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A Lot Of Alcohol Bottles Arranged On Shelves

Why do alcoholics keep drinking and thieves keep stealing? | Floodgate Theory

A few days ago, I wrote the last exam of my LL.B. It was a cheery evening after that. Everybody was enjoying, wishing farewell, and clicking pictures. At night, bottles opened. I don’t drink myself but I do enjoy the company of my fellas who drink. One of my friends tried alcohol for the first time that night. He found its taste to be “Disgusting”. Anyway! the night ended on a positive note. Back home, he told me that he did not want to become a habitual drinker (‘as it is a bad thing’) so he is deliberately trying to hate the taste of alcohol.



I will share one more incident with you. I know a few people who once decided to get a prostitute. One of them was kind of ‘experienced’. The other two were amateurs. The ‘experienced’ guy was really looking forward to the whole thing. But the amateurs were a bit scared as they considered hiring a prostitute to be ethically ‘wrong’. After they all were done with the ‘thing’, Amateurs declared that it was Okay to hire a prostitute, BUT only once in a while.

This happens a lot of times. You try to do a supposedly ‘Bad / Unethical’ act, and there is automatic resistance in your mind. But, where does this resistance go once you repeat the ‘Bad / Unethical’ act 4-5 times?

Why alcoholics / regular drug users don’t feel this resistance? Two obvious reasons would be Addiction & Dopamine Release. But, Is there a third factor also? I think the third factor is that their FLOODGATES open after they repeat the supposedly ‘Bad / Unethical’ act a few times. Wondering, what these FLOODGATES are? Keep reading!

Most of us never steal. At least, we almost never steal anything physically, because we consider it to be a Bad Deed / Karma. But, do professional thieves steal with ease from the first day? Certainly not! They also must have got ‘Bad Vibes’ when they stole for the first time. Though, the ‘Bad Vibes’ die down as they keep stealing.

Have you ever downloaded a pirated song/movie/software? Most probably, you have! But, isn’t that stealing? If you do not feel any internal resistance while doing it, then buddy, you have got your FLOODGATES open in this department.

So, your FLOODGATES are OPEN when you do not feel any internal resistance / bad feeling while doing an act/deed that is generally considered to be wrong/unethical.



I think the reason why people stop feeling resistance is the lack of Immediate Adverse Effects.

Even if you drank a bottle of Scotch last night with your friends, you won’t immediately feel adverse effects. Your liver won’t turn fatty overnight and your spouse (probably) won’t divorce you for one drunk night.

Now, when you keep doing something ‘bad’, and don’t feel the adverse effects immediately, the internal resistance starts decreasing. Then, there comes a point when FLOODGATES open, and after that, you feel no resistance at all. It becomes the new normal.

A non-smoker has a huge resistance in his mind against smoking. He/she usually considers it to be a suicidal act. Even passive smoking is a big no-no for them. But a smoker almost never thinks in that manner. He might think of the adverse effects (CANCER!) the first few times he smokes but then he comes up with all sorts of logical explanations to support his need for smoking.

Up to this point, I have only talked about Thieves / Alcoholics / Drug users / Smokers. But I think this FLOODGATE effect applies to a wide variety of activities and has a huge role in determining the direction of our lives.

Did you have some guys/girls in your class at school who really sucked at studies? Those people are squarely covered by the FLOODGATE effect but in a different manner. They become so much habitual with the idea of ‘Low Grades’ that they no longer care.

So, apart from the ‘No Immediate Adverse Effect’, there is one more reason why people might not feel any resistance while doing an act that is not good for them. Those people think that they have done the ‘bad deed/act’ so many times and it has caused so much damage in their lives that they can’t return back to normal now. All in all, they think that they have crossed the ‘Point of No Return’.

For instance, an alcoholic might not stop drinking even after receiving a report of ‘Liver Damage’ from his doctor. Now, you may say that he has got the intimation of an ‘Adverse Effect’ of the Bad Deed. So, he should stop doing that. But, he doesn’t stop because he would think that he has already spoiled his body so why should he stop the fun now? He may have various explanations– ‘You get to live only once’, ‘Everyone is supposed to die one day’, and ‘What’s the benefit of living a long life with no fun’.

Floodgate Effect even governs the people who cheat on their spouses/partners. The first few times they do it, they might feel scared. But after a while, when they see no adverse impact, they think that they are invincible. Some might get so entangled in their extramarital affairs that they supposedly cross the ‘Point of No Return’.

I think that Overweight Persons are usually unable to lose weight as Overeating does not lead to Immediate Adverse Effects, and Obese People would think that they have crossed the point of no return. They might think that they would never be able to lose weight due to their limited mobility.



If a person wants to return to normalcy and stop doing an Act that has become ‘the new normal’ for him. He/she must first properly assess the situation and understand where he actually stands. If there is an alcohol/drug problem, then there might be a need for a trained professional or outside support. But, in most of the other situations, a person can self-remedy the problem and effectively ‘CLOSE’ his/her FLOODGATES. One of the starting points can be to avoid the people who instill him to do Bad Acts / Deeds. Baby Steps are the key, as it can be daunting to bring huge changes in your lifestyle.

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