You Don’t Have An Addiction Problem

Is it just me, or does it seem that everything today is now an addiction?  We have names for diseases that I’m not all that convinced are diseases.

We live in a therapeutic society that gives us excuses for being the way we are, rather than understanding that the choices we make and the actions we take determine the life that we live.  It’s not an addiction; it’s a choice.

We also use the word “mistake” lightly.  When a professional basketball player took guns into a locker room and confronted his fellow teammates; that wasn’t a mistake, that was a choice. A mistake is going down the wrong road on your way to the restaurant.  A mistake is putting the wrong kind of oil into your engine.  A choice is when you do something that’s illegal, immoral, or unethical and then you face the consequences.

This distinction was never more important than it is right now in America, in our marriages.  Marriages are breaking up over “addictions.”  If a man commits adultery against his wife, he doesn’t have a moral problem, or an ethical problem, he has an “addiction.”

Whatever reason Tiger Woods was driven to do what he did, I’m not at all convinced that it’s as easily fixed as saying, “he has an addiction.”

One of the reasons I think we opt for the “addiction” label is we don’t want to be judgmental.  Who among us has the right to cast the first stone?  But trust me, that’s not the issue.  The issue is this; if we can continue to excuse our behavior, our society is going to continue to fall apart.  Our marriages are going to continue to dissolve.  The number of children without fathers is going to continue to grow.  And without a stable family, without stable marriages, without a home with a mom and a dad in it, children are not going to grow up, to go to college, to enter professions, to earn money, to pay taxes, or support the structure of our society and our standard of living.

Before you go off to a retreat center and spend money you don’t have, and get treated for an “addiction” you don’t have, stop to think.  Maybe it’s time to just make better decisions. Stay off the internet with the porn, don’t drink to excess, show up for work, be a nice person:  simple choices that could save your life.

7 thoughts on “You Don’t Have An Addiction Problem”

  1. Interesting and articulate post, and I agree with you to a large extent. The media seems to revel in the melodrama of ‘addiction’.

    So yes. Sex addiction, porn addiction, obsessions, compulsions… there is always an element of personal choice. I would just add that some substances and behavioural routines mess with our in-built reward mechanisms. If we repeatedly choose to play these games, the quality of our decision making gets eroded by this process.

    In other words, ‘addiction’ hijacks our natural instinct to meet our innate emotional needs. We get trapped and struggle to recognise that we still have simple choice. We don’t see the options any more, and our lives can crash around us.

    I’m not making excuses for anyone here – addicts choose that direction. U-turns are completely possible, but not always so straightforward…

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