Habit or Addiction?
“Addiction” has almost turn into a clich. “I’m addicted to strawberry yogurt. I’m addicted to Facebook. I’m addicted to him or her. I always possess a beer or glass of wine at dinner.” Are our daily routines “addictions?”
The expression “We are creatures of habit” is accurate. Routines are our customary or regular span of procedure. They are our commonplace tasks, chores, or duties we regularly enact. They are usual for our everyday activities. Moreover, they are usually unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, and rote. I rise on automatic pilot once i get up, boil water for coffee with my coveted cup, grind coffee beans (medium roast) and add sweetener, creamer, and whipped cream. I don’t want to think! I engage cruise control while i tilt the first sip. Effective routines enables us to be more effective, efficient, and expedient.
I habitually brush my teeth after breakfast, but don’t obsess about this while i rise from the bed. Easily forget, I would not succumb to withdrawal down the road. This is a habit.
Does somebody that always has a beer or glass of vino simply repeat a routine or, given alcohol’s psycho-active properties, placate a dependancy? Probably not-unless the beer is really a liter or the “glass” of wines are poured in quart-sized soda glass. Quantity matters!
This illustration should help in anyone discerning habit vs. addiction. There is a predictable sequence not just linear but tragically, cyclical:
Trigger-stimulus ? Desire, impulse, obsession, craving ? Preparation-seeking ritual ? Compulsive behavior and increasing tolerance ? Negative consequences (work, family, legal, economic etc.) ? guilt, regret, remorse, frustration, anger, relief (sometimes withdrawal after stopping) ? Trigger-stimulus. “One won’t hurt.”
Around and round the cycle rotates, but better put, it’s more of a spiral as the person’s life deteriorates and functioning is impaired. The important thing factors of addiction are obsession, ritual, compulsion and problems.
I used to play hearts and spades within my computer. I liked the rush as I anticipated of playing, and i also had to win-no matter the number of games it took. When over a losing streak I’d blurt “F — — it” and storm out from the room. No big problem, right? No, Irrrve never gambled on-line and lost my savings account. But I fit the addictive cycle: I obsessed once i would play, seeked and engaged the ritual each day, felt the rush as hearts and spades illuminated and I vied against cyber opponents, and felt relief basically won. This may seem absurd to you, but I had some mild addictive elements. I made a decision through God’s influence to finally stop. Do you know what? Deliverance. Or in AA’s phrase “restore us to sanity.”
AA has it right when they call alcoholism insanity, which includes tobacco, other drugs or combinations ingested. Inevitably, medical and health problems shall emerge. Behavioral addictions may include work, exercise, sex, romance, co-dependency, gambling, Internet compulsions and whatever activity causes the addictive cycle described above.
Addiction is hell in the world. Theologically, addiction is idolatry. The choices are simple: stop and stay stopped. Permanently. If despite sincere desire and multiple tries to stop, swallow your pride and obtain help ASAP. You deserve better.
In addition, I shall ready my coffee ritual tomorrow morning.
“Habit vs. Addiction” simply supplies the reader a means to separate common daily routines, habits and unconscious behaviors and predictable signs and symptoms indicating a bio-psychosocial attachment with a psychoactive substance or incessant, compulsive behavior.