What’s your addiction?

Believe it or not, most of us have some sort of addiction. Some are more obvious than others. And some may seem so normal that we don’t pay attention to it. We do it without realizing it is an addiction. We are so programmed to see what we want to see and the rest, we have a blind eye to. Some addictions are more harmful than others. Some may destroy us as a matter of fact. In any case, you cannot find many positives in any kind of addiction. Even if you are not hurting someone else with your Addiction because most likely the one being most affected is YOU.

Let’s understand the word addiction first then we can discuss examples of it. I have done some research and I would like to share it with you. Here are a couple of definitions of the word itself. According to www.merriam-Webster.com the definition of addiction is as follows:

1: “a strong and harmful need to regularly have something or do something.”

2: “an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.”

3: “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly:  persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful”

And according to www.dictionary.reference.com:

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.”

According to several sources, the origin of the word “addiction” comes from a Latin background around the years 1595-1605; < Latin addictiōn- (stem of addictiō) a giving over, surrender. (www,dictionary.reference.com)
I came across this article which explains many things about addiction that I probably couldn’t put into words for my lack of knowledge on the subject. So I would like to share it here and allow me to comment afterwards.
“Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as a tolerance. Because of tolerance, the biological reaction of withdrawal occurs the drug is discontinued. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.

However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn’t what matters; it’s the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. Treating this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.

When referring to any kind of addiction, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one’s morality or strength of character. Experts debate whether addiction is a “disease” or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon. But the lack of resolution does not preclude effective treatment.” Www.psychologytoday.com

This article puts things in perspective for me. I now have a better understanding that addiction has more than one type and the cause is not the same for every person. With that said, treating addiction will depend on the severity and the reason behind it from the start. I believe the first step to resolving anything is admittance. Once you admit to yourself that you are addicted and that you have a problem, you are already on the road to recovery. Even if you relapse along the way, you can always start over until you are cured. Some addictions, once recognized, they don’t have to be stopped completely. You just have to control it or minimize it to a level that it doesn’t become an addictive behavior, where you don’t feel the need to do it.

I definitely have some addictions and some of them affect me negatively, mostly my wallet actually. I have a tendency to go for “therapy shopping”; I call it, when I am very down and depressed. It makes me feel better. I go buy whatever I feel like that day, whether I needed it or not. Usually it ends up being clothes because it makes me feel good about myself. I try it on, I feel sexy in that outfit, so I buy it. And I justify it to myself, saying I deserve it, I work hard, so why not if it makes me happy. I found out I am not the only woman who does that, many of girlfriends have the same behavior. Another addiction I admit to is electronics and gadgets. Just leave me in an electronic store and I will come out of it with at least one item. I will always find something that catches my attention and compels me to have it. I’m just crazy when it comes to gadgets, really, but I love it, what can I do. Here is another addiction I still don’t understand; I love hats. When I see hats, something is triggered within me to try it on. Most of the times, I will end up buying one. So yeah, I collect hats, shoes, purses  – typical woman stuff. I thought I was just being normal. But now that l look back at it, I realize it is an addiction. I sometimes spend money unnecessarily on things I probably can do without. I still justify it to myself somehow. But now I am more aware of it, so when the urge comes, I second guess my decision. I think about what if I didn’t buy it now, will it hurt me? Do I need it or do I want it? Will I use it? Will I wear it? And I am doing much better now, I actually have put things down and said No to myself. I haven’t stopped with my therapy shopping because it helps me feel better but I learned to cut down on my spending. I am now controlling it. I have also found another therapy for myself to substitute my shopping. I write, just like I am writing now.

Although at this moment as I am writing this, I am not depressed or stressed. I am just inspired to write about this subject because I believe it is important for people to open their eyes to some of their dependencies and addictions. Like I said earlier, some are more harmful than others. You can be addicted to anything and everything out there that may trigger or release a drug in your body that gives you that “high” feeling. It can be on a physical, psychological or emotional level. Here are some addiction examples: from shopping, to a dangerous sporting activity, to an eating disorder, to sex, to gambling, to plastic surgery, to video games, to Internet and last but not least to love. Then you have more severe addictions like cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, Valium, meth, ecstasy, hash, most of which give that euphoric and exhilaration feeling.

If you are addicted to any kind of drug, no matter what I say or anyone says, if the person doesn’t feel that they are on the path to destruction and that they are hurting their loved ones; they will never change. The desire to stop this behavior and become clean comes from within. But I will go out on the limb here anyway and speak from the heart to those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. If you are reading this, and if you are sucked in any addiction, just remember this, every moment that passes by, you will never get it back. You are hurting yourself and you are hurting those who love you. No one understands what you must be feeling, because only you feel it. And yes it’s easy for people to tell you to stop. But the decision to become clean has to be yours and the reason behind your decision also must be yours. No one can lead you to it. It is in your hands. Find the strength that you know is there and take the necessary steps and work hard at it; because you can.

On that note, let me conclude by sharing this quote:

“13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

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