Is Substance Abuse a Choice or a Necessity?

The age old question arises on a regular basis: How much self control do we really need and how much self control do we really have? There are two schools of thought available to help us decide. The first school of thought is intent on only doing the bare minimum of what is required to live and get by. You may have enough, but lack abundance. Comfort is the name of the game, and as long as our days are not too inconvenienced by reality, we are comfortable. The second school of thought focuses on doing everything in the best manner possible. Tasks are not simply done well, they are done magnanimously and enthusiastically. We go over and above what is required of us, we feel great after completing a job well done, and we constantly look to learn and give more to our communities, our families and ourselves.

How do these two schools of thought apply to drug and alcohol abuse? Once again, studies support how perceived control over one’s life activities strongly affects abuse potential, job satisfaction, quality of work completed and efficiency of work. [1] The more perceived control which is seen by the employee, the higher their speed and quality of production. The more perceived control which is seen by the family member, the less likely they are to “take back” some of that control through unnatural and harmful behaviors, such as eating disorders, physical violence and substance abuse.

Two of several necessary human traits to possess are: survival and power. [2] All humans need both survival and power, in varying amounts of sensory feedback. If substance abuse was a necessity, than it would feed the survival need. If substance abuse was a choice, then it would feed the power need. By either theory, it fills a temporary need. However, one is a real choice (power) and the other is a false fulfillment (survival). Substance abuse does, indeed, give a feeling of power, but it does not fill any sleep, food or shelter survival requirements. With this in mind, one can conclude that the need for power is invoked by drug or alcohol abuse and that it is an actual choice, not a necessity.

How do you respond to this information? Get your employees tested on a regular basis, using high quality testing equipment from CMM Technology today (call +618-9204-2500). Keep tabs on feelings of helplessness or lifelessness among your staff and evaluate whether or not they are using this perceived lack of control to fuel their drug or alcohol abuse.

1. “Relationships Among Organizational Family Support, Job Autonomy, Perceived Control, and Employee Well-Being.” ScienceDirect – Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2011.

2. Glasser, William. Reality therapy in action . New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2000. Print.

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