(Taken from Happy School Advanced, Week 4, The Urgent Necessity of Stopping Bad Habits. The other lessons can be found under the Happy School Advanced tab on this website.)

With advances in science, the sequence of the genome is becoming more and more understood. For example, I found out I have a genetic disorder that doesn’t expel iron easily called hemochromatosis (it’s not a problem, I just give blood regularly.) If you’ve studied genetics, you will understand that genetics and DNA are complicated on the level of how complicated the solar system is.

Yes, it’s possible you have a genetic propensity to maybe lean toward addiction. But this is a far cry from having a disease. I mean, if you don’t eat excess sugar, you can’t be impacted by the diseases that sugar causes. If you don’t use drugs, then you can’t be caught in the web of terror that comes from drug use. And if you don’t drink alcohol, you can’t get caught up in the life-sucking addiction of alcoholism. I mean, it might be harder for you than some to withdraw and abstain, but of course, you can. What you are lacking is motivation and the right thinking. People who seem to be hopelessly addicted break through and stop their addiction in a nano-second when the motivation appears. 

Of course, after the regular use of an addictive substance or activity, your brain gets hijacked and wants the dopamine hit. But you can go through withdrawal and stop. What do you think people pay thousands of dollars to rehab centers for? (I’m not making light of a heavy addiction to alcohol or drugs. Please get some help to withdraw if this is you.) Most people can stop drinking, smoking, eating sugar, doing marijuana, gambling, overspending, etc. without enrolling in a rehab program. Many rehab centers are great so please don’t hear me wrong on this. I just don’t want you using that for an excuse—that you don’t have the money, etc. to go to a rehab center— instead of simply stopping your bad habit.

It’s true that some of us have genes that set us up to be more inclined to use substances, but this is certainly not a death sentence. If you quit a bad habit because you decide it’s not good for you, no gene in the universe can make you do it. Genes maybe predispose you, but they don’t force you. People who have genes that predispose them to alcoholism never become alcoholics if they don’t ever drink. Of course you can quit any bad habit. It’s ridiculous for you to think otherwise. Addiction is not a permanent brain disease. Yes, you may currently have a “hijacked brain” but you can overcome addiction. Never say, “I’m an addict and I’ve got a disease and I can’t help it.” That is a lie and a harmful statement. 

We have to learn to gain satisfaction in life through engaging with God and others, and using our gifts. That engagement trumps addiction. You can overcome being an addict with positive relationships (Lesson 9 in Happy School), meaningful goals (Lesson 5), and knowing how to handle What’s Missing and Disappointing (WMDs) by thinking correctly (Lessons 1-3). People with addiction madness need to replace this lower nature anarchy with sane, new interests and thoughts. And that is what we are doing in Happy School and Happy School Advanced!

Another phrase that frequently gets thrown around is “some addictions are a progressive disease”. It is true that things often go downhill and get worse. However, people quit all the time when they realize their aspirations in life are being ruined. When people see that their bad habits are ruining an important area in their life, frequently they stop. Addiction is not permanently embedded in your brain. You can learn how to resist urges, and then they will greatly decrease (not go away, but subside). The hardest part is initially quitting. The 7 Mighty Steps (see the summary on page 247 in Happy School) are the secret sauce.

There are hard things in life, and many people don’t have the skills to manage how to think about hard things. But Happy School and Happy School Advanced give you these skills. This process takes some time so don’t expect everything to be perfect by Christmas. 

As you now know, it is impossible to be happy when you are mad at yourself for making harmful and damaging choices. You are a glorious human being, made in the image of God, and you can learn to choose against your Lower Self’s stupid urges. 

This concludes the 8-blog series in The Necessity of Stopping Bad Habits. You can access much free information at JulieNGordon.com under the tabs, Wife School Advanced, Skinny School Advanced, and Happy School Advanced. Study guides and workbooks are coming soon. 

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