A few days ago I overheard a woman in the subway tell her friend she was “addicted” to Dr. Oz. “I just love him” she explained to her friend, “I could watch him for hours…”
Now I, like the woman, am a huge fan of the show, but addicted? In all due respect to my boss and his talented team, I wouldn’t quite go that far. But her comments made me think about the word “addiction” and how it’s become over used in our lives.
So what exactly is an addiction and how do you know if you have one?
In my experience, an addiction represents an unhealthy relationship with a substance, activity or person. When a relationship starts to interfere with our physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being, then we have entered into the realm of an addiction.
We can get addicted to drugs and alcohol. We can get addicted to sex, shopping and the Internet and we can get addicted to unhealthy people. What distinguishes an addiction from say a passion is the self-defeating or self-destructive nature of it.
If our subway friend races home to watch The Dr. Oz Show episode she has DVR’ed she may simply be engaging in a passion. If she leaves work early, races home, ignores her children and her husband and sits for hours watching episode after episode, then she’s probably addicted.
The difference is that rather than adding value to her life, her behavior is compromising it.
But addicted to a television show you ask? I know it sounds a bit extreme, but yes we can become addicted to just about anything. As I discussed above, the focus of an addiction is not on the thing that we are addicted to, but rather on the relationship that we have to the object of our addiction.
Remember that your goal as a human being is to be as free as you possibly can to embrace the richness and potential of your life. If you find yourself in relationships with people, behaviors or substances that interfere with that goal then chances are the relationship has crossed over into an addiction. If you are simply engaging in a behavior that you enjoy and that adds value to your life then relax and continue to enjoy your passion.