What is your addiction? And trust me…we all have one!
Currently, I’m battling cigarettes…again! I picked up smoking again about a year ago…while drinking rum and thinking I was on top of the world…though I believe in a more moderate level than 12 years ago, when I had been successful in quitting. And believe me, I know and remember how much quitting kicked my ass! I swore I’d never smoke again, even just one cigarette for fear that it would require me to have to go through that “quitting” phase again. And while I probably never smoked more than 6 cigarettes per day in the past year, I still began to see about a month ago how it still had taken power over me.
Only 6 cigarettes a day…I can just stop them cold turkey, No? Not so much! I have found myself in the past couple of weeks to be irritable, to be distracted…counting on my fingers how many hours it’s been since my last cigarette, how many hours let in the day in order to only smoke 5 that day. WTF?!?! Have I become a junkie again? Am I now completely addicted to those 5 or 6 moments each day when I am filling my body with that horrible chemical known as nicotine?!?!
Then let’s just be smart about quitting again. 12 years ago I began to use the patch…it’s like a band-aid that’s about 1″ x 1″ which I put on my mid-section and it just passes nicotine into my system all day. (I have to take it off when it’s time to sleep because it does cause nightmares.) And with time, you just magically lose the taste for cigarettes. You don’t get nasty…if anything, I feel as though I’m out of a fog and that I actually feel even more positive than I do normally.
And I remember that with time, I will begin to feel a sense of serious accomplishment. I will begin to smell and taste things better than before. I will begin to feel free of the addiction that I have realized once again has taken power over my free will.
Are all addictions so easy to break? NOT AT ALL!
In my family, I have seen how powerful alcohol is to so many of my relatives. And these relatives come in two forms…first there are those who claim that alcoholics are the ones who go to meetings…while then there are those who eventually are forced to realize how their drinking has actually made them into a person who is different than who they think they are. Drinking has led them to lie to their loved ones…abandon them for trips to the pub with “friends” or irritable during moments when they “can’t” drink. Can drugs have as a strong a power over us? Absolutely! Though I believe that with drugs, the power held over your life is infinite. They say that as a recovering drug user, you think about getting high every single day for the rest of your life. That control over your free will is never cut.
Are there other addictions we might suffer from? Of course. Who doesn’t know anyone who is addicted to their ability to cheat on their girlfriend or wife? Or how about the man who is addicted to work? I think that’s the worst! Why? Because no one wants to compete with a job…as many feel as though they might be competing for their man’s attention when he chooses to go out drinking or philandering with other women. Everyone wants to support the success of their partner/family member or child. But when does it become too much? Should we all restrict ourselves to only 8-12 hour work shifts each day? Allowing ourselves the rest of the time to spend with the people who are in our lives who deserve our time and attention?
There is still another addiction…which I don’t consider to be physical because it does not include adding a chemical to your body…and that one is gambling. I say you’re not adding a chemical to your body…but you’re not adding a chemical to your body when you are a workaholic either. The difference is that when you are a workaholic, you are not stealing money from anyone in order to work. Once would hope that a workaholic earns the money to make sacrificing the time with their family worth it. But a gambler is different. With gambling, they are addicted to that high they feel when they win. The rush of that brain chemical, dopamine. Because I witnessed how gambling (in addition to drinking) affected my family while I was growing up, I never touched a game of chance, never wanting to ever feel that temporary high.
I saw how people tend to never be happy with just life…never having a life that satisfied them enough to keep them satisfied with that everyday routine. I watched how women grew up…got married (dopamine overload…being Cinderella for a night) and then saw how their lives were just normal afterwards. Never able to accept the life they had as being enough, I witnessed TONS of people then get divorced. If there were children involved, then leaving their children feeling as though they weren’t enough to keep their parents together, happy and satisfied with their lives together. Talk about a game of chance! So my answer was to just never get involved in that game as well.
Maybe fear is what has kept me at bay when it comes to additions. Fear that my addictions would only lead to hurting other people. When made to consider that gambling was a disease, the only voice in my head was screaming how F*!?ing selfish a gambler actually is. If you want to say that my personal addiction to cigarettes is such small potatoes in comparison to the hurt that my father caused my family due to his addiction to gambling…then that’s because as a non-smoker, you’ve never been forced to kiss me after I’ve smoked a cigarette. Something I hear is like kissing an ashtray. Sure, the hurt that I cause may only last a moment, but that moment remains in your mind forever.
Today, what I ask of you is…consider what you are addicted to. Is it too much partying? Too much time in a casino as you lose the money that should be kept for your family? Is it work? Is it going to the gym too much? And as a result of this addiction, who are you hurting? Who is suffering from the time you are not moderating enough to save enough for everyone who is in your life? Who is sitting home waiting for you? Who did you lie to before you left home about where you were going to be? Or who doesn’t know where you are at all…who may be concerned for you? We don’t live in a vacuum…as much as some of us would like to think that we do. There is always someone out there who has you on their mind…someone who you might want to spend time with in place of those many hours you want to spend continuing to do something else. Be generous with your time and attention…sacrifice it for someone else. Choose an alternate path for the good of someone you love without it being about them. I believe that the payback might be incredible!