On Substance Abuse and Causation Fallacy by Justin Krever

As a person that has struggled with substance abuse issues for a number of years, I’ve had the “luxury” of attending myriad detox’s and rehab facilities.

Generally speaking, I always find them to be rather cathartic. I’ve never had a “bad” experience (so to speak).

I do want to briefly discuss one issue, though. Invariably when you situate yourself in the “rehab community”, whether it be 12 step meetings, detox, rehab, or the myriad other choices available, you will be asked certain questions, ad nauseam.

One question that I”m always asked is “what ‘triggers’ your use / indulgence”?
The notion that use of a substance is the effect of an exposure to a specific stimuli and your subjective analysis of said stimuli is quintessentially endemic in “recovery culture”.

I posit that, a stimulus and your subjective cognitive understanding and perception of “said stimulus” is not at all required to engender the desire to use your “substance of choice”.

The notion that “we” as “individuals” are arbiters of the brain and neurology is patently false. We are not the cause, but rather the effect. We are not arbiters of the brain. We are “abstractions” defined and characterized by the totality of all activity that occurs within the brain.

The brain has a natural propensity to release certain chemicals (Serotonin and Dopamine quite famously, among others). This propensity is an absolute inherent facet of the brain, predicated upon hundreds and hundreds of generations of natural selection, genetic drift and random genetic mutation.

If we accept this premise, than it reasonably follows that a stimulus is not necessary to create an impetus. The brain, by virtue of it’s very essence is already predisposed to ensuring the release of certain “pleasure inducing” chemicals.

Why do throngs of humans congregate in buildings, to worship and praise a “deity” who’s existence is dubious every single Sunday? Do they require a specific “stimuli” to cause the impetus?

The impetus to release certain chemicals is a fundamental part of brain function. It’s inherent. It does not require a specific “specific stimulus”.

It’s imperative that we remind ourselves that “we” don’t control the brain. We are the “EFFECT” of the brain.

In closing, I contend that there need not be a stimuli to create an impetus that already exists. If the impetus is inherent, then it need not an “external cause”.

12 Step Programs like “AA” and rehabilitation centers do not boast high success rates. I don’t expect them to. By the same token, I don’t expect the superstitious to cease and desist from attending their church mass every Sunday, and gazing up at the ceiling while mumbling incoherent gibberish to an omnibenevolent “god” who is is perfectly “righteous”, but not QUITE “righteous enough” to bother to prove himself objectively.

That’s my two cents on the matter, and I stick to it.

I wish wellness upon all of you.

– Justin Krever