When we take a step back and look at the definition of addiction I think that we would quickly realize that we are all addicted to something.
By Definition: •– a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences
Now as I write this I know that someone would love to jump on the rebuttal bandwagon and point out that the definition states “adverse consequences.” So yes an addiction has to result in some adverse consequences but I want to know measured by whom? with what? Based on what? For what purpose? From whose perspective? I could go on and on with this list but I will simply get back to the point that I want to make.
We are all addicted to something! A bold statement written in bold. How fitting right? Before I call out the world I will point the finger at myself. I love to do that. The reason I love to that is I think that personal accountability is important and specifically if you want to make bold claims. What are my addictions you might ask? I would answer that with the following. Coffee, my phone, and exercise. I will tell you right away that I have some really convincing arguments or justifications to why these addictions are ok. For example, I love coffee. There is sound research to the benefits of stimulants. I drink my coffee black so I do not add any of the stuff that people say is “BAD” for us. I generally have one cup in the morning and I generally consider a second in the early afternoon while I do not always do so. My phone I wake up and look at and I say to myself that I am turning off my alarm. I also look at it when I am going to bed before I go to bed. Exercise I do minimum 5 days a week and when I have a rest day I feel like I am looking for a reason to do something and not call it exercise but “active recovery” (the new term for I’m really exercising but I want it to sound like I’m being smart but thats another post). The adverse consequences for these addictions are minimal in many ways to the naked eye. They may mostly affect me but they also trickle down onto my loved ones. Yes that is right they do affect others whether we want to admit it or not. How you may ask?
So my alarm goes off, aka my phone, and while my daughter is saying good morning I am looking at Facebook. I finally pull away from the phone to give her a hug and by then she has moved on. She went to the bathroom. So I do what I do every morning when I first get up and I walk straight to the coffee maker and prepare my morning “pour over.” I need to do this and have some coffee before I do anything else. Finally, I have my coffee and it has been 15 minutes since I have gotten out of bed and now my daughter and I have a second to embrace and say good morning. When something this simple becomes more rewarding than an embrace from someone you love more than anything and in your head you think to yourself this is just ordinary behavior there is a problem. Ask me to wake up, not touch my phone, get ready to leave and go somewhere without the coffee or the checking of my social media and I may start shaking a little. I am not always with my children. Many mornings I wake up alone with no one to talk to so maybe the phone has become my social outlet and my newspaper at the same time but I think you get the picture. Now exercise lets tackle that one. The weekend comes and the kids and I are at the beach and Im more interested in doing handstands or at least attempting them than I am in building that castle with my son. Fortunately one of my daughters loves gymnastics so we get to play but you may be starting to see what I am saying. There are adverse consequences to our behaviors. Yes I feel like I can call these behaviors addictions because we do not go a single day without them.
So outside of myself what do I see? I see the obvious drugs, alcohol, food, sex, porn and more. Many of those can definitely be serious addictions. I see video gaming, e-cigs, soda, quest bars, and more. I see “compulsive engagement” in so many things on the daily. Some of this engagement may not lead directly to adverse consequences but there are still consequences nonetheless. Look at our addiction to our smartphones and how it is affecting the neck. Look at our addictions to vanity and how it is warping our sense of beautiful. There are literally millions of people taking stance with Strong is the new skinny, some that still want to look like runway models, those that want a huge booty, traps and so much more. Don’t get me wrong I find a strong, ambitious, tattooed, smart, pretty eyed, beautiful smile woman extremely attractive but attraction is so much more than even that. So I digress……………..Back to the point. Addiction is all around us. Most if not all of us are addicted to something. If you do not think that you are find the thing you feel is the most “compulsive engagement” and completely leave it alone for a week, two weeks, a month or let it go completely. See where this takes you.
Lastly, I do not speak on addiction lightly. I grew up watching my father be addicted to drugs. This addiction lead to the divorce from my mother and him. When he kicked the drug habit he went to cigarettes. When he kicked that he went to gambling and porn. I cannot say that I remember my father not having some addiction. I loved my father and always will but addiction killed him in the end. His addictions would be characterized as “unhealthy” yes but he had others. He was addicted to going to AA meetings and many times those meetings cost him the chance to see his grandkids. He “felt” that he could not stay away for even one meeting. So while I agree that some addictions are better than others I will leave you with this. Anytime there is something that causes you to compulsively engage to the point that your loved ones or your own body suffer it is something that should be checked. It is important that we keep a handle on these things and always keep them in perspective. If you don’t feel what you are doing is a problem awesome but before you disregard it ask your loved ones how it makes them feel. You m,ay be surprised or maybe you will be right and in that case, CARRY ON.