I don’t want to re-open the entire ‘freewillism’ debate; but I would like for you to weigh in on what part trauma, particularly in childhood, plays in adulthood addictions and compulsions.
I think the evidence is fairly conclusive that childhood trauma is a causal effect of addiction in later life. Not a necessary or a sufficient cause in itself, perhaps, but the rate of addiction in adults that had fairly severe trauma as children is roughly 2:1 compared to a ‘normal’ childhood.
In any case, I’m not an expert though I have read quite a bit on the subject. Personally I received NO help from Christian elders when I became a Christian at 17 yrs old, and continued to have severe addiction/compulsion problems. But those were different times, and advice was always along the lines of sin and judgment, prayer and just plain old ‘will-power’. So I do admit to some prejudice towards the concept of ‘free-will’, but it was many years and disappointments later that the culture began to understand that the world is not flat, and that Freud and Jung, etc, were not just blowing smoke.
Here is an excerpt for your consideration. Do you think makes any valid points? What difference do those points make?
"While a number of studies attribute the relationship between childhood trauma and addiction to disruptions in the brain structure caused by the stress of trauma, there have also been a number of other, simpler explanations proposed. In the Adverse Childhood Experiences study conducted with 17,000 Kaiser Permanente patients, many different stress-inducing experiences during childhood have been linked to various forms of substance abuse and impulse control disorders.4 Many associate childhood trauma with child abuse, but other stress-inducing and traumatic experiences linked to an elevated vulnerability to addiction include neglect, the loss of a parent, witnessing domestic or other physical violence, and having a family member who suffers from a mental illness. Those who had experienced such things during childhood have shown an increased tendency to become dependent on alcohol and drugs. They may also develop behavioral addictions such as compulsive eating and compulsive sexual behavior.
In most cases, experiences that are extremely traumatic for children would be much less traumatic for adults. But there are a couple key reasons why such occurrences have a more significant and lasting effect on children.5 It’s important to remember that children are limited in their ability to make contextual inferences that would likely allow them to process these experiences more effectively. Lacking a frame of reference, it’s difficult to make sense of traumatic experiences, making the effects of trauma more likely to linger. Additionally, children usually rely on their loved ones for support during times of difficulty. But when a child’s loved ones are the source of abuse, neglect, or other trauma during these experiences, family support is not an option. In many cases, a victim of childhood abuse begins abusing alcohol or drugs as a means of self-medicating, hoping to alleviate the residual effects of being victimized at a young age. On the other hand, it’s also common for substance abuse behavior in adulthood to be modeled after a loved one’s substance abuse behavior that had been witnessed during childhood.6 In fact, the tendency to self-medicate can be similarly modeled and passed along."