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Addiction Thinking Time Distortion

There are so many cliche phrases about time – Time waits for no one, Time flies, Does anybody really know what time it is?  The passage of time is both a personal experience and something that can be specifically recorded.  And practically everything in our society today is regulated by what time it is, how long it took, when something is coming up, and so on.  Take a look with me at how an addict understands time.

Purpose of Addiction ThinkingAddiction Distorts Passage of Time

The entire function of addiction thinking is to allow the addiction to continue.  Pretty basic and simple.  It stirs logic around in such a way that things really don’t make sense to a healthy person on the outside.  Many people wonder why smart and talented people fall into this kind of thinking. 

Distorted thinking is a hallmark of mental illness and drug addiction.  It shuts down a person’s judgment and logic that would otherwise make them back away from the addiction.  One very clear example is distortion of time.

Drug Addicts Dont Need Drug Rehab Because They Can Quit Anytime

When you ask them why they don’t go to drug rehab, they say they don’t need drug rehab because they can quit anytime.  They could because they have quit for short or long periods over the years.  They count time periods of sobriety as “quitting” drinking or using drugs.  You are actually talking about quitting as in not doing it anymore.  Since they have done their version of quitting so many times, they’re already way ahead of you. 

The part that doesn’t seem to connect is the fact that they also restart their using each time they have quit.  Remember, the purpose of addiction thinking is to allow the drug use to continue.  Their recollection of time passing does not connect the restarting and how that ends their effort to quit.  If the addict made this connection, they might see it as a healthy person would see it – multiple failed attempts to control their drug use.  Oddly, the addict sees this as “evidence” of their control.  This supports their resistance to drug treatment.

Drug Addiction Makes Time Very Short Term

Addiction gets a person into the pattern of seeking immediate gratification.  Or, the person may have already been somewhat like that before the addiction.  Either way, everything an addict does is judged on how it will affect them positively or negatively in the next few moments.  If they need a hit or a drink now, anything else mostly goes out the window and the pursuit is on.  That’s how days get interrupted, activities get sidetracked, and promises get broken. 

There’s also the more obvious experience of being high or drunk that makes practically everything distorted.  Thoughts are easily derailed, focus becomes iffy, emotions run the show, and whatever is going on right now gets the most attention.   Months and years can go down the drain with an addiction.  For the addict it is just moment to moment with limited ability to sense long term past or future. 

Drug Treatment Takes Time And Helps With Time

Drug treatment can help an addict regain their grip on the concept of time.  It can be challenging for everyone sometimes.  But addiction erodes this ability enough that a recovering addict really needs support to rebuild their life.  They cannot just snap out of it and know what to do.  It takes patience and, fittingly, a lot of time to learn how to observe and use time well.

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