Recognize and Remedy
When the word addiction enters a sentence, it is most commonly in reference to a drug or alcohol. Addiction can be attributed to so many more facets of our lives though, and recognizing this is the first step towards combating it.
Too much of just about anything is not healthy, and if you are doing anything to such an excess that it begins to be detrimental, you are addicted to it. By the same token, if you are avoiding doing something to the point of it being detrimental, you are an addict. Perhaps a few examples are in order.
Harmful things that are done to excess are easier to recognize. Besides the obvious drugs and alcohol, addictions to things such as eating, shopping, exercising and working can all be harmful. All of these things can be addictions and a lot of these things don’t even carry a bad connotation depending on the phasing of the sentence.
Some would tout a hard worker as having a good work ethic, while others point out that a workaholic virtually abandons his family and is irrevocably harming his health with the added stress and not so restful sleep.
Shoppers could be called collectors or bargain hunters, while chronic shoppers are throwing money away on unnecessary, frivolous items and stacking up debt.
Someone who likes to exercise his health conscience, or an exercise addict is permanently scarring their body and destroying their joints.
Someone who eats too much may have a sophisticated palate or likes to explore the flavors of life, while over-eaters are killing themselves, risking diabetes and heart disease and causing undue strain on their bodies.
Excess is one side of the addiction coin, and deprivation is the other side. This is most commonly recognized with eating disorders such as Anorexia. In this example the addiction is not associated with the act of doing something, but rather the result you get from not doing something. You are not addicted to not eating, you are addicted to the result of not eating, of weighing less.
Someone who is tight with their money can be described as thrifty and money conscious, or they can be described as a scrooge, a tightwad or cheap. They are not addicted to spending money, but rather saving it. Even minimalism can be taken too far, when the refusal to purchase an item in the name of being a minimalist begins to affect you and those around you causing undue strain, it is time to reevaluate your lifestyle and the possibility that you have an addiction.
In both of these scenarios; excess and deprivation, the common thread is that the act is being taken to the extreme. Modern day types of addiction have been extended to the world of social media and technological devices. Cell phones and video games are real addictions that can lead to serious issues. The unending pursuit of internet fame by any means necessary can have massive detrimental effects on a person and their families. The fear of missing out can stop someone from living a “normal” life, an addiction to information of sorts.
In order to combat addiction, one must begin to live in the realm of moderation. With the exception of drugs and alcohol, these acts are not inherently bad. They are only detrimental when taken to an extreme in either direction. Moderation is the antidote to addiction.
Similar to those fad diets that never seem to stick, extreme restriction is the precursor to failure in a diet. A diet that is all inclusive with a wide variety of foods but stresses serving size moderation is the key to well balanced, healthy food intake and is easier to maintain. Shopping is not bad, eating is not bad, social media, working, dieting, video games, exercise. None of these are bad…in moderation.
The hardest part is recognizing the addiction. It is hard to look in the mirror sometimes and evaluate all of the decisions that you make in your life, but sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes all it takes is to really start listening to those closest to you. Unfortunately, often the only way you are really able to come to realization of an addiction is through tragedy, disappointment, let downs, struggles and broken relationships.
Once you realize the problem, the answer is combating that addiction with moderation. A swing to the extreme opposite is just as harmful as the addiction itself.