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Must We Obey Addictive Urges and Impulses?

Addiction impulsesAddictive urges and impulses are those moments when you feel an “irresistible” desire, craving or impulse to do something.

That something might be: drink, smoke, gamble, watch porn, binge, yell at someone, bite your nails, or just about anything you feel compelled to do.

Must we obey addictive impulses and ultimately regret our actions?

The answer is either yes or no, right?

If the answer were an unequivocal yes – we have no choice but to obey – then we could say that no one would have self-control. And millions of people who suddenly felt the impulse to “jump” off a cliff when they stood at the edge, well, they’d be dead. If you’ve ever disobeyed an impulse, then you have the capacity to resist.

Why, then, do we not simply resist addictive urges? It’s safe to say that anyone with addictive impulses in one area of life – say, food – actually disobeys impulses in other areas of life. If you can’t resist food when the impulse grabs you, there are probably other areas of life where you can and do resist similar impulses. Perhaps you can’t resist food, but you can resist drugs, alcohol, your temper, and so on. The ability to ignore impulses is within you, but not active in your area of weakness.

Does the solution involve strengthening your ability to resist in the area of weakness so that you can ignore those impulses, just as you ignore so many other wild impulses throughout your week? Or is there something inherent in your area of weakness that makes it impossible to resist? If such were the case, there would be no hope for recovery. And perhaps no one would over recover from addiction.

There must be an option to disregard the impulse. Yet, such impulses are often so compelling as to sweep our rational minds away. This is just a brainstorm that leads to a question: Is it worth researching how to strengthen your ability to resist addictive impulses in your area of weakness?

Must We Obey Addictive Urges and Impulses?

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2018). Must We Obey Addictive Urges and Impulses?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 13 Feb 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Feb 2018
Published on All rights reserved.