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"The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster"

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Been doing some reading about the "lizard brain," also known as the amygdala, the very "primitive" or "reptilian" part of the human brain responsible for coordinating bodily responses, fight or flight, pleasure/reward responses, etc.  It's a major player in addictions of all kinds.  


"Everything that a dumb animal needs to survive for millions of years is found in the base brain; ask any frog, turtle, or lizard. Base brains can handle the five basic F's: Feed, Fuck, Fight or Flee, and Feel Good. (Feel good and avoid feeling bad, especially including avoid getting eaten by a big toothy predator, which really feels bad.) But we great apes have grown huge higher parts of the brain, and we have the ability to think in other channels. And sometimes, what the higher brain thinks is the opposite of what the lower brain thinks. We can logically conclude that we will get greater long-term happiness if we refrain, at least for right now, from pregnancy, or overeating, or intoxication, or drug consumption, while base brain thinks just the opposite, "Do it right now." Base brain doesn't understand "tomorrow" very well. Base brain has always demanded instant gratification. "Food now! Sex now! Feel good now!" Base brain is totally incapable of logically thinking about the long-term consequences of drinking, smoking, and drugging. Base brain can't do that any more than the toad or frog in your back yard can solve math problems."





Here are more resources on how the "lizard brain" operates in everyday human behavior:


"How many times have we done something that we said we would not do, eaten something that we said we would not eat, and said something that we said we would not say? We all know that it is a very extensive list and it happens every day."





The following article discusses how the "lizard brain" doesn't like to be laughed at, and this is why it's a huge cause of anxiety.  It also prevents people from getting creative work done.  Food for thought:



Here's one about "petting the lizard" as a technique for overcoming anxiety and living the life we really want:

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"Here are some of the standard lines that base brain, acting as the Addiction Monster, will use to try to get you to use drugs or smoke or drink:


To avoid quitting, Lizard brain argues:

  1. Frankly, I'm not ready to quit just now. [That was Bill Wilson's excuse for never quitting smoking.]
  2. I'm under too much stress to quit right now.
  3. I can't quit now — that binge last night wasn't nearly good enough to be my real final last time ever. My last time has to be really grand.
  4. That can't be the last time. I mean, that drunk wasn't big and grand enough to be the very last time. I need my last time to be something spectacular.
  5. I'll quit later when things are easier, and there isn't so much stress in my life.
  6. My drinking isn't really that bad; I don't need to quit.
  7. I don't have to really quit; maybe just cut down a little.
  8. I don't have to really quit; I just need to reduce the pain a little. Eliminate a few hassles. Simplify. Rearrange my life and make things a little better. Get rid of a few problems.
  9. I am entitled to live however I choose. Who are you to criticize how I live?
  10. If I quit smoking, I will gain weight.
  11. If I quit smoking, I won't have anything to do with my hands.
  12. Quitting is too much bother.
  13. I've smoked for 30 years, and it hasn't killed me yet. My father smoked until he was 80.
  14. That stuff about cigarettes and lung cancer hasn't really been proven. The tests were flawed.
  15. Maybe lung cancer or cirrhosis of the liver might get me, but I'm not going to worry about it. I won't let fear ruin my life.
  16. Smoking causes me to always have a lighter in my pocket. If I ever need to build a campfire to save my life, I'll have a lighter handy.
  17. If I quit drinking, all of the fun will be gone out of my life.
  18. If I quit drinking, I won't enjoy any more great parties.
  19. If I quit drinking, my drinking buddies will abandon me.
  20. If I quit drinking, there won't be any more fun Saturdays at the sports bar, downing pitchers with my buddies and cheering for our team.
  21. If I quit drinking, life won't even be worth living.
  22. Everybody deserves to be able to relax once in a while.
  23. Doesn't everybody tie one on now and then?
  24. I suffer from mental illness, so I am entitled to get stoned.
  25. I don't have to quit. Things aren't that bad.
  26. You have no idea how much pressure I'm under. I need to unwind after a hard day on the job.
  27. I have to go out drinking with my clients. Smoozing is a critical part of the job. I'd go broke if I stopped taking them out and getting them loosened up.
  28. Since I'm gonna quit tomorrow, I'm gonna get really loaded tonight. (Thanks, Thor.)
  29. I just don't have the willpower to quit and stay quit, so there is no sense in trying. I'll just fail again.
  30. Oh heck, I've got to keep something. Since I so nobly gave up alcohol (or drugs), I deserve to keep on smoking.
  31. I quit smoking, so I'm entitled to drink.
  32. I quit drinking, so I'm entitled to smoke. [Bill Wilson used that excuse for not quitting smoking, too.]
  33. Anybody can quit smoking, but it takes a real man to die of lung cancer.
  34. I quit smoking, so now I'm entitled to take a few tranquilizers or pain pills.
  35. It would be more stress on my body to quit than to continue doing it. [Thanks for that one and the next, Jeff.]
  36. I'm living proof that you don't need to quit.


