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Now, before you start telling me about how addiction ruined you, your family, and/or your friends’ lives and you know what addiction is and it’s not you, let me explain myself.

I know addiction is bad. I have seen first-hand the effects that a debilitating addiction can cause. Loss of job, home, friends, family, and sometimes even life; but what about everyone else? There are those whose addictions destroy them. Who lose themselves and their lives in an addiction, whether it be drugs, sex, gambling, or something else. But  there are those who have what would be called bad addictions, but who still get by.

We watch those people, we sit back and feel thankful that we’re not like them. We are different, we have self control, we would never be like that. Maybe. Maybe not. What’s your addiction? When you come home from work in the evening do you crack open a beer and sit down? What about a glass or two of wine with dinner? Or a gin and tonic before bed? No, you’re not an addict, you’re not like “them” you still have a job, a home, maybe even a family. But how many nights a week do you have a drink? It’s just to unwind right? You have a stressful day at work so you need a drink, and then on weekends you can relax, let loose and drink. So, you’re drinking almost every day. To relieve stress, to have fun, and to wind down.

But, it’s different. People who hold a job, have families and a good home are not addicts. They can’t be because addicts are the dirty people you see lying on street corners. It’s not an addiction if you can keep functioning. But is it really true? What happens if you are told not to drink for a week. I’m sure you could do it, but how would you feel? I bet it wouldn’t feel good.

I bring up alcohol here because it one of the themes that bothers me the most. I watch people come home every night and have a few glasses of wine or a beer and if the topic of addiction is brought up they talk about how sad it is that people need a crutch to get by and don’t have the willpower to stop themselves using or doing whatever they are addicted to. Are we really all so blind to reality? Drinking like this is okay, it’s normal in society, so it’s not addiction. The kid caught trying marijuana a couple times in high school is sent to rehab while his parents drink almost every night. Why? Just because marijuana is a drug and drinking is “normal”? Are we really all so blind to reality?!

While I talk about alcohol, the point is relevant to so many other things: the people who have to go to the gym every day to feel better. When does that stop becoming about physical fitness and start becoming an obsession?

Or the chronic dieter who talks about the need to be (and stay) healthy, when in reality the number of diets and obsession with weight and calories isn’t healthy. S/he can spend more time obsessing over diets and health than a heroin addict spends searching for ways to find heroin.

Even the coffee drinker. Every day you need your morning coffee, and then another one to get you through the afternoon. What happens if that gets taken away?

Are we really so different from those people we look down on as “addicts”? I understand there’s a difference between someone who loses everything to drug or gambling addictions, and someone who needs a cup of coffee every morning, but the similarities are still there. There are drug addicts who don’t lose everything but are still viewed as lesser just because they have admitted their addiction. Maybe we should look at ourselves more objectively; in a lot of respects, we’re not that different.