Women Living Well Seminar

Mind and Body Connection


Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Forum Question Women and Addiction"
Date:  2002-04-18 09:49:08
Message Id:  1878
Talking about addiction and addictive behavior is difficult. A behavior that may become addictive for one person may not for another. Certain behaviors, smoking, drug use and excessive use of alcohol are all proven to have major health (and societal) consequences, yet the ability to change behavior around those substances is extremely difficult. How should we begin to talk about addiction in a way that is meaningful and helps women of all ages to better understand the line between being powerless over a behavior that has significant negative consequences and behaviors in moderation, that are a healthy part of our lives. How do we begin to identify when ?the line has been crossed?? All that we do in our lives, eat, sleep, work, study, play, etc. can be taken to extremes and have a negative impact on our health and well-being. How should we begin to think about our lives and our habits to increase our well-being?
Name:  Lois
Username:  lmcaffre@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-18 13:05:25
Message Id:  1881
I think one of the important things is to try to maintain an honesty with yourself about what you are doing and why. Addiction has such a strong connotation of shame with it in our society, as though we are bad people for not controlling ourselves if we are addicted, which is of course ludicrious, that's why they're called addictive substances.; So sometimes rather than face the shame we often will move into denial, or joking acceptance. I think it's important to have someone you trust and can be open with to talk about what is or is not going on in your life. If you find yourself thinking "I am drinking too much" chances are you probably are. Talk to someone, get some outside feedback, don't hold it in and don't be ashamed. Addiction is progressive - there are lots of theories as to why, and to me, it really doesn't matter. The fact remains that is is progressive and can have serious life-threatening potential harm. But it is important to maintain an openeness and honesty, with yourself and others. Stay connected with yourself, and you will know if you are using substances in a healthy way or not.. Look at and really listen to yourself, and if you have doubts, ask others, and don't be afraid of the answers.
Just stay connected ---which is one of the problems with addictive substances, they help you disconnect, sometimes from the truth as well as the stress.
Name:  Lelani
Username:  lsanchez@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-18 16:20:13
Message Id:  1883
I don't understand "in moderation" because personally I can see myself losing control. I'm afraid that if I even try things "in moderation" it will get the best of me. I often tell people I have an "addictive personality" and that's why I don't go out of my way to try things that I feel I won't be able to handle in the long run. But are people who have emotional problems the only ones at risk? I can't understand how some people can be in control and others can't. I feel like it's a myth, to be honest. I mean, doesn't everyone have an "addictive personality" to some extent?

But I guess I'm pretty cynical as all my life I have been surrounded by friends and loved ones who have gotten hooked on things but still insist that they are in control. Like my mom, my little brother and my older sister all drink and smoke--mostly to deal with stress or any problems they encounter. They all started out pretty young too (13, 15, 14 respectively). I am the middle child and I didn't know quite how to deal with it because all of a sudden I was the wet blanket. It's crazy though because even after some 25 odd years of smoking my mom still thinks she can quit whenever. The denial in my family is ridiculous. Plus I know that a lot the time, drugs and alcohol are an escape for my family. We all have such serious problems that we just gloss over. I try to be as honest as possible with them but all too often I just turn hostile.

So I feel like the unofficial narc. of my family--I'm always wagging my finger disapprovingly at them. But I feel someone has too. Otherwise we'd all be so out of touch with reality. Like my mom would still insist that she could quit smoking by substituting her cigarettes with cherry licorice.

