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Non-toxic Addiction

Is there such a thing as non-toxic addiction?

OK, so I'm guessing you're looking at the title of this blog and wondering when I lost my marbles - but stick with me.

Having an addictive personality is a reality some of us have to live with. Despite being a Life Coach advocating change, I know it's unlikely I could coach any person from having an addictive nature - to not. You don't see Alcoholics Anonymous (or any other 12-step addiction recovery programme) suggesting it's all in the mindset and you can drink just a little. No, it's all or nothing for an addict. I'm not dissing the power of positive mindset here for - of course - it plays its part in the process of recovering from your unhealthy addiction. But I got to wondering, is there such a thing as a healthy addition?

When I attended an AA meeting as the partner of a recovering alcoholic, the first thing I noticed was the massive gathering of smokers on the doorstep. Being a sociable creative, I joined in the chat (if not the smoking) and discovered AA advocates that addicts don't try to wean themselves off more than one addiction at a time. While the anti-smoking lobby would probably insist smoking be placed above drinking in the 'what's the most important to give up' list, this is a well-thought out policy. There are already significant laws in place governing where a smoker may smoke - the same doesn't apply to the drinking of alcohol. There are laws against drinking-and-driving, but that's it. But the primary reason is that nicotine isn't a personality altering substance, while alcohol is.

So, what can you change? Alongside complete withdrawal from your own personal toxic addiction, what can an addictive personality do? Do you need to prevent yourself becoming addicted to any and every thing? Or is it OK to indulge to a certain extent, so long as you are truly honest with yourself over what you are doing and your addiction is non-toxic?

The uber-lovely Marian Keyes addressed this in one of her Short Films recently, and it's well worth a listen.

Demonstrating great self-awareness of her addictive nature and of the ways in which she seeks out her dopamine hit, she takes us through the process whereby she realises 'something' is going on, before examining it's nature - questioning is it harmful to others, is it harmful to her? The answer to both being a clear no, she acknowledges that not only is it giving her that dopamine hit, it is providing great comfort while doing no harm.

So, there you have it, the current Non-toxic Addiction enjoyed by Marian Keyes is reading romance. Now I'm not suggesting that all addicts need to do is to high tail it to the library and load up on the Mills & Boons, for that may not be their thing. But it may be worth giving thought to considering whether there is something else, equally non-toxic, in which you could indulge, in a mindful and self-aware manner.

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