Can an addict control their behavior?

It happened over the weekend. My precious, sweet, sometimes precocious toddler transformed into a full blown maniac, hell bent on doing what she wants-when she wants.  She spent the last three days doing things she must know are “wrong” and would upset me. Like drowning her brand new teddy bear in the dog water. But as I attempted to intervene, the sheer joy of said behavior seemed to also drown out my cries of “stop”, “no, no,” and “Doggie bowls aren’t for Teddy bears.”

She’s changed. She totally stopped listening. I mean totally. Before this weekend, I could get her to stop by threatening time out.

But now? She’s become defiant, compulsive and manipulative. And though I know she’s not doing any of this to hurt me, it feels like she is.

Especially every time I look at her after she’s just smacked me across the face and I see her smirking.

And every time I say, “Does Ellie need a time out?” and she smiles, and shakes her head yes.

I think, Crap. She KNOWS what she’s doing and she’s still doing it! On purpose! Ouch!

And then, I think about addiction.

Alcohol and drug abuse are like that. You look at your loved one and think, “What the Hell? Don’t you see what you’re doing to me? You must know that what you’re doing is wrong, bad, terrible, and hurtful. Why don’t you just listen to me? Are you getting a kick out of this?”

After I made the connection to my toddler and addiction, I remembered Dan Siegel’s work with explaining the brain. He’s a leading neurobiology expert.

Now, I must say, I am going to try and explain it. But listen to me when I tell you that I hear things, then I absorb them, then I retell them to teach what I teach. Dan doesn’t work in addiction. I do. So, I may butcher his original intention in my explanation, but it will be perfectly perfect in explaining addiction.

Also, when I first started working in addiction, 6 years ago, I spent a years studying our executive director. He’s our PhD. And I sat in on hundreds of hours of his brain groups. “The science of addiction and recovery” just so that I could dumb it down and teach it a way that made sense to me.

I’m a simple girl and I like simple explanations.

So, here we go…the toddler brain and the addict brain. Are they doing this on purpose?

Watch the video now.

I hope you enjoyed the video! Please subscribe. I think when you do, it helps get bumped up or something in the rating system so that more people get to see the video. And my goal is to help as many people as possible. So thanks for helping me help more people.

You can also do that by sharing this with your friends who are raising toddlers or who have addiction in their family.

With Love, Heidi

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