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Allen Warner

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Do You Have an Addiction?

Thursday, April 19, 2012, 8:14 AM

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I think the term “addiction” is used too generally. Many will over-generalize and say simple, everyday things are addictions. But addiction can come in the form of caffeine, alcohol, and/or drug consumption; these are typical addictions.

Gambling, shopping, and pornography can also be considered addictions. How do you know if you are truly addicted to something? To what things can one become addicted, officially?

Addiction is defined as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, such as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. (Dictionary.com)

Here are a few ways to determine if you have an addiction and what you need to do to be free:

Take an account. Pay careful attention to all your habits and daily activities. What is something excessive in your life that you could do without?

Quit “cold turkey.” Take that excessive thing and quit cold turkey tomorrow morning. If it's easy to quit and stay “clean” for 7 days, it's most likely not an addiction. If you struggle to function without it and are paranoid, depressed, angry, etc. you may have an addiction.

Is it self-medication? What do you feel in the moment you reach for your habit? Is there a correlation between uncomfortable emotions and your habits? This could be your first sign that you are self-medicating with a substance to numb uncomfortable feelings.

Calculate the costs. Figure out how much money or time you're wasting on your habit--it should add to your desire to quit.

Attend an addiction group session. Commit to attend at least one. You don't have to speak during the session or attend ever again but try it out. How do you feel afterward? Did any of the attendees' stories correlate with yours? Did you gain any insights?

Get a doctor's opinion. Find out how damaging your habit is to your health. Smoking, alcohol, and eating disorders all have life-lasting effects. Have you already caused damage to your body?

Seek professional help. Commit to one therapy session with an addiction professional in which you openly discuss your issues. A session can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 but what you gain is solutions, emotional support, and more chances to actually recover.

Reach out to those you trust. Ask them “Do you think the way that I'm drinking (smoking, eating, exercising, gambling, viewing porn, or shopping) is a problem?” After you ask the question, don't be defensive--just listen to the answer. If they express concern, this problem is real and you need to address it.

Talk to former addicts. Typically, recovered addicts are proud they overcame bad habits and will be willing to offer advice and empathy. They can be helpful in diagnosing early warning signs.

When do you do it? Do you only indulge in a habit when you are isolated? If so, it could mean your habit is an addiction and it's time to quit.

Does your habit revolve around secrets, deceptions, and lies? When someone inquires about your habit and you hide it and lie, that implies that you think it's bad. This is a sign of addiction. You seek to cover up shameful things from others.

If you have an addiction to pornography, Net Nanny offers free software thru its Addict Sponsor Program.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.


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