A moderate addiction to money may not always be hurtful; but when taken in excess it is nearly always bad for the health. ~ Clarence Day
HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY ADDICTION?
Originally, addiction meant “devotion to” something good. Today, the meaning has changed to be the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
ARE YOU AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGNS OF ADDICTION?
Addiction, in its broadest sense, can include enslavement to watching Soap Operas, drinking too much coffee, eating too much sugar, spending too many hours at work, obsessive dieting or exercising or shopping, too much sex or having an urgent need to always being in a relationship in addition to substance abuse.
When an individual is addicted, he will set common sense aside in favor of his addiction of choice.
WARNING SIGNS OF ADDICTION
Looking to something outside of ourselves to feel good is the reverse to looking inside ourselves to feel good. The latter is correct. The first is addiction. If something (a drug, a hot fudge sundae) makes us feel good, our brain releases chemicals. Feeling “high” as a result begins to be strongly anticipated, and pursuing this “high” makes us begin to avoid those who love us (parents, friends, even spouses.) Addicts begin to lie and cheat to obtain whatever it is that makes them high and some have said they get a strong “high” just from stealing to get the drug than they did when they ingested it. Here are some more warning signs of addiction:
- Overly dramatized moodiness
- Reversal of personal habits
- Disinterested in things formerly interested inm new group of friends (with bad habits), problems with finances and the law, unexcused absences from work, vulgarity or profanity used, often keeping themselves hidden from others.
WHO IS MOST AT RISK FOR ADDICTION?
If you consider the four main elements in an individual’s life (physical, mental, emotional, and social) you will see these behaviors rampant in those who are typically addicted:
- A genetic inclination due to history of addiction with an extreme sensitivity to drugs.
- A psychological tendency toward low self-esteem or a history of depression and feeling like a victim.
- An overwhelming sense of strong emotions, like grief or anger.
- A feeling of aloneness in the midst of many family members or work associates.
ARE YOU ADDICTED? – Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you’re an addict in any way. Honesty is strongly suggested.
- Others have told you you’re an addict. Can you stop that behavior for a day, a week, forever?
- Do you become uncomfortable at the thought of not doing the behavior others call your addiction?
- Would you somehow feel “less than” if you didn’t do that behavior?
- Have you tried stopping that behavior in the past unsuccessfully?
- Have you lost friends or alienated family members because you won’t stop that behavior?
WHAT’S IN CONTROL – YOU OR THE BEHAVIOR?
Deep down inside you, would you prefer to keep doing the behavior? If there is any behavior you cannot (or will not) set aside, then this behavior controls you and not the other way around. If you’ve tried to break away from the behavior unsuccessfully but keep returning to it, it’s an addiction. When you are an addict, this is the cycle you’re going to repeat: feeling good, a loss of control, repetition and then a feeling of denial.
GETTING HELP FOR YOUR ADDICTION
The first rule for getting healthy is to admit you have a problem (look strongly at those Warning Signs of Addiction) and find a professional to help you. This person will help you to see what changes are necessary to break your habits. You’ll be working to develop new behaviors where the old ones were and you’ll have a plan of action with due dates on it to keep you on track. Recovery takes time so exercise patience – a lot of patience – and keep track of every forward step you take. If you fall off the wagon, forgive yourself and get back on.
Your individuality is blessed. Paying attention to the warning signs of addiction and cleaning up your addiction will strengthen your character and put you back on the road toward greater success. Wishing you well on your journey!
TAKE ACTION NOW
- I will admit to being addicted if I am. If I am not, I will be grateful.
- I’ll be in control over what now controls me.
- I will clean up my addiction and thus, strengthen my character.