Is it fair to say that when we hear the word addiction, we most commonly associate it with problems relating to alcohol, drugs, gambling, smoking, gaming or porn? It’s true isn’t it, we only think of the extremes of problems and really only see them as addictions when we see them impact our way of life or, when ‘our problem’ has an impact on others, which we don’t want to see, but find we can’t stop our behaviour. Until then they might be things we simply enjoyed, have done with mates to have fun, or blow off some steam, perhaps they were just really familiar behaviours from our childhood and the way our parents dealt with life and challenges. Essentially, they served or continue to serve a purpose. That is what makes these behaviours hard to walk away from.
There are other addictions that are a bit less obvious and can fly under the radar for longer yet, be no less damaging. These might be more openly seen like exercise, food, constant arguments and family drama, or more subtle, more pernicious and crippling like low self-worth, constant self-judgement and self-doubt. These more subtle internal patterns of behaviour can often be the fuel that sustains the more overt and harming behaviours.
Without addressing the low self-worth and incessant self-critique, we are unlikely to walk away from a coping strategy that has worked well to conceal it or ensure it does not impact our life as much. It sounds crazy that we would accept things in our life that are clearly not working, like family drama. ‘Crazy’, until we consider that projecting onto someone else, or making a situation the ‘issue’ distracts us from the internal challenges we feel. We use our go-to distractions to take us away from the bits we find harder to resolve.
Whatever our ‘addiction’, and whilst some may have been perceived by society to be more physically, psychologically, or emotionally harmful than others, could it be that they all have the same effect of harming us. Look below the surface, if we can see why we use the behaviour we are over halfway to letting go of the addiction. If we benchmark some as worse than others, we are missing the point entirely and the behaviour will not change, it will simply change its name.
Addictions - same, same but different.