We’ve all heard of muscle memory, which appears to exist somewhat apart from the brain.
However there have been reports of people who’ve undergone organ transplants and acquired the traits of the organ donor.
“Claire Sylvia, a heart transplant recipient who received the organ from an 18-year-old male that died in a motorcycle accident, reported having a craving for beer and chicken nuggets after the surgery.”
If you think about it, intuitively it makes sense. But on another level it means that patterns of behavior are activated by more than your brain. It’s more than just the conscious part of you making the decisions.
This has serious implications concerning addiction. We all know about the neuroplasticity of the brain, and how synapses are formed to encourage repeat behavior of pleasurable activities.
But if a habit is also “etched” into your heart, or kidney, that means if you want to stop you’ll be struggling against your whole body.
An addiction doesn’t just live in the brain. It’s in your whole body.
All this to say that we (I) should have a greater appreciation for the difficulty of stopping an addictive habit.
It’s not just the “me” part of me craving that beer, it’s also my heart, my lungs, my stomach, and probably every other cell in the body.