Am I addicted?
Recently I have started to question whether I have an addiction to alcohol. Life has continued to throw its challenges in our lives and I find myself drinking something virtually every day. Is that considered an addiction though? Or is it a habit. What is the difference between addiction and habit?
Addiction versus habit
Habit is a behaviour pattern developed by frequent repetition of the act over and over to the point the brain does it automatically. An addiction is a compulsive need of a certain thing or substance to the body, which when deprived causes horrible effects. A habit can be controlled or modified, while addiction cannot be controlled and requires professional help for modification. (Source: www.differencebetween.info)
Which one am I?
As I reflect, I realise that I have got myself into the habit of drinking. I know that I am not addicted because on the days when I am not able to drink due to my role as cabin crew, it does not even cross my mind, even though I am surrounded by alcohol as I serve it to passengers. The reason the habit has formed is that for the last two years I have been spending the majority of my working hours in my other role as a trainer and therefore am not restricted on workdays. On top of that, I have been working to a fixed pattern of working days and hours, which in itself is a form of habit. So why am I doing it? The answer is simply that I enjoy it but don’t need it to function. It was the same when I was a smoker. I gave up many times over the eighteen years that I smoked. Although it took me so many attempts to be successful, I never actually craved a cigarette. I could comfortably go days without smoking, but the minute I was in a position of temptation such as having a drink, my resistance would fold as the habit took over. In my head, I would tell myself off for doing it but at the same time I enjoyed it. The reason I finally kicked the habit was my priorities changed. I met my partner who is a non-smoker and didn’t want to smell like am ashtray when I was with him. Additionally, at the time I quit, the law changed regarding smoking inside public places. I didn’t want to stand out in freezing, wet conditions just to feed my habit.
An addictive personality refers to a particular set of personality traits that make an individual predisposed to developing addictions. (Source: Wikipedia).
I have often considered myself to have an addictive personality. Perhaps a better definition would be to say a habit-forming personality. If I were truly addicted, for example to alcohol, I don’t think I would be achieving the things that I am in my life. Whilst we are facing challenges, I still see my life as blessed and a wonderful experience full of opportunities.
Creating good habits
The other point to state about habits is that they can be good too. Whilst I am drinking most nights after work, conversely I am waking up an hour and a half before leaving for work, to allow me to read a minimum of ten pages of a personal development book. Additionally, for the last 100 days I have met my daily target on a language-learning app. It has become an automatic action that gives me pleasure and progress in areas that I love.
Practicing good habits keeps me from crossing the line to addiction. There is enough discipline deep down that prevents me from going down that route. Not everyone else is so lucky! In forthcoming articles, I will look at breaking bad habits plus addiction in more detail.
About the author: Stuart Dickson’s passion for personal development began in September 2013, when he joined a Network Marketing Company. Part of his development is increasing his spirituality and the many ways of doing this. His first blog, Happy Monday People was born from a project that came about from his personal development journey facebook.com/Happylifepeople
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’