Addiction is defined as being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs). We all have addiction in on form or another. Many of us are addicted to our daily dose of caffeine. Without it we just can’t seem to get our day started. Some are addicted to nicotine. Gladly that number seems to be decreasing and hopefully the lung cancer that results from it will also go down.
But I think the number one addiction for many of us in the U.S. is violence. I don’t think we start out that way. It likely starts with an adrenaline rush caused by the “flight or fight” primordial instincts and then moves on to obsessions such as video games, violent movies, and eventually at least to some with our obsession for war and other forms extreme violence.
Violence gives us a sense of superiority and that in itself is addictive. Like cigarette and booze for some, once you get started you can’t not do it. I pride myself in being a non-violent person. The very thought of war sickens me. But, I also have a dark side in that I enjoy watching “blood and guts” movies once in a while. Maybe this imaginary violence somehow helps me release some form pent-up aggression that might otherwise be released in another form. But I am not obsessed with these types of movies. In fact I can’t remember the last time I saw one.
One of my major past addictions was cigarettes. I started smoking as most of my generation did in high school and did not manage to kick the habit until almost thirty years later. It was a dirty habit that I am now convinced very much affected my dating life. So many potential girl friends just couldn’t put up with that smelly habit. I attempted to quit on several occasions but only managed it after my wife had her first of several heart attacks.
People trying to escape their current dreary lives if just for a little while, many times end up taking drugs. Once addicted it is hard to stop. That very fact has filled our prison system to almost ten times more than it did forty years ago.
But I think everyone learns that the thing about addiction is that it never ends well because whatever made us feel good eventually wears off and it starts to hurt. Sadly we just can’t seem to kick an addiction until we hit rock bottom.