Why Freedom of Choice is not Enough – Fighting Unwanted Behavior Patterns

(The following is the beginning of one of the lessons taught in the new Eternal Warriors: Addiction Prevention Program)

How Free Agency is Effected by Biochemical Factors
            A common story that is told when trying to teach about free agency and choice is a story about a young man who went to the beach.  In my version of the story, the young man found a pool of water that was surrounded by rocks on the edge of the sea.  Because the pool of water was surrounded by rocks, the tide pushed water up and down through the rocks, making it an unsafe place to swim.  There was a sign posted that warned against the danger of swimming there. 
            As the lesson goes, the teacher will ask, “If the young man chooses to swim in this pool, what will happen?”  The wise student responds, “It might be fun for a little while, but the swimmer will probably get stuck going up and down through the rocks on the waves, will not be able to get out, and will probably get hurt.”
            The smiling teacher praises the student and follows up with, “This pool is like sins, so I remind you not to choose to swim in dangerous waters.  Move on to the safety of the flat beach with soft sand and enjoy your time in the water.  Just say ‘No’ to swimming in dangerous places.”
            This is a nice lesson, but after reading it myself and being asked to teach it to many people, I realized that there is no one I know who would chose to swim in that kind of water.  We, in this community, are not working with youth who want to mess up their lives, and they are not so dumb that they would choose to fall into destructive/ addictive activities.
            So, if this is true, then how do good, smart youth find themselves drowning in addiction?
            Let’s change the story a little bit.  This time the young man sees the sign by the pool of water, decides not to swim there, moves on to a nice, safe, warm place on the sandy beach, lays out his towel, leans back to relax, and falls asleep.
            While sleeping, some prankster sneaks up on him, injects him with a dose of liquid heroin, slips the syringe into the young man’s hand, and sneaks away.
            When the young man wakes up, he discovers that he is feeling pretty twisted, and when he sees the syringe in his own hand he is very shocked to see that he did this to himself.  (He is too altered to come to any other conclusion.) 
            In an attempt to shake off the cobwebs in his mind, he gets up and starts wobbling down the beach, accidentally toward the rocky pool of water.  When he gets to the rocky pool of water, he feels a sense of deja-vu, but can’t quite remember what the sign says by the water.  While standing there trying to read it, the same prankster sneaks up behind him and pushes him into the water, then cowardly runs and hides again. 
            As the young man struggles to swim for his life, chocking on salt water while his body is banged against the rocks, a loved one runs up to the edge of the water and calls out to him, “Why did you choose to swim here?  Did you not read the warnings?”
            Parents, Leaders, fellow Warriors:  I feel a bit like Nephi when I yell out, “Awake, awake and arise!”  It is time to understand that the battle has changed.  Too many are focused on trying to get the youth to make better choices.  It seems so obvious that if they would just choose better, they would not get caught in such a dangerous swimming hole.  I encourage all to look somewhere more subtle for the most dangerous part of the modern Satanic attack methods. 
            If you are going to win against these types of Satanic attacks, you young warriors will need to learn that Satan has found a way to attack you at biochemical levels.  If you keep watching only your thoughts and words, the enemy will be able to slide in under your radar.  A new level of the Spirit of Discernment is needed.
            If you are going to be able to peacefully and safely sleep on the beach, you are going to have to be trained to be more sensitive to the sound/feel of deviant pranksters sneaking up on you when you are not usually paying attention. 
            In addition to increased sensitivity, you young warriors are going to need to become faster and stronger in your responses to such attacks.  You are going to have to train.  You are going to need to be taught strategic responses, and you are going to have to drill them, and drill them, and drill them, until you are able to respond without having to think.  We must assume that this enemy is at least as fast as his mortal counterparts.
For the rest of the lesson and education in Addiction Prevention, call 877-HERO-877, or text “warriors2000” to 91011.

About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.