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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Addiction Gets a Bad Rap

Today we have a way of categorizing everything.  I am pretty sure prior to say, the last 15 years or so we just called most of these things "life."  Or when something went wrong in "life" my very philosophical father would say "that's just tough apples."  I don't think people think like that anymore.  Nothing is tough apples.  I no longer see people  "walk it off."  When is the last time you saw a kid's soccer game where a kid comes running up crying and the parent says "rub some dirt on it."  Now we dissect everything. 

Nothing is just "life" everything is a syndrome, a complex, or at the very least a disorder.  That brings me to my point; I heard someone talking about Addictive Personality Disorder.  Really? They weren't talking about alcohol or drugs.  They were talking about exercise.  You show me someone who isn't addicted to something and I will show you someone with a complete lack of focus.  Don't get me wrong I am not condoning drug addiction, alcoholism, smoking,or the host of other unhealthy choices to which this "disorder" tethers us.  And I do believe the addiction to alcohol and drugs is a serious disease.  It is the concept of an addictive personality disorder, that labels everyone who seems to have an iron dedication to an activity like work or running or who uses it as an excuse not to stop doing something that is clearly not a biological compulsion like shopping.  Ask a known addict of one of these unhealthy addictions, that made it to the other side, and they will tell you they replaced an unhealthy addiction with a healthy one.  They did not cast spuriously aside the concept of addiction, but rather chose to work with it. 

Oddly enough if you have ever noticed, when you work in concert with an addiction to something healthier you are no longer addicted.  You are forming a habit.  I say give addiciton its due.  If it is to be blamed for all that is wrong and self-destructive, then it should receive the credit when one has a singular addictive focus that leads to greatness, say Michelangelo.  Not all addictions come in a one size fits all nor are all clearly addictive to the naked eye. 

I say pick your addictions to suit your personality and lifestyle.  For me running gives me the sense I suppose some find in church.  I feel centered and relaxed and I feel possibly stronger and better than I really am in the middle of those great runs.   Addiction has its place and diseases and disorders have their place.  I just question our desire to label everything that might actually just be "life."

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