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When does it become Addiction

Words of Wisdom from Wild Bill

I went to check on my aging neighbor, Grandma Molly. She cared for her father Bill who slipped in and out of dementia. I had barely said hello when “Wild Bill” sat up in his chair and shouted, “you don’t have cats-they have you!” It was so random, I had a good laugh. I was in my early twenties, and although it was truly hilarious, I began to wonder about what it meant for something to “have you.”
We all know what addiction is. The first thought that comes to mind may be of someone with a drug problem. Now there’s an addict. That big word applies to “him (or her) not me-I could never get in a situation like that.” Maybe you’re not a drug addict but, dependency takes many forms. Just ask yourself, WHAT HAS ME? Diet Coke, chocolate or sweets, cigarettes, ice cream, coffee, or booze? We are creatures of habit and like a rat running in it’s wheel, we have to run faster and faster to keep all the balls in the air. We can forget what it’s like to make decisions from a calm and healthy perspective. We rely on the “zip” in the caffeine, the comfort in the sweets or the “high” from the booze to feel like we’re on top of things.
Substances that bring pleasure or reduce anxiety are the ones that induce dependency. Pleasure appeals to us emotionally. So, even though alcohol, nicotine, barbiturates, caffeine, and opioids can lead to a physical dependence, you can also be lead towards a food or beverage emotionally because of the comfort it brings. Like a child to a favorite blanket-we just want it.
So my reason for writing this today is I’m hoping you’ll take a personal inventory. What can’t you go without? If you can go 10 days without having or constantly thinking about a substance, then chances are you’re not addicted to it. Practice refusal. It is one of the most elegant expressions. If something “has you” I hope it’s your cat.

Love and health,