But sooner or later, reality intrudes on your life and forces you to quit. And then, after you have quit, Lizard brain argues that just a little drinking or smoking or drugging will be okay after all:


  1. It's been so long since I've had one, I have it under control now.
  2. I can do just one; it will be okay.
  3. It's time to return to normalcy, and be just like everybody else.
    Translation: Go back to drinking just like everybody else. ("I shouldn't have to abstain when they don't.")
  4. I just want one relaxing evening, just like in the good old days.
  5. I can do just a little bit, it won't hurt anything, and it will feel great.
  6. Let's just have one for old times' sake.
  7. Ah, for the good old days, when we could just kick back, and put our feet up, and do whatever we wanted to do.
  8. Ah yes, for the good old days, when we were young and wild and crazy, and didn't give a damn.
  9. Ah yes, the good old days, back before we started this insane routine of self-denial that they are calling recovery.
  10. Screw those people who are trying to keep us from having fun. Who are they to try to run our lives, anyway?
  11. We deserve to have a good time. We've worked so hard for so long, and put up with so much suffering and hardship, we richly deserve some of life's little pleasures right now.
  12. The other guys might think there is something weird about me if I don't have one with them.
  13. I should have a drink with these people. If I refuse to drink, and tell them that I'm an alcoholic, they will all think that I'm weird.
  14. I can't hang out with these guys without also having some, too.
  15. I can't just watch those guys drinking and doping without having some too.
  16. I must have one, now!
  17. Even if it does cause a little damage, I've been off of the stuff for so long that I can afford a little damage now.
  18. I can do a few now without getting readdicted. It will never again have a hold over me like it used to.
  19. Aren't you tired of torturing yourself? Why do you persist in denying yourself life's little pleasures? Why do you persist in putting yourself through all of this pain and all of these cravings? You know you will relapse sooner or later anyway, so why not make it right now, so you can feel good right now?
  20. I can do just a little, and no one will ever know, and it will be okay.
  21. I could go across the river, over to the other side of town, where no one knows me, and get drunk over there, and nobody over here would ever know.
  22. Oh, I don't really have to totally quit. I can just cut down a little bit. Just keep it down to a dull roar. I'll only drink on weekends. Or I'll only have two a night. Or only three a night. Or only four a night. Or I'll only drink stuff that I don't like.
  23. Aren't we really overdoing it just a bit here, with this whole total abstinence thing? I mean, it isn't like just one or two will kill us.
  24. I can't really loosen up and have a good time without a little bit of something...
  25. It's just so unfair that other people can have a good time, and I can't. So I'm going to make things fair.
  26. I'm so tired of all of this, of fighting this battle. I just want to rest, and relax, for a while.
  27. It's all so depressing. I don't even feel like life is worth living. Might as well just get stoned and forget the whole thing.2
  28. I shouldn't be having these cravings. I shouldn't have to suffer from cravings like this. So let's put a stop to them, right now.
  29. Fuck it! Just fuck it! I just want to get high!
  30. Oh well, some experts say that relapsing is a normal part of recovery. I hear that lots of people relapse half a dozen times before they really quit forever. So I still have five relapses to go. It'll be okay...
  31. I feel so stressed out right now, I just need a little hit of something to get me on an even keel.
  32. Ah, for just one grand blow-out, just for tonight...
  33. I just wanna get totally righteously ripped, just one more time.
  34. I just want one more big party, like in the good old days.
  35. I just want a vacation from my pain.
  36. I don't want to insult this guy by not drinking with him. If I only drink with him, then it will be okay. I can't get readdicted that way.
  37. This evening is so boring, might as well have a beer.
  38. We've been doing so good for so long, totally abstaining without any cheating whatsoever, it's time to celebrate.
  39. We've got it under control now. I don't have any cravings any more. I don't even think about drinking any more. That's why it's okay to have one, right now.
