Sunday, January 31, 2010

Curious about Addiction: Why, What and How Do We Develop and Have Addictions? And, Are All Addictions Bad?

Definition of Addiction: The state of being addicted; devotion; inclination.

I really love to act; I love everything about it. I've never had this addiction to being known. I mean, sure, if you go into acting, there's part of you that is saying, 'I want attention' but I was brought up to work to deserve attention, and it is the work, not the trappings that are important.” - Christopher Meloni, American actor

I love making people laugh. It's an addiction and it's probably dysfunctional, but I am addicted to it and there's no greater pleasure for me than sitting in a theater and feeling a lot of people losing control of themselves.” - Jay Roach, American director

You are probably wondering why I ever chose addiction as this week’s theme. It started yesterday as I was driving home from two fitness training sessions. I heard a discussion on the radio about a boy who has become so addicted to computer games that his grades have gone from all A’s to all F’s. Physically, his health is deteriorating because he stays up all night many nights. And, he has lost interest in everything except these computer games.

The program started by telling about centers and camps that have sprung up to work with youngsters and even adults to help them overcome their addictions to computers.

I think that when we hear the word, “addiction” we immediately think of drugs, and yet there are many other addictions like TV watching, food and eating, chocolate and other candy and sweets. Are most addictions bad for us, or how about Meloni’s and Roach’s addictions to their work?

Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, thinks so. He said, “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”

I feel that most of us have addictions, even mild ones. Some are good and others are bad. But I also feel that we can overcome the bad ones, even though it might take a lot of hard work and bring on an addiction to breaking addictions or accomplishing goals.

The quotations I found – and not the usual plethora – were all quite varied and interesting. They should make you think as they did for me:

  • We may think there is willpower involved, but more likely... change is due to want power. Wanting the new addiction more than the old one. Wanting the new me in preference to the person I am now.” - George A. Sheehan, American writer
  • For decades the American people have had an addiction to oil and gas.” - Lee H. Hamilton, American politician
  • I admire anyone who rids himself of an addiction.” - Gene Tierney, American actress
  • I have a bit of a traveling addiction, and, ah, yeah. I went to, ah, Bali this summer.” - Fisher Stevens, American actor
  • The book can produce an addiction as fierce as heroin or nicotine, forcing us to spend much of our lives, like junkies, in book shops and libraries, those literary counterparts to the opium den.” - Phillip Adams, Australian writer
  • We are taught to consume. And that's what we do. But if we realized that there really is no reason to consume, that it's just a mind set, that it's just an addiction, then we wouldn't be out there stepping on people's hands climbing the corporate ladder of success.” - River Phoenix, American actor

I submit to you that we all have some addictions. I love working out, so spend a good bit of time teaching group fitness classes – actually 12 a week so that some would feel it is an addiction. I am also addicted to books and reading, the Internet, and my Portfolio Career – many careers at the same time. As long as I can remember, I have worked at staying slim – is food control an addiction?

Two more to think about:

People who have never had an addiction don't understand how hard it can be.” – Payne Stewart, American athlete

She goes from one addiction to another. All are ways for her to not feel her feelings.” - Ellen Burstyn, American actress

What are your good addictions? I would love to hear from you.