The title of this article presupposes that you believe you’re addicted to something. We will assume it’s a drug of some type, and we will further assume that you are asking yourself whether addiction is the issue causing some sort of discomfort in your life. We make these assumptions based on the title of the article.
In order to discuss whether addiction is the cause of your personal strife, we must define addiction. But here is the conundrum – addiction is totally subjective. Each individual has his own definition. For example, I grew up in a rural area where drinking 12 beers every night was commonplace and accepted. “Addiction experts” would deem every one of these people as “alcoholics.” Yet, if you asked any of them if they were in fact an alcoholic, they would have literally laughed at you, and bragged how they could “handle their liquor” and for me to stop being ridiculous. In their definition of addiction, they saw the guy who drank 4 beers and fell down as an “alcoholic” because he could not build the tolerance to be able to drink a twelve pack at a sitting. This logic is exactly 180 degrees out of sync with “addiction experts.” My point is simple – there is no definition of addiction, because we all drink or drug for intensely personal reasons, and those reasons are held within the mind and mental drives of the individual. Any definition of addiction that claims to pigeonhole the drinker or drugger into an addiction classification is a myth.
The Addiction Construct
Here is a simple fact – addiction as you know it is a social construct. It’s a group of ideas based on the cultural norms of a geographic area. In one culture such as the Fareast, doing opiates is as normal as having a beer in the states. In Russia, if you don’t drink, you are seen as untrustworthy, yet if you drank the same amounts in Ireland, you would be seen as untrustworthy. The point is there is no definition that is stable worldwide.
This means addiction as a state of powerlessness is actually a myth. If you believe in powerlessness and loss of control, you have adopted the Western cultural view of “addiction.” However, most cultures do not believe in such ideas, and therefore they do not believe in the construct of that version of addiction. Many cultures do not believe in addiction at all and there drinking and drug habits (norms) reflect those ideals.
Addiction is Not Your Problem
Addiction as a state of loss of control over booze and drugs is not your problem because you are always making choices even when you have a severe habit (it’s still a chosen habit). But, in our culture, it is the belief in addiction and the loss of control theory that is the problem. I bet you did not expect this conversation to go this way when began reading this article. I would guess that you expected a list of three things that proved you weren’t an addict. Yet, addiction does not in reality exist the way you think it does. You are always in control. But you may feel as if you don’t have control. But a feeling is just that – a feeling. And feelings can change. Your preferences for drugs and alcohol can change. If you feel happier adjusting your levels of use to something less, then you will do that. If you pine away wishing you could be higher, well then, you’ll seek getting higher.
So the answer to your question is simple – when you no longer adopt the powerlessness narrative and you reject the Western victim mentality in regards to using drugs and alcohol, you will know that addiction is not your problem, but that your belief in addiction is the problem.