Name:  Marie Brown
Username:  mgbrown@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-18 20:58:23
Message Id:  1885
I agree that it is difficult to define addiction and when we have crossed a line. I have stayed away from most addictive substances because I am addicted to control. I don't want to ever be out of control, either in the short term (one carefree night drinking, in which I might be "out of (what I strictly define as) control") or in the long term (possibly becoming addicted to a substance). I wish we had talked about being "addicted" to relationships, which was something the speaker briefly mentioned. As women, I think we are more prone to only feel complete and happy when we have someone loving and providing for us. This probably results from a lower sense of self esteem that many women battle with. Additionally, girls are generally more pampered than boys while growing up. Once that nuturing and protective figure is gone, who do we turn to? I know that relationships are something that I actively seek, even if they are not the most healthy. In order to "break the cycle" I am following many of the same steps of someone who is addicticted to a substance, or behavior: I am going cold turkey, remaining single until I have truly learned that I can be happy on my own.
Name:  Hedya
Username:  haryani@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-18 21:34:29
Message Id:  1886
In agreement with previous comments, I think addiction is more or less an individual thing, based on all kinds of different levels of control, will-power, definitions of "moderation," etc. It can't really be standardized. But an effective way in helping women with the problem of addictions in general would be to teach each person to define and understand each of these concepts for herself. I guess this would help anyone, regardless of sex. But, for those who definitely have developed a level of addictive behavior, I think a key element in the path to recovering from it is not only wanting that change for one's self, but also setting realistic goals (which again, would be based on the individual. For some, going "cold turkey" would be impossible, while for others it's the way to go).
Name:  Sherolyn Oh
Username:  soh@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-19 00:12:26
Message Id:  1888
I agree with Lois' comments and believe that people should be honest with themselves. By analyzing yourself and realizing whether you have an addictive personality, you can set personalized boundaries for yourself. For people who lack self-control, it may be best to abstain from any addictive substances and behaviors (i.e. drugs, gambling). For others, it may be good to clearly define moderation and abide by the rules that you've established. If you have an extremely addictive personality, it may be necessary to have your friends and family be aware of your addictions and help you overcome them. Basically, I think a self-analysis and the ability to be honest with oneself will help us to identify what the line is and when it has been crossed.
Name:  Irum Shehreen Ali
Username:  iali@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Additctions
Date:  2002-04-19 12:23:26
Message Id:  1890
For me maintaining the line between having "a few drinks" and being addicted to it is something that I have worked out for myself. Having been strongly anti-smoking since I was a child (and constantly nagging my father to not smoke - he quite 12 years ago), I was never attracted to smoking. It always seemed quite replusive to me. However, coming from a family where neither of my parents drink (my father has the very very occaisional whisky), finding my limits in that aspect has been more of a challenge. I admit that I have been quite thoroughly drunk a few times - and that made me realise that I really did not like the feeling and the loss of control that was inherant with it. I am not someone who likes to be in that sort of situation. Thus, I am now content to have a few drinks whenever I go out to a bar or something with my friends. I think if I started craving alcohol I would be worried - I have never felt like I NEED a drink to get through something. That is the key, I think. There are times that people think that they are in control, but they really must be honest with themselves about WHY they are doing/taking something. There is a lot of blame shifting that goes on in our society, and there is a tendency to blame everything and everyone other than ourselves for our problems and to not take accountability for our decisions. This is something we must be critical of - know what you are doing, why you are doing it.`
Name:  aeronwy
Username:  hhuang
Date:  2002-04-20 02:12:23
Message Id:  1891
well, it's hard to figure out what you can say that hasn't already been said. yes, of course, it's an individual thing and people should be honest with themselves, but that doesn't mean they will or can be. like the examples that were given, sometimes the person can be quite intellectual and high-functioning and they don't suspect what's happening. you would think that former meth addict she described would know better, wouldn't you? the incentive is huge for people to deny and rationalize, as pointed out, and she stressed that people do this even when they know better. this is the problem i've run into with friends - you can talk, but they won't hear if they don't want to listen. although it wasn't with her suggestion in mind, my situation worked out the same way in the end, and i no longer associate with people i know to be drug users.

drug addiction for myself has never been an issue, just because i loathe smoking more than anything else (except possibly roaches) and i get sick from drinking (asian sunburn) before i've even had enough to get a nice buzz from it. plus, drugs are expensive and i'd rather save my money to go shopping. not to mention the calories of alcohol - i worked too hard on my weight-lifting, thanks very much.

so addiction is never something i've ever needed to have a conversation about, personally. i think if i ever encountered that situation my response would be tough love. i've learned that it's not worth it to try to force something to happen if it won't - i value myself too much to waste my time and energy on someone who doesn't value their own life or body as much. conversation is fine to start, but i don't see myself relating to a drug user in the long term if they don't want to make an effort to break the habit.

