The family of a patient of tuberculosis (T.B.) incorrectly decided that their patient’s ‘coughing’ was his disease.(when in reality, the cough was a sign of the actual disease which was the infected growth in the patient’s lung).

Thus they had their patient treated, taught and trained by/in all known methods of avoiding/stopping/inhibiting the cough reflex.

However ; when in spite of all such efforts, their patient failed to control his cough, the family concluded:

“The easiest way to avoid cough is to drink water, which is always available to our patient….and that our patient does not use it to impede the cough reflex, means that the fault lies in the patient’s “will” to resist it…..and…if our patient had a normal strength of will( will power). He/she could easily “stop” the coughing by swallowing water, each time the “cough reflex” rose in his/her throat.”

Thus they decided that the defect lay in their patient’s “will power”.

Similarly, the family thinks of the drug abusing habit of an addict as “the disease” whereas it is merely the ‘sign’ of the actual sickness.

The actual disease with an addict is the aggregate of ill emotions and desires causing flawed perception patterns, and resultant odd behaviors/ attitudes. And, since all efforts for “curing” are directed at the symptom (the habit of doing drugs) and not the actual ailment, the families inevitably conclude that their patient is weak of will.

: ‘An addict has low will power’ is a very common fallacy/misinterpretation. Will power is by definition, a deliberately persistent control of thought and action, for achieving whatever the willing person wants. The measure of one’s will power is the determination with which one overpowers any or all obstacles to one’s desired aim. The steadfast continuance of an unhealthy/abnormal habit in spite of all social barriers is called “obsession” by medical science and it signifies a ‘very negative exercise’ of a ‘very strong will’.

The following examples will make it clearer:

1.A weak-willed person can not continue the habit of addiction in the face of resistance from family, friends, neighbors and professional/business peers.

2.Continuing with the ill-habit in spite of all kinds of social, economic, legal and medical hurdles is not possible for someone with a feeble will-power.

3.Sale , purchase or abuse of all mood altering chemicals (drugs) ,with the exception of alcohol, is a criminal activity by law. Thus the burdens of social, economic, psychological and medical setbacks of addiction are continually added to by progressive alienation of the law-enforcing agencies. Sustaining a habit under such adverse frictions to it’s maintenance is not possible with a weak will.

4.Family members of addicts, or at least the patients themselves , are aware of the fact that nothing can stand in their way to obtaining and then using their drug of choice… “come what may”.

All this is actually indicative of a very strong will, very wrongly used.