How does one define addiction ? Is it a psychological dependence ? Is it physical ? Is it an obsession or a need ? I don’t know, and I am not trying to define it. At some point, society is able to identify addiction in a person
And what do we get addicted to ? Alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling, sugar, food and even whatsapp … the list is long, and is only getting longer.
The question that in my head is how does one get rid of an addiction ? Is abstinence the solution, or control, or choice ?
When it comes to teenage sex, the theory in the West has been safe sex (a form of control) while Indian culture has propagated abstinence. Both approaches seemed to have failed in achieving their goals. Teenage sex and pregnancies are on the rise in both cultures. Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the most recognized proponent of abstinence for alcohol addiction. Moderation Management, a lesser known group that propagated control, has always opposed abstinence for alcoholics. The jury is still out on the success of either approach. For smoking and drug deaddiction, choice has often been cited as the best option. Smoking gums and alternate drugs for heroin addicts have been offered as a solution. We still don’t know whether these work. Is smoking gum a solution or a marketing whizzkids’ brainchild ?
You are probably not able to relate to the topic above so far and so let me bring it closer to our lives. Let’s talk about our battles with weight loss. Food has to be seen as an addiction for those trying to lose weight. Dieting is a common form of control for weight loss, and dieticians often offer choices for unhealthy snacking habits. As I have tried, and failed multiple times, and have seen friends trying, does control or choice or really work ? My initiation into intermittent fasting makes me a believer in abstinence. Has been easier for me to practice. Goal achievement however still remains elusive.
And then there is the latest addiction created by peoplekind….whatsapp addiction. How many of us have felt that whatsapp is taking over our life? There is almost an involuntary action to check whatsapp every few minutes, a craving to read somebody’s message. How do we deal with this addiction ? Do we exit whatsapp completely? Abstinence. Do we exit selectively ? Cut out some groups, some people? Does this control really help. Can we use the phone more often to speak than message. Will choice help?
There are more questions than answers in my mind. I have not had that many addictions in life, but abstinence has been a favoured solution for me. Abstinence helped me to stop smoking. Abstinence helped me to avoid the gambling addiction. Is this simply a reflection of my weak spirit in which control can’t be exercised ?
When I can train my mind and master control over it, I would have truly won the battle over addiction. Till then I shall use abstinence as an excuse to run away from addiction. Hope you identify your addictions, and find your solutions. And when you find the answers, whatsapp me !