Addiction, what is it?

a noun:

The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol. In physical addiction, the body adapts to the substance being used and gradually requires increased amounts to reproduce the effects originally produced by smaller doses.

It’s sublime, is it not, that our society is so morally malleable that under the gentle guiding hand of our parental overseers our language is coddled into a soft separation and treats so tenderly the myth that alcohol is not a drug, so much so in fact that it’s stated as – ‘drugs and alcohol,’ just as it is in the definition above, (from the American Heritage dictionary) – as if they are separate things. crownroyalA false dichotomy, one dressed in purple and ermine, a sophisticated, knowing, and cultured stimulant…in low doses. All the others? Dishevelled ragamuffins; A band of Mr. Hyde’s hunched and lurking in nefarious darkness with powders and pills – boo! A clear and definite separation between ‘Us and Them’. Sort of like a socially accepted and well taxed form of addiction.

With addiction – there is a psychological/physical component; the individual isn’t able to control the aspects of the addiction without help due to the mental and or physical conditions involved. Whereas a habit – is a choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop and will subsequently stop successfully – if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction. Whoa, some fine lines there…

The goal of the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch, as outlined in their most recent annual report, is to grow in sales…and growing they are. The 2011-2012 annual report showed an enviable splash in sales growth of 2.8% over the previous year. That 2.8% represents a smooth $80.9 million dollars a year, or with rounding, an extra $9,235 an hour. Oh, a happy-hour indeed. Given that British Columbia’s population growth during the same period increased by 1% – the Liquor Marts did a smashingly good job. Cheers.

According to the Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse almost 80% of Canadians over 15 drink, but they are quick to point out, in the same sentence even, that most drink without harm. If you’re not sure if your drinking is a problem, or could be causing harm, there is a questionnaire to help you decide. A test used by United Nations called (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test). AUDIT ranks the individual on a scale, which may indicate if/or not someone is tippling too often. There is a further questionnaire SADQ which takes a look at possible dependence on alcohol – for those who may have been ‘a little high’ on the first score. SADQ stands for (Severity of Alcohol Dependence Test). So, for argument’s sake, lets say you got a 25 on the AUDIT, then you went on to the second questionnaire and scored around a 30, you could possibly be described as borderline alcohol dependant.

cigarettNow for those dwindling few who happen to be cross-addicted to our Government regulated leaves and elixirs, the following numbers might make for some smoke-break-trivia. In spite of the government’s prohibition on smoking indoors during those insalubrious happy hours, entrepreneurs in Canada produced an impressive 6,924,753 cigarettes in the first 4 months of 2013 and rolled up a total sales figure of – take a deep breath, 8,641,603 in the same 4 month period – that’s a lot of legal recreational drugs. Mamma government is the dealer’s enforcer, she takes a hefty cut for her protections, upwards of 50%. To be fair to our protective mom, she has warned us via the Health-Canada syndicate arm of our federal overlords that, “Coincidentally, 50% of all regular smokers die as a result of smoking.” Umm, thank you?

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), alcohol use is killing 2.5 million people and tobacco use kills 5.4 million people each year. These numbers add up close to 8,000,000 deaths a year – more than the deliberate Nazi genocide machine of the entire 6 years of WWII. The price of freedom? Arguably so.

In following posts on addiction we’ll take a look at some theories on what causes it and on success stories on beating it. Because it can be overcome…