What's YOUR Addiction?



Don’t think you have or ever had any addictions?  I beg to differ.  Like most people, you say the word “addiction” and all you think of are illegal drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, nicotine, and all the other obvious ones you see in the news.  But it can be much more than that.  "Addiction" is defined as “ a strong and harmful need to regularly have something or do something.  An unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.”   I really feel bad for addicts and do not demonize them.  Why?  Because we have all been there at one point and some are there right now and don’t even realize it yet.  Don’t believe me?  Well some of these may seem familiar: Work, Internet, Caffeine, Television / Video Games, Shopping, Food (either too much or too little), Comparison, Gossiping, Exercise/Workout, Being Right (or proving others wrong), Perfectionism, Family meddling, Money (Spending or Hoarding), etc. 

And the list is endless.  Why?  We are all different on how we like to escape but it only becomes a problem when it starts to become unhealthy and you don’t behave differently.  This is also why it is so hard to cure because our needs are so personal.  Although our reasons may all be different, addictions all have one thing in common: decisions that take us away from (or even ruin) our relationships, responsibilities, and/or health. 

They all can be very hard to overcome, but the number one thing you must always do is admit you have an addiction.  This can be extremely difficult especially when society supports certain behaviors that some people take way too far.  This positive image can sometimes justify the bad behavior because society strives for bigger, stronger, faster!  Here are some examples:

  • Exercise:  Don’t get me wrong, I love exercise.  Any good Personal Trainer will tell you that after working out your body needs proper rest and nourishment.  But if you are using exercise as a way to avoid people and/or as a tension release to the point that you cannot function throughout the day without getting your 4 hours at the gym, it is a problem. 
  • Family: Family is wonderful and we are blessed to have them.  But sometimes it can be used as a shield to avoid what is really going on in your head.  If you are obsessed with taking care of everyone around you except yourself to the point where your health is starting to fail at their expense, there is a problem and changes need to be made.
  • Perfectionism:  Everybody wants to be perfect!  It’s not possible, but everyone strives for it and does the best they can.  But if you cannot be happy unless you or the people you are with are “perfect” and it is breaking your relationships, it’s time to seek professional help.
  • Money:  It’s great to save money and spend money.  But it should be appropriate spending/saving.  Either spending too much or too little can be a problem.  I've seen rich people who have a poverty mentality living a miserable life (like Ebeneezer Scrooge). And I've seen people who go into massive debt to buy a fancy car so as to seem impressive with their friends.

The common denominator seems to be that all addictions stem from pain (emotional, spiritual, physical, etc) and is an attempt to either mask or numb it for a time.  No matter what the topic is, if there is a behavior that is preventing you from making healthy decisions or relationships for yourself, you need to admit there is a problem and seek out help. 
It is never too late to start getting help and it is never too hopeless.  Even if you have tried many times to overcome it and failed, it is always worth trying again.  You are worth it!

And if you just discovered your addiction on this list, there is no need to beat yourself up for it.  As said in the old G.I. Joe cartoons, “Knowing is half the battle!”

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