If you asked ten people to define addiction, how many would agree with each other? I'm not sure, but I'd bet it wouldn't be 100%. If you asked ten people to explain why it is that someone gets hooked on a particular drug or an obsessive behavior, I bet you wouldn't get even three folks to agree.
Here's my favorite definition of addiction: "A state of obsession and compulsion that enslaves a person's will and desire". Certain things characterize addiction. Here is a quick list:
What ever the addiction is, whether to a substance or a behavior, the addiction comes first, before family, friends, children, work, health, God, values, etc. Everything in life takes a back seat to the addiction. Note though, it doesn't start out that way. It starts out as just another part of a person's life. Then it takes your life. You start out controlling it, and by the time you figure out there's a real problem, it's too late… you're hooked.
No matter how bad things get…they will get worse, and they will keep getting worse.
There's also a thing called tolerance. This means that the amount of the substance that it took to get me high, or chill me out, or give me the proper amount of energy when I first started using, isn't enough anymore. So, I have to take more, and more. I'll do this until I just can't afford anymore, or it becomes useless to try. The problem is, if I am taking a substance that creates a physical dependency, I won't be able to stop without getting physically sick. It hurts too much. I get scared. So I use…again.
Denial is something we use to avoid addressing our problems, no matter what they are. One form of denial is the attitude, "If I ignore it, it'll go away". This is an attempt to magically make our challenges disappear. This rarely works, at least, not for long. There are several forms of denial:
Simple denial: "Not me".
Minimizing: "Yeah I drink, but not that much."
Rationalizing: "If you take my weed away, I won't be able to get to sleep."
Blaming: "I lost my job, how else was I going to cope?"
Bargaining: "I'll quit popping pills, if you stop drinking." Notice, we always pick something to bargain with that we know the other person is not about to quit. So, we can justify continuing our behavior when the other person doesn't change theirs. Quite a strategy.
There's a lot more that could be said about addiction. A lot of questions: Is addiction a disease or a choice?, Is it a genetic problem?, Is it a moral problem?, Are people with addictions really just criminal personalities?
We'll answer those questions next time.
-- Rick B.
If I Could Live Life Over Again
by Virginia Satir
written at the age of 85
If I could live over again, I'd dare to make more
mistakes next time.
I'd relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been
before this trip.
I would take fewer things so seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those who live seriously and
sanely hour after hour….
Day after day.
Oh, I've had my moments.
If I had it to do all over again, I'd have more.
I'd try to have nothing else, just moments,
One after the other,
Instead of living years ahead of each day.
I'm one of those persons who never goes
anywhere without a thermometer,
a hot water bottle,
a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter
than I have.
If I had to live my life over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay
that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daises.
Putting a little Gracefulness Into Our Relationships
Forgiveness - let go of the grudges and over-look what seems to be flaws. Turn disappointments into opportunities to struggle together.
Trust - Believe the best, in spite of the worst of track records.
Hope - Confidence that problems can be corrected and conflicts redeemed.
Patience - Giving each other time to grow.
Humor - Laughing at the little things we seem to blow up into something dramatic.
Security - Knowing that no matter what, we will always be there for each other. There will be boundaries, and there will be genuine, longsuffering love.
Adapted from "Dads Only" Newsletter
Dr. Candace McDaniel 8021 East Thornton Fwy, Suite A Dallas, Texas 75228