Dr. Lance Dodes, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, offers an interesting perspective on recovery. He writes, “Don’t focus on the consequences of addiction. It’s a waste of time.”
Dodes continues, “Focusing on consequences of our behaviors does not help to stop addiction. It is a waste of valuable time that could be spent looking at its causes. The closer we pay attention to the emotional reasons for the psychological symptom we call addiction, the closer we can get to mastering it.”
Dr. Dodes makes a good point. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with an addict who had to be convinced of the consequences of his behavior. What the addict needs is a better understanding of the underlying causes, usually tied to abuse, trauma, and isolation.
It’s okay to consider the consequences of your actions. In fact, you should do that. But if you want lasting freedom, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Recovery Step: We don’t just “act out.” Addictive behaviors are the predictable result of something deeper, something the Bible calls “our own evil desire” (James 1:14). Deal with the cause, rather than the consequences, of your addiction, and you’ll be one step closer to being free.