Addiction can be defined as any pathological activity that is potentically life-damaging, and continued even when it is life-damaging.

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 drugs/activities.

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 master.

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 life...

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.















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