The word ADDICTION started out as purely “a state of physiological or psychological dependency on a psychoactive substance, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and thus temporarily alters the chemical milieu of the brain.” (Whew! Thanks Wikipedia).
Recently, though, the meaning of the word has been broadened, and so has its connotation. Doctors have discovered that you could be addicted to sex, gambling, video games, and in fact just about anything. In other words, no longer is something you put in your body triggering the craving, but rather your doing it yourself.
For far too long addiction has gotten a bad rap. When you hear the word, alarm bells go off. Nothing good ever precedes it: cocaine addiction, heroin addiction, meth addiction, etc.
A record number of people are addicted to coffee. They need the stimulus to jump start their day. If they don’t have coffee, they’ll drag in their work and even display a bad mood. I can’t imagine there’s a doctor anywhere that would advise them to get treated for this addiction.
How about babies? Are they addicted to their blanket? Try taking it away and see what happens. Suddenly baby reacts like the meth addict. He’ll scream and shout until he shakes and Mom gets scared seeing her baby convulsing. The minute baby has the blanket back, he gets his fix and he’s fine. Is any doctor looking to cure baby’s withdrawal symptoms?
I’m addicted to spinning. If I don’t spin, I become aggressive and antsy, pretty much like the heroin addict. My spin class is full of people like me, who feel the "physiological and psychological dependency on a psychoactive substance": it’s called endorphins. I’d like to see a doctor recommend sitting on the couch and doing nothing to cure us from our addiction.
All you work-a-holics out there, welcome to addiction. The zeal behind your work is now considered…unhealthy? I doubt it. If you’re so inclined to spend your time and energy working 24/7, more power to you. What doctor will prescribe shutting down your brain and putting yourself in a state of inertia?
The more I think about it, the more I like addiction. I’m warming up to the psychoactive substance, not the one people put in their bodies, because that’s truly dangerous, but rather to the one generated in our brain and brought forth through our actions. Van Gogh was addicted to painting, Lance Armstrong is addicted to the bike, Yitzchak Perlman is addicted to the violin, and…well, you get the message. They, and anyone else who needs to indulge in their craft and deeds have an addiction.
So from now on, cut addiction some slack. Think of addiction as a call to action; a drive towards something you can’t live without. And remember, most important is not to have an addiction that depletes your soul but rather one that replenishes your soul.