Addictions are interesting things. It’s hard to even describe what they are really. Are they things? Habits? attitudes? Ways of doing things?
Addictions follow similar patterns. They usually get worse. And the addict typically looks for ways to rationalize away what is happening. I’m not a professional addictions person – but I have seen enough addicts in my life to recognize the pattern that forms.
The addict scores a hit that gives them a boost – a shot of energy. They feel alive. Then they get caught because they mess something up. And they apologize and promise it won’t happen again. And they look for people to help them rationalize the situation – people who aren’t going to cause a confrontation. There is pain and a great amount of energy and time spent on the addict. And there is a backing off too. And then it happens again. And again. And again. And again. Unless someone or someones put a stop to it.
That’s one pattern of many that forms for addicts.
And addiction can come in many forms – drugs and alcohol are obvious addictions. There are sexual additions and food addictions. There are porn addictions, social media addictions, entertainment addictions, and more. There are work addictions and exercise addictions. The reality is that almost anything can be an addiction, but not everything is. Something becomes an addiction when we don’t have control over it, just rather, it controls us. It’s an addiction if it is destructive to yourself or others. It’s an addiction if you find yourself saying – “It’s just one…” or “I can stop anytime I want…” knowing full well that you are lying to yourself. And lying is a main component of addictions – Lying to yourself and to others. All to protect yourself from the reality that you are not in control and that you need help.
Addictions can lead to death – your own or other. It can also lead to the death of relationships, abilities, jobs, and more.
If you think you have an addiction, talk with someone who can be honest with you – brutally honest. Someone who will tell you that you are full of it when you try to rationalize something. Someone who will ask you difficult questions and demand an answer – and won’t enable you. That’s a true friend – someone who actually cares enough about you to hurt your feelings for your own benefit.
That’s how dealing with addictions starts. It starts with recognizing you have a problem and seeking help. Where it goes is a long journey. One that will take many people to journey with you along the way – to strengthen you when needed, to hold you accountable, to prop you up when you are weak.
Above all, addictions don’t have to run our lives.