Habit or Addiction?
"Addiction" has almost be a clich. "I'm addicted to strawberry yogurt. I'm addicted to Facebook. I'm hooked on him or her. I always have a beer or drop of vino at dinner." Are our daily routines "addictions?"
The expression "We are creatures of habit" is accurate. Routines are our customary or regular length of procedure. They are our commonplace tasks, chores, or duties we regularly enact. They are conventional our everyday activities. Moreover, they're usually unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, and rote. I rise on automatic pilot when I get up, boil water for coffee with my coveted cup, grind coffee beans (medium roast) and add sweetener, creamer, and whipped cream. I'd rather not think! I engage cruise control while i tilt the first sip. Effective routines enables us being more effective, efficient, and expedient.
I habitually brush my teeth after breakfast, along with obsess about this when i rise from the bed. Easily forget, I would not succumb to withdrawal afterwards. This is a habit.
Does somebody that always has a beer or drop of vino simply repeat a regular or, given alcohol's psycho-active properties, placate an addiction? Probably not-unless the beer can be a liter or the "glass" of vino is poured in quart-sized soda glass. Quantity matters!
This illustration should aid in anyone discerning habit vs. addiction. There's a predictable sequence not only 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 since the person's life deteriorates and functioning is impaired. The important thing factors of addiction are obsession, ritual, compulsion and problems.
I did before play hearts and spades within my computer. I liked the rush as I anticipated of playing, and I had to win-no matter how many games it took. When on the losing streak I'd blurt "F--- it" and storm out of the room. No problem, right? No, I 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 daily, felt the rush as hearts and spades illuminated and I vied against cyber opponents, and felt relief if I won. This may seem absurd to you personally, but I had some mild addictive elements. I decided 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 range from work, exercise, sex, romance, co-dependency, gambling, Internet compulsions and whatever activity causes the addictive cycle described above.
Addiction is hell on earth. Theologically, addiction is idolatry. The options are simple: stop and stay stopped. Permanently. If despite sincere desire and multiple tries to stop, swallow your pride and get help ASAP. You deserve better.
Incidentally, I shall ready my coffee ritual tomorrow morning.
"Habit vs. Addiction" simply provides the reader a means to distinguish between common daily routines, habits and unconscious behaviors and predictable signs or symptoms indicating a bio-psychosocial attachment to a psychoactive substance or incessant, compulsive behavior.