Ken Donaldson: We Are All Addicts, Part I
Yes…we’re all addicts, but probably not what you’re thinking.
Take a random poll and what you’ll find when people are asked to describe “an addict” is they’ll most likely describe the classic alcoholic or drug addict stereotype: Unkempt, bloodshot eyes, unshaven, maybe a bit odoriferous, poor health and perhaps even living out on the streets.
Or at least something close to that.
Here’s reality: Go look in the mirror…that’s what most addicts look like.
Just like you and me.
Because we all are addicts…or at least have a very high potential to be addicts.
But let us first define addiction. Here are some of the more classic definitions:
“The continued compulsive engagement of addictive behavior in spite of adverse health or social consequences.”
“A state of heavy dependence on the addiction; sometimes defined as physical dependence but usually also including emotional dependence, i.e., compulsive or pathological use.”
“It is often used synonymously with dependence.”
“A behavior disorder characterized by extreme addiction-seeking behavior and the interaction with the addictive behavior for that other than medical indications.”
“Compulsive use of the addictive behavior, to the point where the user has no effective choice but to continue use.”
But we can actually boil it down to two motivators: Pain and pleasure.
We typically do whatever we need to do to avoid pain, and we often do whatever we can to create pleasure.
And addictive behaviors mimic both (key word is “mimic” as it is all actually a delusional façade) as the addiction creates a seemingly pleasurable experience and, at the same time, allows one to escape from whatever pain (temporarily) they may be experiencing.
The “pain” may be physical, but is more likely to be emotional, such as loneliness, sadness, depression, fear and other emotional states that would typically be less than enjoyable.
So here’s the bottom-line definition:
All addictive behaviors create an illusionary pleasurable experience and, at the same time, a temporary distraction from the authentic painful experiences of life, and these behaviors are continued, and often increased and intensified, to the point where they cause severe and significant negative consequences in one’s life and are continued despite these negative consequences.
What all is addictive? Obviously there is drug addiction and alcoholism, but also food addiction (the U.S. #1 drug of choice), spending and shopping addiction (the root of most bankruptcy), gambling addiciton, all the many and various flavors of sexual addiction, codependency (the cause of most dysfunctional realtionships) and much, much more!
Stay tuned…there’s much, much more coming!