Chisholm, a yoga teacher and practitioner from way back, sends me this very relevant post re:  addiction. Note again, that our basic need is to attune to Earth’s energies — and the body is one’s primary earth location!: 

The Power of Trauma Sensitive Yoga

This nation is in the grip of an exceedingly dangerous opioid epidemic. Add that to cigarettes, alcohol, pharmaceutical and other drugs, constant need for sex, screen time, fast food, sugar, wheat, coffee, on and on. Anything we need constantly, and which, even as we scratch that itch, does not really satisfy, qualifies as an addiction.

As one who worked, back in my 40s, for seven long years nearly full-time (via dreams, synchronicities, journals, the writings of C.J. Jung, and periodic discussions with certain female friends) to consciously process the memories of the one I called “Orphan Annie”— whose pain stemmed from emotional abandonment by her depressed mother, paralyzed with fear that her husband would never return from World War II — I can give a resounding YES to this addiction doc’s diagnosis that all addictions stem from adverse childhood experiences that leave us ever after nursing certain ritualized behaviors in a impossible attempt to quell the buried or not so buried pain.

I called my process, back then, “Face, Embrace, Erase!” — and still consider it a good slogan, if we realize that “erase” does not mean obliterate a memory, but neutralize the emotion attached to it.

My addiction was to cigarettes. Had I not been finally able to release them, I would have not been able to set a firm foundation for my life. Even now, nearly 30 years later, I know I cannot take a single puff. Instead, as an “addictive personality,” I chose good addictions to replace the bad — to yoga, chikung, taiji. And guess what? Good addictions DO satisfy.

Addiction doc says: It’s not the drugs, it’s  the ACEs — adverse childhood experiences


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2 Responses to What is the root cause of addiction?

  1. The premise does not align with research. The root cause of addiction is something called cellular adaptation. More effective coping mechanisms are needed to combat early childhood trauma. Recent research indicates trauma alters genes therefore can be passed down rendering offspring more vulnerable. Finally, every child that has been traumatized does not become addicted.

    • Ann Kreilkamp says:

      I don’t think the article implies that every traumatized child becomes addicted. As for genes, yes it does seem that trauma alters genes, and so the traces of ancestors’ trauma can be passed down genetically. It’s also the case that free will alters, not only behavior, but genes as well. The point is, we always sit at the point of the present moment, free to turn one way or another, towards new ways of acting, thinking, feeling, being — or we can continue to be stuck in old patterns. I see this in myself, over and over again. And will often just break up a pattern, no matter how benign, just to juggle myself loose.

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