Monday, November 24, 2014

Word Abuse - Addiction

There are many words in the English language which are misused and abused.  One of my favorites is myriad, which seems to have really gained popularity with media talking heads.  This word is an adjective - like big, or green, or loud.  It does not require a preposition.  But this is an abuse of mechanics; not meaning.

What I find more aggravating is when people abuse words for purposes of exaggeration.  They want to express their feelings about something, so they use the most powerful word they can find. Obviously, the word awesome has been done to death.

Today, I want to talk about addiction.  This word is most commonly used regarding the use of a habit-forming substance; something that is clearly harmful to the body and which will result in withdrawal symptoms when the person quits or reduces usage of said substance. Opiates and alcohol immediately come to mind as examples.

Unfortunately, this is not the scenario to which people refer when they talk/brag about their affection for things like:  chocolate, junk food, pastries, or sex, but they will insist that they are indeed addicted to them.  Rubbish.

Addiction - in the form of a craving, yen, or passion - is a normal human condition.  Anything that feels good, or that we like the taste of, we generally want more of.  Sorry for the grammar, there, but that's the way it is.  If it brings us any kind of pleasure, we want more.  But the point is that this passion or affection is not limited to just food or physical pleasure; it can include other common, popular leisure activities - lawn care, football, hunting, fishing…the list is endless.  But again, people will insist that they are indeed addicted to ________ whatever.

Actual addiction is - above all else - a rather pathetic or hopeless state of being; not just a matter of lack of will power.  What many people suffer from is simply a lack of (or refusal to exercise) moderation.  A little is good, so more is better.  Addiction occurs when your particular passion takes control of your life such that it affects the quality of your work, your job attendance, your duties and obligations to employer and family.  At that point, you're probably in need of some professional counseling or a big wake-up call.

For most of us, things like chocolate, junk food, sex, or even alcohol are not a big problem.  We put things in perspective.  Life is a series of ups and downs, of anticipation and satiation.  Steak usually tastes better if you don't eat every day. Hunger can be a good thing.

I think what people infer when they use the word addiction is that they are not to blame for their actions, for their excesses because….well…they're addicted.
Bollocks.  Moderation - a form of mental balance - requires effort, and that is the part some don't like.  Indulgence isn't a matter of effort (although energy is expended); it's just an abandonment of control.  

Having a passion for something (or somebody) does not mean that one jettisons all sense of control.  

I think we misuse the word addiction in the same sense as the word love.

What we really mean is, we just like it a lot.

Truth be told, at the end of the day, we're ALL addicted to something or other. The only thing that makes the difference is that most of us are in control of our addictions.  And the rest - they don't seem to know when enough is enough; that you can only get so high in the moment, that there should be moderation and periods of non-indulgence.  Most everything in Life is defined by contrasts; hot/cold, light/dark, up/down.  But for too many, a hundred is not enough and one is too many.  And that's true for everything, not just alcohol.

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