It’s annoying to see people give up an addiction just to fill that void with another negative addiction. It bothers me because it’s a reminder of peoples’ failure to discipline them self. The problem isn’t that they’re addicted to smoking, eating, or have a disease called alcoholism. I don’t believe in alcoholism, it’s not a disease. It’s a lack of self-control that gave you whatever dependency you were told you have. Calling it a disease allows you to not be responsible for yourself; you keep drinking. The twelve step program is another method to spread a subservient sociological cohesion. Wanting to smoke isn’t a disease called “Nicotinism”. It’s a lack of discipline. Your habitual tendency is the issue, not what you’re feeding it with.
I used to watch a lot of television and films. I would make sure I always had soda, snacks, and cigarettes in reach during a film. It was great to relax and soak up a film while having everything I could want right there in front of me. It became a ritual and I was attached to that practice. Whenever I watched a film, I would want to snack, drink, and smoke. After I quit smoking, watching films or television became a trigger for me to smoke. On occasion, I would quit smoking for a while but watching a movie would make me crave a cigarette and I would give-in because I wasn’t disciplined. I had thoughts that even quitting could become a habit.
I realized the correlation of watching films and my ritual habits, so I modified the approach to quitting. I cut out all television and played more video games. This kept my mind and fingers busy and I had no established ritual for playing video games yet. When I watched films, I would eat strawberry Twizzlers because they were finger snacks and less damaging than cigarettes but just as manageable. They also tasted better. After years of playing video games, I quit smoking but I was mildly addicted to video games. Sure, I was damn good but I wasn’t being really productive with my time. It was then that I realized that it’s not so much a chemical dependency, addiction, or disease; but rather habitual practice that was the issue. I lacked discipline to stop what I knew I shouldn’t have been doing. If I had made good decisions (not smoking and wasting time) then I wouldn’t have put myself in that position.
Yes; chemical dependencies can develop. But they’re from the habitual practice of that activity to begin with. So, the root of the problem is not the end result (smoking, over-eating, and alcohol). The root of the problem is, and always will be, the addictive nature due to a lack of discipline to enforce what you know is right. Maybe it’s even a form of gluttonous behavior. Perhaps no one can avoid habitual practices, but we should at least choose ones that are healthy and productive for us. If we’re going to be regulated by habits, they should be ones that we initiated that benefit us instead of entangle us.
Examples of addiction replacement:
Replaced drinking alcohol with coffee and AA meetings
Replaced cigarettes with nicotine gum, nicotine patches, over-eating, or Twizzlers
Replaced over-eating with exercise or pills
Replaced television with video games
Replaced cocaine with marijuana
Replaced responsibility with being diagnosed with a disease
(Alcoholism: The “it’s not my fault” attitude.)
-Jeremy Edward Dion