Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.
-Viktor E. Frankl
A very important aspect behind the mechanics of addiction is that of automaticity. When our addictions establish themselves, they do so by slowly eroding and circumventing our conscious ability to choose. While we don’t lose the ability to make choices completely, this slow erosion inevitably interrupts our ability to simply choose not to indulge in whatever additive behavior or substance is fueling this process. Furthermore, this erosion affects both our physical and emotional processes simultaneously, corroding our ability to make choices ever more deeply. In our recovery from addiction, then, we must learn to slow down the process of stimulus/response enough to become aware of the very moment when we have been triggered and an automatic reactionary process is underway. Although difficult, if we can train ourselves to notice this small emotional space, it will eventually become easier to expand it, allowing us to respond consciously instead of automatically. Within this ability lies the potential for greater and greater emotional freedom since we will be less and less tied to automatic reactions, replacing them with conscious responses.