Is addiction the root of all evil?

There are a lot of situations in life that are out of our control.  Politics, global warming, stock market, taxes and even neighbours.  If we really think about it, not being in control of our lives and our surroundings makes us vulnerable to the quality of life we can live.

  • How about your own personal life? Are you in control of that?
  • Are you in control of your body being in the state of disease? 
  • Are you in control of problems caused by addictions? 

I guess the logical answer to that would be yes.  We should be in control of things that involve our mental and physical state.  We are after all biologically superior beings.  How true is that statement, or do addictions control our lives?

“Addiction is a term that means compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance or behavior characterized by tolerance and well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;” – Morten Hesse  

Biology of Addiction

People with addiction lose control over their actions. They crave and seek out drugs, alcohol, or other substances and activities no matter what the cost. Even at the risk of damaging friendships, hurting family, or losing jobs. 

What is it about addiction that makes people behave in such destructive ways? And why is it so hard to quit?

My Journey

Well, I sit here struggling to get started on my last leg to health and wellness. January 1 has turned into July 1. I know it will be worth it, but the first week is a battle.

I found going cold turkey is the best way for me to get rid of cravings in place of the ‘just cut back your calories’ method. What took me so long to get started? Is it a mental or physical struggle that keeps all of us from our desired destination? 

  “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle 

Looking back, I recognize I am a creature of habit.  I could eat the same thing everyday and not get bored of it.  So, as I slipped into unhealthy habits like a diet coke and muffin for breakfast, I wonder if it has a deeper meaning?  Why did this become a habit?  Did the fact that I have insomnia and felt like crap in the morning make it a habit? Was it my ‘go to’ happy place to get me going?  I think so. 

Caffeine gives you a jump start and a muffin, with its sugary goodness, disguised as something healthy, fooled me. To break this habit, I had to move someplace that had no McDonalds. Pretty bad.

Cassie Bjork, RD, LD, states that sugar can be even more addicting than cocaine.

My Name is Deborah and I am a Sugar addict.

Street drugs have a similar effect on the brain as sugar. Addiction is a strong word for the love of sugar, but if used enough it can lead to a true addiction. Excess sugar can release opioids and dopamine in our bodies just like drugs.

I remember a time I loaned my new car to someone, under duress. I did not feel good about it, but did it to help them out. They brought it back with thousands of dollars in damage. My anger rose to a height I have never experienced before. As I look back, “my go to feel better drug” was a fresh cinnamon bun at a local store. As I consumed that warm sugary treat, minutes later I found the emotional response was gone. I was still upset but the quivering anger dissipated. Bam! Wake up time – I’m a sugar addict. 

“Sugar is everywhere and we are consuming too much of it.” – Andy Bellatti-MS, RD

How is it that we take lightly introducing sugar to children at such a young age? I have a granddaughter that inhaled her first ice-cream cone. One lick and her eyes exploded with delight. When you think about it, sugar shows up at all celebratory events. Christmas, Easter, birthdays and even rewards for a job well done. We relate happy times to the consumption of yummy food.

I remember when potty training my kids, a lifesaver was the grand prize for making a deposit.

Don’t be fooled, sugar can come in healthy packages too, like fruit juice and fruit juice additives in products.

I know sugar affects us mentally as well as physically. When you get rid of sugar in your diet you soon recognize sugar addiction affects your whole being. Cravings set in as well as headache and joint pain. 

Next Up – Alcohol

“Addiction: The disease that makes you too selfish to see the havoc you created or care about the people whose lives you have shattered.” – Unknown 

I have lived my life surrounded by alcoholism with people near and dear to my heart. If anything, it kept me away from this ‘serpent of humanity’.  It isn’t called ‘fire water’ for nothing.  I’ve seen wonderful, loving, smart people disintegrate to the bottom rung of life’s ladder because alcohol took control of their lives.

The thing is with alcohol, its support comes and goes and leaves you feeling worse in many ways than before. Alcohol becomes your best friend. What kind of a friend wants you to fail in life?

There are so many other addictions out there that keep us from living up to our full potential. These are just two of them that I am familiar with.  I can’t list them all. The human spirit becomes entangled in a web that is hard to get out of. But the good news is you can break free.

Are we in control of our personal lives? The answer is yes!  Deep within us is the power to point the way to freedom.  

Recognizing there are different degrees of addiction, diverse actions need to take place. On the lower scale a simple detox and self control – all the way to a high level of addiction that has deep psychological roots.  I have found great insight in Dr. Gabor Mate’s books dealing with all levels of addiction.

“You need to fight like a lion to get rid of the things that are holding you back.” – Deborah Bullock

“There is no shame in beginning again, for you get a chance to build bigger and better than before.” – Leon Brown

Share This