What is an "Addiction"?
The state of being compulsively committed to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
The definition above covers a lot of bases in the discussion about addictions. Compulsion, habits, and by the traumatic physical and mental reactions it causes when you stop. So addictions are both physical and mental afflictions.
I would add one more symptom to this list, and I think it could be THE most important symptom. "Excuses".
How can you tell if someone is addicted to something? By their desire and need to defend the element of their addiction. Justifying addiction is possibly the number one symptom. Making excuses and qualifying addiction are so indicative to addiction that once made aware of it, you can tell in an instant the level of dependency a person has.
At what point is one "addicted"?
It seems like a small point, but actually it is THE point.
If you are at any point in your day thinking of the addictive element, no matter how slight, you are addicted.
Lets say that you are on a walk in nature and you are thinking, I sure would like to have a smoke, then that is an addiction. Or if you are at work thinking about wine, you are an addict. If you need something to feel better, then you are an addict.
I'm not talking about actually feeling bad, like a headache, fever, or an upset stomach, I'm talking about stress, anxiety, or pressure. If you need something to make you courageous enough to do something you think you need to do but are too inhibited to do it, then you are addicted. If you think of something to help you "relax" then you are addicted.
Although I never had any physical or mental withdrawal symptoms there was a period of my life when I "thought" about having a glass of wine, or beer quite often. I think during that time I was under considerable stress in my life and my inner turmoil caused a certain amount of depression in me. I think that often our body tells us when we are doing ourselves harm by the way we are living our lives, making bad decisions, or the environment in which we live.
These small thoughts used to come to me on a regular basis, and I did recognize them as such, mere thoughts and I recognized the power they had over me. Being aware of the origin of your thoughts is really important when considering addictions. It doesn't matter what it is, wine, beer, narcotics, tobacco, weed, or sexual thoughts, they all stem from a need that is not real. They are needs created for the relief of mental anguish or to lift you out of the abyss of a boring, grey life with no excitement in it.
I can honestly say that I no longer have those thoughts. Today, I know I will pay the price for one of them because I won't feel good. Today I know it makes me feel bad like I felt when I was 20 years old.
The greatest damage that addictions have on us isn't necessarily physical, it is mental. It causes a person to make excuses for it. "Well, it is my body and it doesn't hurt anyone else when I do it." "Jesus drank wine." "It is actually healthy". "The experts don't know what they are talking about, it doesn't hurt you any more than _______." Some addicts go so far as make it their prime mission in life to get others to think they are some sort of advocate for their addictions and talk about it as if I was something to be proud of.
The bottom line is, if you are doing something that you feel you need which is complete BS, then you are an addict.
When a person becomes "ruled" by their addiction and it becomes a part of their identity then it has reached beyond the point of actual mental clarity. It is now an element of the ego. You are becoming the thing of your addiction. You are no longer just a human being, you are a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, a joint, and the list goes on and on.
There is a big difference between having a glass of wine for dinner and needing a glass of wine at 9:00 a.m, or smoking a joint alone in your apartment at 1:00 a.m. Neither will kill you, but both dominate you. Simply the feel the need for a thing that tugs at your mind which isn't a real natural need, is an addiction.
If you disagree with the above and feel the need to argue my points, then it isn't my points you should question, but your own logic and what is affecting your logic.
At some point there has to be an end to it. Unless you can live without something for a good year without help, you are addicted. I guess in AA they tell you it is like cancer, once a an addict always and addict, and admitting it is the only cure there is.
I think the 23rd Psalm and The Lord's Prayer are the perfect Bible passages for the addicted person, because it is a reminder that we are frail humans and need to stay aware of the temptations that life sends our way and to know them as such.
Eckhart Tolle said in his book that the definition of "sin" is "to miss the mark". In other words, it is when we lose sight of truth that we begin down the path of "sin", which leads to death, not only physically, but mentally, and spiritually. We believe more in BS than in the truth which is, any logic that we formulate which makes excuses for or rationalizes self destructive behaviors.
The bottom line is this. Life isn't easy. The world is a confusing and stressful place, not because of nature, but because of people. Life is full of pain, suffering, emotions good and bad, illness, health, love, hate, happiness and sadness. You may be living in an environment that is completely crazy, and it would make anyone distressed. The world we live in is a place of insecurity.
Being afraid, stressed, insecure, anxious, and inadequate are not unhealthy states of mind, they are reality. These are the normal states that make us feel bad, not physically but mentally and spiritually. So, an addiction is nothing more that the result of treating the symptoms of life, it doesn't take those things away.
So, the cure for addiction while being simple can also be hard to do, because it is like taking a crutch away from a crippled person. While the immediate effect of removing the element of your addiction can be physically painful it eventually leads to a state of the confidence in the knowledge that you can bear life's burdens on your own and therefore rid yourself of the object of your addiction and its power over you.
It isn't the "thing" that is bad for you, it is the "power" that the "thing" has over you that is bad for you.
It is called, getting clean. Getting your mind away from the addictions and stop thinking like an addict. You are not well until you can live without the conversation which includes your addiction.
Psalm 23: King David of Israel (Old Testament)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13)(Gospel) (New Testament) (Quote from Jesus at the Last Supper, the night before he was put to death.)
9Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.