Name:  Diana La Femina
Username:  dlafemin@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-20 11:02:00
Message Id:  1892
I definitly believe that addiction is an individual thing. Ultimately, everyone has the last say on what they do to their bodies. Not their friends, their families, or their superiors. Individuals CHOOSE to listen to others or to let them have authority over them. I also believe that everyone has an "addictive personality," people who don't think this just have yet to find what they can get addicted to. For some it's drugs. Others can't stand drugs, but gambling is hard to let go of. The list keeps going. I was almost addicted to snood until my computer got rid of it for some reason (I guess technology is looking out for me in some ways). I also don't think that all addiction is bad. If it's not an obsessive addiction, it can be quite good. Being addicted to a runners high is a great thing, as long as you don't crave it so much that it interferes with your life. Addiction on a lower level can be a breath of fresh air, as long as it IS at that lower level and isn't something that will harm you.
Name:  Ana
Username:  asalzber@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-20 11:16:36
Message Id:  1893
I also believe that addiction is an issue that is unique to each individual, but I think that there are also some absolutes. When the substance starts to control the person using it, and when that person's life is qualified in some way by her use of the substance, there is a definite problem. I think a good way to approach someone dealing with an addiction is to let her know that you will be there for her, and that you will help her help herself.
Name:  Shanti Mikkilineni
Username:  smikkili@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-20 14:28:45
Message Id:  1894
How should we begin to talk about addiction in a way that is meaningful and helps women of all ages to better understand the line between being powerless over a behavior that has significant negative consequences and behaviors in moderation, that are a healthy part of our lives. How do we begin to identify when ?the line has been crossed?? All that we do in our lives, eat, sleep, work, study, play, etc. can be taken to extremes and have a negative impact on our health and well-being. How should we begin to think about our lives and our habits to increase our well-being?

Addiction, I think, is in many aspects of our lives. Not all additions are substance addictions and not all addictions are harmful to yourself. To discuss addiction with women, I think the first thing that needs to be said is that it is just as easy to be addiction to a substance as it is to be addicted to a behavior. I'm addicted to organizing and being neat, however, I haven't crossed any lines where it has affected my ability to function. Even this addiction is in moderation. To identify them, we need to first that even routines can be addictions. Some people need a solid routine and some people are addicted to spontaneity. The line has been crossed when your need for the addiction overrides your need for other things. When that addiction becomes the first priority in your life, and it controls how you behave and determines what you do, then it has become out of control. In order to maintain your well being, a person's habits need to be moderated. This does not mean that we have to control every aspect of your life, but by not allowing yourself to overly depend on any one thing will allow a person to not become dependent on soemthing or someone to make them feel good.

Name:  Marie Brown
Username:  mgbrown@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Depression
Date:  2002-04-21 14:38:30
Message Id:  1896
Hey ladies,

Sorry to interrupt the flow, but I forgot to do my entry for depression last week and Amy said just to post it this week. I definitely believe in the power of depression to change our lives. I went through a long period of depression in which I didn't care what happened to me or my body. My own depression didn't bother me, but it frightened others who suggested I seek help. The idea that something was "wrong" with me, that I needed "help" was very upsetting. I am so grateful for the lecture on mood. Though I haven't been "depressed" in nearly two years, it was wonderful to hear that what I had gone through was "ok." In the first few posts we talked a lot about the cyclic quality of health and I truly believe that moods changes are a natural and beneficial part of life. It is when we stifle our feelings and try to correct them that we run in to problems.

Name:  Monica Locsin
Username:  mlocsin@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Women and Addiction
Date:  2002-04-21 15:12:47
Message Id:  1897
Living a healthy lifestyle is possible for everyone. To begin with, it is important for the individual to be honest with him/herself. It is only the individual that knows her body and her limitations with substances that can be of addiction and bad intervention in her life. Addiction is a strong word and I cannot find a way to best define it in terms of being short and simple. In the long run it can seem complex because it is associated with a negative connotation such as addiction to sex, drugs and alcohol. It is true that an individual carries out activities such as work, play, eat, sleep, etc. However individuals are presented with alcohol and other things that can lead to "addiction". It is up to the individual to make her decisions and hopefully it will be a wise one.
Name:  Liz Bonovitz
Username:  ebonovit@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-21 19:15:22
Message Id:  1899
By nature, addiction seems to be a very isolating behavior. The addicted person often alienates close friends and loved ones causing themselves to need the addiction even more. Perhaps with more education about addiction, and not just drugs and alcohol (people might not realized that a particular destructive behavior of theirs is actually an addiction), less people would begin such a destructive cycle. However, it seems that sometimes this is inevitable and thus we are faced with the problem of healing addicts. To me, healing addicts and preventing people from becoming addicted to something might be a similar process. I think that addiction generally fills a gap in a person's life. It is a way to displace negative feelings temporarily. So, the discussion of addiction should definitely include ways to identify that you have a problem that might lead you to addictive behavior and most importantly non-addictive behaviors/changes you can make in your life to make you less prone to such a devastating problem.
Name:  Mariah Schumacher
Username:  mschumac@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-22 12:04:51
Message Id:  1904
I feel that the key to talking about and understanding addiction is to classify certain excessive activities according to the negative impact on the person, person's loved ones and on the community. It is important to prioritize when dealing with addictive behaviors. Behaviors like excessive drinking or excessive sexual activity need to be focused on first and the most because they are likely to have quicker and more serious harmful effects. Dealing with these behaviors immediatly can mean the difference between life and death. Although this is paramount, I also feel that maintaining a general sense of balance in all aspects of life is important. It is important because activities like excessive eating or laziness might not cause immediate or obvious harm but can and often will degrade a person's body and standard of living over time.
Name:  Meghan
Username:  mlammie@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-22 12:24:29
Message Id:  1905
In accord with many of the other comments, addiction does seem to be an individual problem, with the exception, I think, of a genetic addiction. It is a difficult issue to combat in general, and I confess that I do have somewhat of a problem with it (coffee, for example - biting my nails, for another). Each addiction, and each individual, has its own baggage and complexities. It is difficult to watch certain substances ruin lives, certainly, but there is obviously no pat answer to everyone's difficulties.

