I often hear people trying to explain that even though they are struggling with something, they are sure they aren’t an addict. I think people struggle with the label or word “addiction”, in part, because there is a social stigma. Somehow calling yourself an addict feels too scary. Perhaps because if seems like the solution is too hard to it means that you would have to give up something that you may not be ready to give up.
What is addiction anyway?
I think it is important to mention that there are “addictions” that can be good for us. In Glasser’s, “Positive Addiction” he points out that things like running and meditating can be addictive but that they can also bring good things to your life. It’s a short read but I think it’s a really good one. It reminds me a little too of some things I read in the ‘big book’ about starting to crave things that are better for you like community and spirituality.
Just between you and I, one of the not awesome changes that took place between the DSM IV TR and the DSM V (the gigantic book that we base all diagnoses on) is that they combined substance abuse and dependence. I liked the distinction because I felt like it could speak to and escalation and/or a de-escalation of symptoms. It could be something you could track and look at over time and know if you were improving or if you needed more support. In the new DSM the only difference is mild, moderate or severe. In my experience people have been able to more easily accept that they are abusing and there for in danger of becoming addicted that to just be labeled an addict.
In my mind, anything that impedes your goals or social connections is a problem. Weather that is a chemical, a habit, another person, etc. And you can call it addiction or dependence or an unhealthy relationship but the result is the same no matter what you choose to call it… You aren’t living the life you want.
I challenge you to ask yourself if there is a thing/habit that is holding you back from what you want. Are you allowing something to sabotage you from having the life you want? If so, does it matter what you call it (addiction, dependence, etc) or is the solution more important? I would love to hear from you.