Addiction can be defined as any pathological activity
that is potentically life-damaging, and continued even when it is
People who are more likely to become addicts experience less
pleasure than other people in response to 'normally' pleasurable
stimuli, and a higher than 'normal' pleasure response to particular
In their pursuit of pleasure, human beings may actually damage their
lives, their health, and their potential for other types of
happiness. It is a difficult balancing act which not all of us can
My combined addictions could very well affect my health to the extent
that my experience of life is affected for the worse, and yet I
persist in my behaviours. Binge drinking, excessive caffeine
consumption, binge/purge behaviour regarding food, as well as
occasional extreme caloric restriction, could result for example in
heart attack or stroke.
For most of my life, my patterns with food resembled an addiction
which I had as little control over as an addict over the drug of
choice. Food is not something you can give up entirely, as you must
make decisions every day about what and how much to eat. Through the
years I may have become better at understanding and moderating my
patterns with food, but it has never become easy or natural for me.
However, in recent years my primary coping source has switched over
to alcohol. Caffeine also seems to have reduced the frequency of food
binge/purge episodes, but all of these addictions are linked, and
when I want to give any one of them up for a while, I must give up
all of them.
...The life imposed on us is too hard to bear: it brings too
much pain, too many disappointments, too many insoluble problems. If
we are to endure it, we cannot do without palliative measures... Of
such measures there are perhaps three kinds: powerful distractions,
which cause us to make light of our misery, substitute satisfactions,
which diminish it, and intoxicants, which anaesthetize us to it.
Something of this sort is indispensable...Substitute satisfactions,
such as art affords, are illusions that contrast with reality, but
they are not, for this reason, any less effective psychically, thanks
to the role that the imagination has assumed in mental
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
I did not let years of my life pass unconsciously. I was
aware from the time I was very young of how important it was to
enjoy youth while you had it, to not put off until tomorrow what you
could do today, and to constantly question all daily actions, and
how they did or did not contribute toward goals or what you wanted
in life. I do not think I could have tried harder to change, or to
find possible solutions for my particular problems.
I have made attempts to modify my actions regarding all of my
addictions, but conclude that for me there may be more benefit in
indulging than abstaining. However, it is also beneficial for me to
attempt periods of abstinence - even if the main benefit is a type of
pleasure which is noticeable through contrast when the former
activity is resumed.