How the Unconscious Mind Fuels Addiction

by | Sep 19, 2020 | Addiction

unconscious minds

You may not be consciously aware of it, but your mind has the power to fuel your addictions. Your rational mind helps you make conscious decisions based on logic and facts. In contrast, your unconscious mind thrives on automatic behaviors. All of your experiences and observations condition you to think and behave a certain way.

While you made the conscious decision to have your first sip of alcohol, your unconscious brain runs with that decision and makes it an automatic behavior that you desire. Sober Life wants to help you learn about how your unconscious mind fuels your addictions so that you can overcome your addictions and be more aware of the decisions you are making in your recovery.

Experiences Shape Your Reality

Your reality is made up of all of your experiences, observations, assumptions, and conclusions. Your reality is what you know to be true. Just because your reality makes sense to you does not mean that it is the reality for everyone. You may have heard the story about a group of blind men touching different parts of an elephant.

They all believe that they are touching different things because they are blind and cannot see the entire animal. This is their reality and what they believe to be true. What they cannot discern is that their piece of reality does not make up the true reality. This concept is true for everyone. You see your part of reality based on all of your experiences.

The more experiences that you have that are similar, the more your unconscious mind takes over. You begin to make assumptions and come to conclusions based on your experiences and observations. Furthermore, your unconscious mind drives you to seek out information that will confirm your reality; this is called confirmation bias.

For example, you may have a belief that alcohol can help you enjoy certain social situations. Your unconscious mind has driven you to believe this because there always seems to be alcohol in social situations. You confirm this belief when you think about your friends and their drinking habits.

The more experiences that confirm this belief, the deeper ingrained this belief becomes in your unconscious mind. The longer you hold this belief, the harder it is to change. Your unconscious mind is a powerful force that can rule your life.

Experiences That You Can No Longer Ignore

Although you hold a strong belief that alcohol can be beneficial to you, you may have experiences that contradict this belief. Because of confirmation bias, you will try to throw out the experiences that remind you that your belief may not be true. You can reject those thoughts all you want, but there is probably a small part of you that lingers on the negative experience, and you can’t reject this forever.

The lingering part will crawl from your unconscious mind into your conscious mind until you confront it. For one person, it may be the constant hangovers they deal with after a night of drinking. For others, it could be the loss of a job that makes them confront the lingering thought. Reaching this breaking point isn’t always pretty, but it’s a situation that arises for everyone that has thought about recovering from their addictions.

If you want to act upon these experiences that contradict your reality, you’re going to have to bring your unconscious to the forefront of your mind. You’re going to have to do the work to consider that what you believe might not be true. It’s difficult, but getting sober is worth it.

Exploring Your Unconscious

A lingering thought that you have about wanting to recover from an addiction has the power to change your life and set you on the path to recovery. Seize the power that is in that lingering thought and visualize how you can be successful. There may be some unconscious thoughts in your mind that place a large amount of blame on yourself.

You may feel frustration, shame, and embarrassment when you think about your addiction. Refusing to let that judgment burden you is essential if you want to recover. Coming to terms with your situation takes patience, but it isn’t impossible. Realizing that you have a habit of drinking to cope with difficult feelings means that you realize that you have been drinking on autopilot.

To bring this habit to your conscious mind, try to practice being more mindful of your habits. Instead of instinctively reaching for that glass of wine with dinner, notice how you are feeling and why you think you need that drink. Realize that you will not actually get the pleasure you think you will from that glass of wine.

Try to not justify your desire for alcohol and stop making excuses for yourself to drink. It’s time you put in the effort to discover why you use substances in the first place. What feelings are you trying to mask? Sober Life can help with this and so much more.

If you are struggling to get a firm grip on your addiction, Sober Life can help. We offer many addiction recovery programs that can be beneficial to you. Call our staff today at (619) 304-3014. We want to speak with you and help get you on track for your recovery journey. We can help you explore your unconscious mind and bring your feelings regarding your substance use to the forefront. Call us now for more information. We can’t wait to speak with you.

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