  40. Okay, we've succeeded. We've got a year of sobriety. We don't have anything left to prove to anybody. Might as well relax and have one now.
    [That one literally just popped up out of the old Lizard Brain while I was traveling to an A.A. meeting to pick up my one-year sobriety coin.]
  41. Workers of the world, unite! It's Miller Time!
  42. Have a drink just to spite those A.A. assholes and show that you can do it.
  43. God! Would a cigarette feel good right now!
  44. God! Would a tall cold one feel good right now!
  45. All that talk about the bad things that will happen if we relapse is long-term stuff. It isn't relevant for the short term, so we can indulge just for tonight and it will be okay.
  46. Maybe if I went down to Mexico... I could vacation and drink down there, and it wouldn't have anything to do with what happens up here...
  47. This occasion is special. It's okay to drink this one special time. Pass that champagne over here, please.
    [if drinking is okay because it's a "special occasion", then suddenly there sure are a lot of special occasions to celebrate. Eventually every day is a holiday.]
  48. I'm in a lot of pain. A little to take the edge off of the pain will be okay...
Don't think! Just grab the drink! Why Ask Why? I wanna be free. I wanna get away from here and get to a place where nobody is telling me what to do any more. I just wanna get to a place where I can do whatever I wanna to do.
[Real meaning: do whatever the Lizard Brain wants to do.] Now that I'm retired, I don't have to do what anybody else says. I don't have to care what anybody else thinks. I can drink all I want. Things aren't really as bad as the doctor was saying. I know he was exaggerating, just trying to scare me into quitting, that's all... But it's free! How can you resist when it's free? Slips are okay. A little slipping won't hurt. It'll be fun. If everybody else is slipping and lapsing, then why shouldn't we? Look at those people. They seem to be able to drink and smoke all of the time, and it isn't killing them. So I should be able to do that too... Just Christmas and New Year's. If I only drink at Christmas and New Year's, then I can't get into trouble with that. That'll be okay. Season's Greetings! Heck, we're all going to die eventually. In the end, all you'll have to look back on is how much fun you had, or didn't have because you missed out on all of it. So let's have some fun and go out in a blaze of glory. It's Friday night (or Saturday night), and look at all of those pretty girls out on the street, looking for a party and love in all of the wrong places (and in all of the right places too). If I went and partied with them, I could get laid. Heck, your parents messed you up so bad emotionally that you'll never be right, so there isn't much you can do except get stoned. Oh I'm in so much stress right now that I can't stand it. I just need a cigarette and a beer to calm me down. We can do it (party and get high for one night) because we are strong and smart and we can handle it. I know, I'll be a wandering Zen monk, a free spirit, detached from it all, free to do anything. I'll be above and beyond the problem. The system is rigged against us. The rich write the rules so that they stay rich and we stay poor. So all we can do is enjoy life however we can. Oh heck, it's Friday. You only live once... I just want one last big blow-out party, just for the fun of it.
[That one popped up 3 years after quitting drinking. The obvious answer to that is, "We already had that last party a long time ago..."] I need a little inspiration. This is a big, important job, and I need to come up with a creative, original concept. So I need a little liquid inspiration to help get the creative juices flowing. It's a tool, after all...
[That also smacks of "I am entitled to drink because I have so much responsibility resting on my shoulders."] All of this obsession with "your sobriety", and your being clean and sober, is just selfishness. You are just concerned about yourself. If you were really selfless, you would go down to the bar and have one with the boys to cheer them up. Life has passed me by, so there is no point in not having a good time now. I've got no future. I've got nothing left to lose. I just suffered a big loss, so I'm entitled to have a drink. I just had a huge win, so I'm entitled to have a drink. My team lost, so I'm entitled to have a drink and drown my sorrows. My team won, so I'm entitled to celebrate. Heck, we're in Las Vegas. What happens here, stays