We don’t often think about what is going on behind the scenes of our brains when we are in our mind. Hearing the voice in our head, our internal narrative, witnessing the mechanics of our thoughts, we don’t always consider the complicated programming taking place in the wiring of our brain. For example, we might witness the way our mind works in evaluating a decision. We think something through, we weigh the pros and cons, we try on an option, we try on another option, and then we make a choice. We choose, and then we might choose again. Changing our mind typically comes with a bit of stress and anxiety. After already making a decision, we struggle to make a new one. What will happen if we change our mind? What does it mean when we change our mind? What if we make the wrong choice? Sometimes, changing our mind is swift and confident. A quick realization informs us that a different choice is necessary. With ease, we change our minds and ask no questions.
Men who have developed an addiction to drugs and alcohol have impaired their ability to choose. The way that drugs and alcohol alter the brain’s structure impacts decision making capabilities. Men who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and men who enter an active recovery from drugs and alcohol, are familiar with indecision and changing their mind. Many men swear solemn oaths to themselves that they will not use drugs or drink alcohol again, only to curtly change their minds. In the early stages of recovery, men are made aware of their impaired decision making and find themselves changing their mind about everything from getting out of bed to what they want to eat to how they feel. Later in recovery, as men reprogram their brains once more and heal their cognitive functions, they change their minds less often, or at least with less contemplation.
The prefrontal cortex is behind the brain’s “…ability to abruptly stop or modify a planned behavior,” as Scientific American explains in “The Neuroscience Of Changing Your Mind”. Johns Hopkins University had new research published in Neuron, the article reports, which “…concluded that last-minute decision-making is a lot more complicated than previously known, involving complex neural coordination among multiple brain areas, specifically the prefrontal cortex and the eye field.” When the mind is suddenly changed, different areas of the brain engage in a sort of chemical conversation. Though we change our minds, we don’t change our brain. “…Changing our minds even mere milliseconds after making a decision is often too late to alter a movement or behavior,” the article explains.
When men change their mind about addiction and choose recovery, it is never too late. Through treatment programs like the ones offered at Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, men can dramatically alter their behaviors by creating sustainable change. In the process, men discover freedom from addiction.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474