Why It Only Takes One Time

An addiction is not something you can easily shake without professional help.

Researchers say that it takes anywhere from 2 to 8 months to form a habit.

That is a huge range as everyone is different, and not everything is as easy to assimilate into daily life as others.

But on a rough average, we are looking at about 66 days to form a habit.

But that doesn’t come close to telling the whole story.

While some things take much longer than that to become a habit, some things take much less time, as little as one time. Those things that become instant habits are what you have to worry about the most.

That is because they bypass the cognitive process of reason and analysis, and go straight for the pleasure center.

One should always be suspicious of substances that become habitual too quickly.

There is a fine line between habitual and addictive.

A habit really is something that one can break pretty easily. An addiction is not something you can easily shake without professional help.

Drugs and alcohol fall into the category of things that can become addictions after just one experiment.

habit cues routine and reward cycle

 

Here’s why:

 

We Underestimate the Danger

We live in an age where it is possible for all of one’s celebrity heroes to be well-known drug abusers or addicts.

Whatever his ultimate cause of death, Prince had a well-documented struggle with opioids. It is impossible to look at so many artistic geniuses and not feel like all the handwringing over illicit drugs is somewhat overblown.

If it was so bad, how could they have produced so much great work for so long?

Facilities that offer drug rehab for young men are filled with people who felt the same way.

They learned the hard way that starting the habit was easy. Stopping takes time and commitment.

Fortunately, there are facilities that cater to young men who chose the wrong influences and followed the wrong path.

No matter how many Just Say No campaigns there are, there are even more messages that say that drugs and alcohol abuse is no big deal.

Budweiser just rebranded itself “America” for the summer.

What could possibly be bad about indulging in a case of America? With so many such messages, addiction is almost inevitable for a certain percentage of the population.

 

We Overestimate Our Children

Whenever there is a crime involving a teen, a weepy parent is trotted out for the cameras professing that they refuse to believe their perfect little angel could have been involved in such a thing.

There must surely be some mistake.

Indeed there is some mistake.

It is that the parent overestimated the virtue of their precious little angel. All parents are somewhat delusional.

They think they are doing a better job raising their kids than they really are.

There are things you must discuss with your kids.

For starters, they have to be taught whom to admire and emulate. They need to be taught how to pick the right friends, and how to know which in-groups are worth the effort.

Kids need to be taught the difference between pranks and crimes

They especially need to know what to do in moderation, and what needs to be left untried.

Without that instruction, the one thing they should never try is higher up on the list of things they are likely to try.

 

Some Are Genetically Predisposed

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Genetics make up 50% of the risk for alcohol and drug dependence.

It is not the only factor.

But it is the single biggest one. For such a person, one drink, one smoke, one pill is enough to trigger addiction.

Even if you don't get full-on addiction with the first dose, it is possible to get on the road to addiction that easily.

This is made possible because despite what we know about drugs and alcohol, as a society, we continue to underestimate the danger.

Despite what we know about human Nature, we continue to overestimate our kids.

And despite what we know about genetics, we take the first drink despite (as Hank Williams Jr. put it) our family tradition.

 

What’s Your Opinion?

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An aging Yank living in Seattle, Washington.

Gary – who has written posts on GeekandJock.