Is there anything you keep doing even though it has negative consequences?
The answer is, “Yes.” Unless you are the first person in history to have absolutely no issues.
As crazy as it may sound, it is actually a valid question to ask, “Are we all addicted to something?” Because most of us have compulsive issues that create negative consequences in our lives. Even if we don’t admit it to anyone, including ourselves.
Are We All Addicted to Something?
Perhaps we have an issue with something as simple as procrastination. And maybe putting off what we should be doing leads to laziness at times.
Or our problem could be people-pleasing. We find ourselves too dependent on the approval or happiness of our kids, or spouse, or friends, or everyone, such that our sense of well-being revolves around them.
It could be shopping. Or spending too much time with television or the internet. Perhaps overeating is our compulsion of choice.
There are many people who are sure they have everything all together. They have compulsions too, they just don’t know it yet. People like this often have issues with control, anger, or workaholism. Often, they hide those traits beneath a self-serving compulsion with pride.
For many other people, the key issue is anxiety or depression. And, of course, there are the classic addictions to cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs.
The odds are that you saw yourself somewhere in the list above. Because, whether you know it or not, you are probably addicted to something.
What Does the Research Say?
What does research say about addiction in the United States?
“Life in the U.S. is so stressful that it is impossible not to become addicted to something.” (When Society Becomes an Addict by Anne Wilson Schaef)
The number of Americans affected include 12 million people with sexual compulsions, 15 million problem gamblers, and 16 million with food issues. Approximately 40 million have compulsive issues with anxiety and 16 million are affected by depression. Addictions with alcohol and drugs strike 37 million people and there are 43 million smokers.
It is an extreme understatement to say, “That is a lot of people.”
“While it is difficult to obtain accurate numbers of workaholics, compulsive spenders, TV and video game addicts, and other less well-known addictions, we can be certain that they are legion.” (The Huffington Post, “Is Everyone Addicted To Something?”)
And these numbers do not include many more with ‘at risk’ compulsive activity. The bottom line is that the vast majority of us either have addictions or compulsion-like issues ourselves and/or we are close to someone who does.
Are we all addicted to something? That’s a very good question.
But a better question is, “What can we do about it?”
To Be Continued …