Addicts, one and all….
Our material society encourages us all to be addicts of one type or another, mostly through the media and usually in the form of advertising. Advertising that continually tells us we are not good enough (financially, physically, mentally), that we do not have enough (or have the right type, version, style, or model), and that we can always find something (or someone) better then what we already have. With ‘reality’ shows like Intervention, Hoarders, Biggest Loser, and daily news of famous sex addicts behaving badly, addiction and recovery are topics that are now engrained into every day life in many forms.
I have been addicted to many things in my life, relationships, sex, shopping, substances, and for many years I was addicted to work. Because our addictions are often encouraged by our social circles (Tina) and society at large (work) the line between a healthy behavior and an unhealthy addiction can be a thin one. It can also be hard to know when that line has first been crossed. Behaviors, from gambling to shopping: from sex to religion may start out as fun but can eventually slide into being a closed behavioral ‘loop’ that results in significant consequences.
We need to eat to live, drinking and light drugging can be social lubricants that may actually increase enjoyment of life. So if everyday activities like eating and sex can be addictions under what specific circumstances are you addicted? What exactly defines addiction and separates it from ‘normal’ behaviors?
A lose definition of addiction is that it is a dependency on a substance, an activity, or a relationship that becomes primary over all else in your life. Addictions are repetitive (obsessive and compulsive) behaviors that are continued even in the face of negative consequences. Addiction becomes a problem once the desire to continue something you know is bad for you over takes your ability and/or willingness to stop.
The one thing that addition takes faster then anything else is your freedom. Over time addicts become a slave to the impulses to ‘use’, no matter what they use. The desire for ‘more’ can take you hostage physically as you go out to find “more”. The fear of not getting what you ‘need’ can take you hostage mentally as you think about how to get more, and emotionally you get stuck in an endless cycle of guilt and shame that leaves you with only one option: to seek out emotional relief with yet again ‘more’ of ‘it’.
Does this ring a bell? It is possible to have the life you deserve, free of addiction, no matter what the addiction. Here are some resources that can help:
- The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies (NALGAP)
- National Substance Abuse Index
- Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
- My Meth Life
- Food Addicts