The term addiction has moved from having a limited focus associated with mostly alcohol/drugs to a much broader definition. Addiction, on it’s most basic level, is an attempt to control and fulfill the desire to be happy. What all addictions and addictive processes have in common; is the out of control and aimless searching for wholeness, happiness, and peace through a relationship with an object or an event.
What the addict desires from his chosen addiction is whatever will produce a mood change. Addictive behaviors all produce certain types of highs. Arousal and satiation are the most common followed by fantasy.
When immersed in their distractions (called acting out) addicts believe they can achieve anything, giving them a feeling of omnipotence. The illusion of control is paramount to the user which often causes them to become swamped by fear, when they have to return to life without using. They fear their loss of power and they fear others will discover how powerless they truly are.
What the addict loves to arrive at is what is called the trance. The trance is a euphoric feeling of love and acceptance that doesn’t last very long but is so satisfying that it is sought after again and again.
Many people today do not recognize their personal behaviors as addictions at all. Mesmerizing with screens as in gambling, social media, television, on-line shopping, pornography, and video games are often used to achieve the trance in today’s society. Screens are a part of our lives and we need to be aware of the fact they have the potential to keep us isolated from intimate relationships we so desperately need as humans. This explains the constant regret and loneliness the addicted live with daily. Over time, as their lives start to crumble, the pain returns deeper and more persistent, until it turns to grief and despair.
With this expansive understanding of addiction by todays standards, are we becoming a nation of highly deliberately distracted and/or addicted people?