here. We're in New Orleans. It's Mardis Gras. You don't imagine that it's appropriate to stay sober all this week, now do you? Oh well, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Don't you want to come home, to the good times again? It's my birthday, so I'm entitled to celebrate. Oh heck, we deserve to relax once in a while... The best times were when we were smoking and drinking. We should go back there again. The best writing was while you were smoking. I never took that drug much. I was never into that drug, and I never had a problem with that drug, so it's okay if I take that drug now. You smoked and drank when you were young, so you can return to your youth by smoking and drinking again. Time to come home... Okay, so I'm an alcoholic. So what? Might as well have a good time anyway. It was easy to quit. So I can mess around a little, and have a few now and then, and it will be okay. Even if I do get readdicted, I can just easily quit again.4)
(Warning: no you can't. Each relapse drains energy out of you, and quitting the second time is several times harder than the first.) A Working Class Hero: Heck, I'll just be one of the regular guys. I don't have it in me to be one of those puritanical goody-two-shoes who never drink or smoke or indulge in life's little pleasures. It won't be a perfect life, but it will be mine. I just have to get a job and a room, and get my scene together, then I can drink all I want, and nobody can stop me... Never again even just one happy drunken party? Totally sober for the rest of my life? That's too much to ask of anyone. Surely we can have a little fun now and then... You know, I just can't be happy without smoking a cigarette now and then... Remember how happy we were back when... The doctor wasn't REALLY saying that you should quit drinking or you would die. Maybe he was just sort of saying it. Maybe it's just an expression. I'll bet he says that to everybody, just to get them riled up. My friend Joe just went back to drinking, so I'm entitled to have at least one with him. After all, I'm still way ahead of him. I should be comfortable and relaxed all of the time, and I'm not, so I'm going to fix things. Oh heck, you know you don't have the power to really stay sober for years, so why bother trying? I need this. I really need this, because I'm so stressed out right now. I'm not going to officially start smoking again — I just want to smoke one right now. Oh heck, I'll just smoke one pack and then quit again. I'll just relax and get high and enjoy tonight, and then quit again tomorrow. It's the end of the world. We're all going to die. Might as well have one now. "You have to feed the good dog, and the bad dog," (Thanks for that one, Amy.) Life is pointless, just a tale told by an idiot, much lightning and thunder signifying nothing, so we might as well get drunk and have a good time.

...And on, and on, and on...


Your base brain may well come up with some new ones that I haven't heard of...


But if you hold out, then the Addictive Voice really will tire, and run down, like a noisy wind-up alarm clock eventually running down.


Eventually. The longer you resist, the easier it gets. "




Anything to add to this list, adderallics?   What  lines has your lizard brain tried to feed you?

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I think it says something about my relationship with this drug (and perhaps my style of usage) but the ones that haunt my the most often are



  1. Ah, for just one grand blow-out, just for tonight...
  2. I just wanna get totally righteously ripped, just one more time.
  3. I just want one more big party, like in the good old day
  4. I'll just relax and get high and enjoy tonight, and then quit again tomorrow.
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This is funny to me, because one of the things I worried about when I was on Adderall was what I would do if the zombie apocalypse happened.  How would I keep from getting eaten if I was currently withdrawing from Adderall?  LOL, I was being facetious, of course, but it is a legitimate concern when you are jacked up on an anxiety provoking drug like addy. 

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It's a very real concern (how would I cope with *insert crisis here* without adderall?) manifested in a non-realistic way (oh no zombies!!!).

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If the zombie apocalypse occurred, we all better run to Daryl Dixon!


Or play some Dying Light & Dead Island. Lol.

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