How many times have you come across a person affected by addiction and made judgements or become fearful that you might be under threat by them? Our idea of someone with addiction is so clearly defined that it lets most of us off the hook. We don’t identify or sympathise on the basis of this definition. But what about the other forms of addiction that… we all have?
Addiction is the inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, or substance even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. The parts we forget to include in our mental imagery are ‘activity’ and ‘psychological’. The tendency to work too hard because we don’t want to face the issues we have at home. The addiction to exercise and going hard at the gym to distract ourselves from our deepest thoughts. The consistent urge to scroll social media and avoid our feelings through a quick dopamine boost. Do any of these activities sound familiar? The mental imagery of someone working hard, going to the gym and maintaining a social profile are very different to the one society has constructed for addiction, however the motives may have more similarity than you think.
Perhaps the definition of addiction should not be confined to what we are addicted to, but what motivates us to find comfort in addiction. This definition may bring us closer than we think as we all have dark unsettling thoughts that we use things to distract us from. Nobody wants to face the darkest corners of their mind so we get busy and throw ourselves into activities to take its place.
We take our mental state with a grain of salt, avoiding any work we could do to better ourselves as we compare our vice with another’s, placing ourselves on pedestals. However we fail to realise that the commitment is albeit the same regardless of the activity. We as a community have decided that some outlets are better than others, failing to address that most of us can’t sit in a room with our thoughts, doing nothing, for too long. If we did we might start to discover that we too have addictions.
As a community we need to normalise our collective feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, loss and whatever else we feel so that we can start to delve into our minds and stop living through addiction. However in the meantime find the least harmful versions of addiction to use as expression.
Team TBM xx