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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: When working with addictions, it is vitally important to understand the role that predictability and the desire for predictability has in a person’s life.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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The repetition of these behaviors creates habit; and with any habit, a person comes to know just what he is going to experience.  If it is...

The repetition of these behaviors creates habit; and with any habit, a person comes to know just what he is going to experience.  If it is the habit of drinking to the point of intoxication, if it is indulging in pornography or smoking pot, a person tends to know what will happen. He knows that he will get high; that he will feel differently in his body and his mind than he currently feels.  He knows what exhilaration he will feel; what lack of inhibition he’ll experience. (He also “knows,” though this knowledge may be sequestered in hidden recesses of his mind, that there will be a low, a let down, and a reoccurring need to get high again.)
This method of instating a sense of predictability provides a way to feel in control of one’s life, especially when dealing with a vast portion of life experience which feels outside of that control. The feeling of being out of control, and thus terribly vulnerable, is a core component of anxiety. Much of what causes suffering is unpredictable: a sudden change in a person’s finances; an abrupt end to a relationship; a loss. Of course, there are predictable occurrences in life and these too can cause pain and suffering.  With any significant change in a person’s life, there may be feelings of powerlessness, lack of control – often challenging a person’s stability and well-being. And when dealing with what is not changing in a person’s life – disturbing feelings of stagnation and ennui -- there is often an accompanying feeling of powerlessness.  A person who uses some substance is trying to reinstate a sense of control. He or she is trying to cope. The result, however, often falls quite short of the intention.  A life of alcoholism becomes a chaotic life. The effects of chronic marijuana use or pornography often contribute to a life without direction, one of futility and stagnation. As one client put it when describing his drinking, his thoughts were mostly focused throughout the day on getting the next drink, and thus his job and his family life suffered.

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