Simply put, addiction is the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences and physiological dependence that occurs when the body has to adjust to the substance by incorporating the substance into its ‘normal’ functioning. Addiction is something we hear about frequently in today’s world and it affects all ethnic groups, all socioeconomic levels, and all ages. When we think of addictions we generally think of the “drug junkie” or the alcoholic because that’s what we hear about the most. Those are the most obvious and most dramatic addictions but they are not the only ones we need to consider.
Addiction is not uncommon
Get real. Addictions are not that uncommon. Think about your own life (after all, your life is the only one you can really change). What behavior do you repeat even though it may cost you money, family, friends, status, or health? Some people are addicted to:
- Computers and computer games
- Dissension and turmoil
- Negative thinking
- Stealing (shoplifting)
- You can probably think of much more
That is, as you noticed, not a nice list and you may feel a little uncomfortable and annoyed by it. If you are, you’d better take some time to ponder it.
We want to feel good
My point is, many of us, in our effort to “feel good about ourselves” or just “feel good” in some way, have developed habits that lead to an addiction – We want to feel better and, if gossiping about someone else makes us feel better, we may do so—until we are not even aware of doing it. It’s a bad habit and may have become an addiction. The same with any of the things on that list.
Most of us know someone who will tell a lie when the truth would serve better or who shops because they are bored and shopping gives them some kind of high. We know people who panic if they have to turn off their cell phone or spend every moment possible at the gym. You may know someone who is addicted to control—we call them control freaks—they have to be in control of every situation—their own, yours, and everyone else around. Like those addicted to drugs and alcohol, they just want to find a way to be happy, to feel good.
We look at the drug addict and the alcoholic. Their addictions may have done serious harm to themselves and those they love, and society may “write them off.” What if society wrote you off because you are a human being?
Judgement is easy
It is easy to judge and condemn and I ask you, before you do that, to take a look at your own life and identify what your own addiction might be. The Native Americans had a wonderful saying about not judging a person until you walked a mile in his moccasins. All the sacred writings talk about not judging another and that includes you. They also talk about forgiveness.
Love is the great healer. For yourself, for others. We all want happiness. We all want to feel good.