Sunday, June 14, 2009

Addiction

I tried to listen in church today. I really did. One of my many, many foibles is my irrational irritation, even inner rage at times, when I can’t hear, can’t understand what’s being said. I would be a completely intolerable deaf person. So the first hour of church always feels like an auditory test for me. We sit in the back because we have a few kids who aren’t able to behave themselves for an hour. We end up as far as possible from the voice at the pulpit and surrounded by others with chatty little ones.

I did catch a good portion of what was said today. The topic was addiction.

Carrie Jacks talked about the things you’d normally associate with the topic: drugs, alcohol, tobacco. Things I am more than familiar with from an earlier incarnation. She also discussed a Time magazine article about cocaine and the brain. The role of dopamine and addiction. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a molecule that carries messages in the brain from one neuron to another) and it’s associated with the good stuff; pleasure, euphoria, bliss. Dopamine levels are elevated by activities that give you those feelings. According to this article though, scientists now believe that dopamine is more than just a chemical that conveys pleasure signals. It may actually be, as the article put it, “the master molecule of addiction.”

It feels connected to our battle with sin. So many sinful behaviors have the ability to make us feel mighty nice, in the short term. And the trouble with sin, it appears, is that one things leads to another. Essentially, our brains become hardwired to seek out these dopamine producing experiences. Hard wired for sin. This is where Satan comes into the picture; where we give away our agency because, “ . . . he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.” (2 Nephi 26:22). “[A]ll this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjugation unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity” (Alma 12:6). Jesus made a long story short when he said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34).

But addictions aren’t just things we take into our bodies. Carrie also talked a good deal about social networking sites and blogs. Michael gave me a sidelong glance and nodded toward the front. Yeah, she was talking about me.

I started this blog in April and haven’t missed a day since. I don’t know how to not write it. Maybe I’m addicted to sharing my thoughts. I keep Facebook open on my phone all the time and check my mail regularly. I’m definitely addicted to being connected. I was at a party last night and I spent half the time texting Michael and messaging Sarah. I need help.

Apparently Sam thinks so too. This morning in church I pulled out my phone to look up a song in the hymn book (“There’s an app for that, “ as the commercial goes) and he announced, “What’re you looking at Mom? Jesus.com?!” He’s got my number.
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1 comment:

So, what do you think?