Every day we hear, read and witness the horror of detrimental habits – addictions! Those of us with empathy feel compassion for the addicting/habitual souls who are plagued to the point of destruction. We understand how easily any single one of us can fall under the spell of their grip. However, others of us shake our heads, tsk-tsk in disgust and say simplistically “get over it”, “just stop”.. as if it were indeed that simple!
The fact most of us forget is that every living being has habits they are addicted to. Take for example those of us (me) who can’t start the day without a cup of coffee. Or those of us (not me) who needs a daily run in order to feel their best. Maybe it’s a TV show we can’t miss or a ritual when not followed messes with our psyche. The possibilities of these habits are countless. Granted most are harmless, perhaps even good for us, but, they are still habits, substances, activities we’re addicted to!
Think of something, anything you do like clock-work every single day. Now think about NOT doing it! Take it a step further and actually don’t do it! Dig deeper and tell yourself you can never, ever again do that action or ingestion you stopped. How do you feel? Is it easy to “just stop”? Is it simple to “get over it”? How long can you last before you give in to the urge to go back to the whatever it is you quit?
The fact is, it’s not easy at all… sure maybe for an hour, a day, even a month or two you can muster the self-control to avoid your habit… but long term… forever… that’s going to take a whole lot of will-power, strength< external support and probably two steps forward, one step back!
I’m not insinuating an addiction to or abstaining from coffee, or chocolate or exercise is as difficult as weaning one’s self off drugs, alcohol or other substances as those things have an entirely different, often devastating effect on the mind and body.
The point I’m making is, removing anything from our lives that we’ve become accustomed to; those things or activities that make us feel good, relax us or are simply done by mindless habit, is not easy! It’s not something most of us humans can snap our fingers and sans struggle go without. There are many of us who don’t have the support or resources to seek assistance or rely on.
As we meet or hear about addicts, no matter their addiction, or where it’s led them, let’s keep an open mind and empathetic heart. Let’s remember they are not unworthy or horrible people undeserving of our love, care or at least gentle understanding. They are not deserving to be thought less of, scorned or ignored. Let us always remember, before passing judgment, “that there but for the grace of God go I”. No matter how certain we are it won’t happen to us, addictions are insidious and none of us are immune!