Moderation has to be the key. And if moderation leads to excess somehow, then abstinence ought to be the key. At least as one who really does have "an addictive personality," I have found this to be true. I recently cut all sugar from my diet because I was craving ice cream all the time. When one begins to crave something, no matter what - a hamburger, or a cigarette, a beer - the key is not giving into it, and only then can one (possibly) begin to break the cycle.

I think that our society should be more open about addictive habits like smoking and drinking, or about substances like marijuana. Perhaps these aren't equivalent, but it seems imbalanced to advertise "substances" like fast food products NON-STOP on TV, and to ban commercials for, say, hard alcohol. We live in an excessive society, and it is difficult, and would be essentially impossible, to change that in any way. There is too much money to be earned in the addiction sector of this society for there to be honest discussions about curtailing excess. (Please forgive my pessimism.)

A great (and intense) movie on addiction that I recommend to everyone is "The Lost Weekend." I actually forget the star's name - Ray Millard, maybe? - but it's an old movie, from the 40s, about alcoholism and the persistent self-destruction of addiction.

Name:  Nicole Pietras
Username:  npietras@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-22 14:27:57
Message Id:  1906
I think addiction should be looked at on a case by case basis, since everyone is different in their own way. By looking at addiction in this way, we can begin to understand why a preson becomes addicted to a certain vice, when another person won't. I think by generalizing addiction we devalue the severity of addiction. I think that there is no definate line we can draw when something becomes an adiction because of the differences between each person.
Name:  Sara Press
Username:  spress
Date:  2002-04-22 16:28:07
Message Id:  1908
Honesty and confidentiality are two important factors in beginning open conversations about addiction. In close communities gossip is easily started, and this causes many people who have problems to stop communicating with friends and not tell people when they are having problems. The ability of a community to discuss in an understanding way, the impact and reasons for addictions, is a great start. But this is all easier said than done.
Yet, deciding where the lines should be drawn for healthy fun and normal experimentation verses addiction is complicated. Many women try different drugs or even drink quite a bit of coffee, so when does it become a problem? The tests for addiction can be found in many places, and often times are good indications, but for a younger group of women such as Bryn Mawr students, sometimes the tests are not so clear. One good sign is if addiction runs in your family, this tends to put you at higher risk, but there are many signs and it is not as easy as we would like it all to be. Hence, why we need open, honest, confident, and understanding conversations.
Name:  ashley
Username:  lgarriga@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-04-22 17:05:58
Message Id:  1909
Hmm. "...identifying when the line has been crossed..." This is a hard question. Obviously, I don't know the answer. Actually, I think that it is interesting that I am being asked to answer it, when, personally, I could really use someone to give me the answer. On a side note, it seems to me that Bryn Mawr fosters a lot of these extremes, and this reminds me of the lecture on depression, when we discussed the idea that it may not be the person themselves, but their environment. I think that when one is engaging in these activities they are not thinking how it will affect their well-being in the sense of health, but maybe in the sense of fulfillment or pleasure. It is hard when perhaps one of these extremes is the only thing a person feels gives them this fulfillment. I think that is a very easy trap to fall into and extremely difficult to emerge from. With that in mind, I guess we could say that we should look at the activities we are engaging in before we feel the need to involve ourselves in them to the point of excess. Of course, that could take up a lot of unnecessary time, and I have a lot of homework to do...
Name:  shanze
Username:  smunir@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-22 20:32:15
Message Id:  1914
Too much of anything is not good. Thus, a person needs to figure out when to draw the line. Realizing when to draw the line is a difficult task but in order to change that behavior one needs to know when they are doing too much of something. Once you know that and are truthful to yourself, you can seek help or fix your problems/addictions. In order to lead a healthy life one needs to have limits for themselves so that they do not end up being addicted to something.
Name:  Rabia
Username:  rqureshi@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-22 22:43:28
Message Id:  1918
