I’ve never claimed to be an addiction counselor, but I have seen and experienced the hurt and destruction caused by addiction. Addiction can ruin, dilute, disguise, and even kill a person. It can do the same to friends and family. It can make a person, and the people around him/her feel dark inside. It is not a good thing.
I can usually find good in anything, but not in harmful addictions. There are positive additions such as exercising, reading, or helping others, but I am not addressing those. I am writing about negative additions. Many start out as habits.
One can be addicted to alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs, cigarettes, food, sugar, gambling, sex, internet use, shopping, hoarding, or anything that alters logic. An accurate picture of an addicted person is one without a head.
Each addiction has its uniqueness, but there are similarities.
Addiction means you have given control of yourself to something. You have given up freedom. You are in prison. You are no longer satisfied with one or two.
Habits or daily routines can become addictions. What was once fun can become an urgent necessity. A Spanish Proverb states: “Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.” Addiction can start with innocent experimenting, and then move to conscious choice, next it becomes a secret activity, and finally, it takes control. It is like a horror movie where the monster catches the hero or heroine and then proceeds to destroy the city.
A quote from an unknown source also explains how addictions are formed: “Many of us believe that wrongs aren’t wrong if done by nice people like ourselves.” That is one way we get hooked; we see friends or family doing something, and it becomes our norm. We hang out with people who support our addictions. Choose your friends wisely. They are your mirror. Be very selective in the individuals you consider to be your support system. If they have no shut-off valve, you likely won’t either. Their addiction could become yours.
Another strategy to identify and control addiction is to set limits for yourself. Some examples: no more than two drinks a day; one trip and one plate through the buffet line; three cigarettes a week; one sugar fix a day; one beer an hour on Saturday night; one chocolate bonbon; no alcohol four days a week; internet gambling once a month. Balance, balance, balance. You know when you are out of control, when you can’t stop the crazies. Reach out for help. Twelve-step programs are proven to be successful, and there is a wealth of information online.
Addiction happens in the best of families. Remember, cobwebs can indeed turn into cables. You ARE worth more than a sick addiction, you are NOT alone, and help IS available.
Your life is NOW, and today is a NEW day. You CAN change.
Until the next time: Live while you live
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