Thursday, April 05, 2007

22 in 30 - Addictions

I don't see myself as someone who has an addictive personality, therefore, I sometimes have a hard time understanding how someone can get addicted to drugs, or alcohol or gambling, or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that addiction is a serious and REAL disease that affects millions. I just have a hard time wrapping my brain around the actual "addiction" part of it. How can you not just STOP something that you know is destroying your life? Even if physically you need to get help, because some things you can't just quit without can you NOT get that help?

While I don't totally get addiction, I really do feel for those with addictive personalities. It has to be insanely difficult to go through life with some drug controlling you. Whether recovering or still indulging, to have that constant tug...that has to be a horrible feeling.

But I wouldn't understand, because I don't have any of those addictions. I've never tried cigarettes (I think they're the nastiest things ever created), I don't do drugs, never felt the need to "get high", I was always lucky to have friends who could get high on life alone. I don't gamble. This stems mostly from the fact that I don't EVER win anything, but I work too damn hard for my money to just throw it away on some game where the odds are stacked against me. I mean people, I went to Vegas for 5 days and spent MAYBE $5.00 gambling, and that was only because we had to sit at the nickel slots to get our free drinks. And speaking of drinking, I enjoy a good drink on occasion. A night out with friends for martinis, or a glass of wine at home while I read a book can be a thoroughly delightful experience. But I don't feel the NEED to drink. I can go WEEKS without touching alcohol and not even notice it. I can also go out and have ONE drink, and drink water the rest of the night. Doesn't faze me. For the most part, I actually drink for the FLAVOR of the beverage, not the buzz you get from it. I'll admit it would probably suck if someone told me I could NEVER have a martini again, but I'd get over it. I could survive without alcohol being something I think about.

And yet, as much as I realize I'm lucky to not have an addictive personality...I wonder. Maybe I just don't have your typical addictions, but maybe I have other more subtle and less damaging ones. Maybe we all do.

For example...can you go a full week without checking the Internet? Because I can barely go one day...except for maybe on weekends. But, is this because I just MUST, or is it just that I sit at a computer all day, so it's there? After all, on weekends, I barely touch my computer if I can help it.

What about food? Because I have some serious food issues. I eat too much, too often. I'm always thinking about food. What to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What restaurant my friends and I will next meet at. But, is this an addiction, or do I just love food? I fancy myself a bit of a food connoisseur, love to try new things, and experience new flavors. Is that an addiction or just a love of mine?

Then there's the shopping. This is where anyone who knows may think I actually have a bit of a problem. After all, not a week goes by when I don't "go shopping". I SERIOUSLY feel withdrawal symptoms, begin to feel depressed and like I NEED to get to a store if I haven't gone in a few days. I NEED to walk around and see things, touch them, savor the whole experience of being out among merchandise. But I don't always buy. In fact, quite often I "shop" but don't buy. Come home empty handed after a full day at the mall. And when I do buy, I never buy above my means, I don't buy what I can't afford. If it's not on sale, it's usually NOT for me, and even a sale has to be 50% off or more. But I do buy what I don't need. I mean, does anyone really need 50+ pairs of shoes? Don't answer that, I need them all...shut up! But it makes me happy, and it's not hurting me in any way (except maybe for the lack of closet space). Is it an addiction or do I just like pretty things?

There are probably other things I do that can certainly border on addictive behavior. So I do wonder...would I get addicted to drugs if I tried them? Could alcohol become something I NEED one day? I can't imagine it, but I sure hope not.

But the shoes? Well...okay, maybe. But I won't worry until I actually plunk down a mortgage payment to buy a pair of Manolos.

1 comment:

Literary Feline said...

I have heard that addiction can be hereditary--at least the gene that makes a person susceptible to addiction. I would fall into that category. Do I have any addictions of my own? Maybe my compulsive book buying could be considered an addiction. And like you, eating is an issue for me as well. I think I use both my book buying and my overeating as ways to overcompensate for something else, although I am not sure what. I'm still working on that part.