Sometimes, we learn habits that don’t really solve the problem. They solve the feeling, instead. These habits are the ones we label as addictions, because they are dysfunctional. They obscure our ability to identify the actual problem. They fool us into thinking we’ve solved a problem. These habits are called addictions. If we all have this capability or forming habits of thought, then we can all potentially develop addictions, if we learn ineffective habits of thought. In some of us, there is a predisposition for this kind of thinking and habit forming, but even there, the predisposition doesn’t get activated unless the environment puts stress on the individual, and they develop the had habit. That’s why it’s bad luck, I think.
It comes down to genetics, plain and simple. Toss out all the stigma attached to addiction and alcoholism, all the aguments for weak, sick, mentally ill, amoral, and criminal…while some addicts may be one or more of those things, especially mentally ill (co-occurring disorders is actually receiving more attention due to its high occurence), it all boils down to some of us hit the genetic lottery.
We all have addictive personalities, because we all have the capability of automatic behavior. Our brains are parsimonious with the use of problem-solving capability. We don’t need to spend time solving problems we’ve solved before. One of the brain’s functions is to have a good problem recognition capability, so it can automatically deploy previously used solutions when the problem is similar enough to a problem solved in the past. Doing this automatically, reserves brain power for more interesting problems, such as gaining status or finding people to reproduce with. Anyone could develop a solution that fixes feelings without solving underlying problems. People whose brain architecture predisposes them towards this kind of behavior are at greater risk, but we are all capable of getting into the habit of deploying non-solving solutions. It’s bad luck if it happens. It means you had an environment that triggered a normal feature of the brain to work in an unfortunate way.