To me, life is a series of meditative moderative behaviors and actions. If we keep things--even seemingly benign things--in moderation we will be better equipped to meet the challenges that we and our minds and bodies encounter daily. Thus, in order to discern between extreme and moderate behavior, one needs to see to what extent a particular activity or behavior must be completed in order for a person to feel "whole" or "complete". If one needs a pack of cigarettes just to function, there is an obvious problem there and the body is thrown out of balance as substances replace the real nourishment that a body desires daily--namely exercise, sleep, food, water, and other healthy, beneficial activities.
Name:  Sarah Kim
Username:  sgkim@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 11:38:59
Message Id:  1928
I first learned the idea of the addictive personality in health class in the 9th grade. From that time, I started to become paranoid in wondering if I didn't have an addictive personality, and became afraid that once I started something (like drinking, smoking, etc) that I would become addicted and unable to control that part of my life. I realize now that there are many other factors, and that you can become strong enough to overcome those characteristics of addictive personalities. I have never had a problem with a serious addiction (if you dont count Snood...I am terribly addicted to Snood). I find it difficult to deal with people who do have addictions, even with things like cigarette smoking.
Name:  Tasneem
Username:  tpaghdiw@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 13:31:44
Message Id:  1930
I was really intrigued be a question someone raised about "drawing the line." I feel conflicted by two very different messages I'm receiving about college and early adult life. One message is that these are the best years of your life, these are the years you should experiment and sow your wild oats and all of that in the hopes of learning your limits so that you will be able to control yourself later in life, when it's more important to be more responsible. The message I got from the lecture is that addiction actually begins in these early years, and so by experimenting now I could be jeapordizing my future. So is drug/alcohol "celibacy" the only safe way to go? I wish I could hear the perspective of someone who had experimenting (moderately) in college but is now living a normal, healthy life.
Name:  Jennifer Vaughan
Username:  jvaughan@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 14:35:37
Message Id:  1931
As many people have already stated, I don't think there's any way to answer these questions in a general sense. People are responsible for their own choices, so it is important for them to be aware of their limits, and to be honest about their motivations. In many cases, this will help people make better decisions about how to keep all of their activities in an appropriate state of balance. However, I should think there are people who do understand the consequences of their actions, but choose to become addicted anyway. Therefore it also seems important for people to understand that there are other solutions to their problems, besides a temporary escape. If we want to talk about addiction in a meaningful way, it should be done in the context of all the other factors influencing someone's life.
Name:  Jennings
Username:  amayne@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-04-23 16:43:13
Message Id:  1932
I'm addicted to cigarettes. I really enjoyed this week's talk about addiction. I thought the speaker was well informed and tried to not only look at if from the outside as so many people do, but also tried to take into account what the addicts are going through. This week was such an interesting topic, one that I hold very close to my heart.
Name:  Greta Tessman
Username:  gtessman@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 18:54:54
Message Id:  1933
Where to draw the line for addictions obviously differs from person to person. This does not mean however, that it is so ambiguous that we can not design prevention programs aimed at young women about the dangers of addictive behaviors and substances. Educating young women on the warning signs of people with addictive behaviors is important so they can recognize the signs in their friends. College is where a lot of these behaviors begin to take off, so this prevention would have to be before and during the college age years.
Name:  Kristina E. Davis
Username:  kdavis@bmc
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 19:56:32
Message Id:  1934
I think that it is interesting that addiction is usually framed around the male perspective or tolerance level. Many people at this school still do not realize how many drinks it will *actually* take to get them drunk. I think that there is a large misperception in young adults in high school and college about what constitutes a drinking problem. A study was just published that estimated that 44% of college students are binge drinkers, that is, regularily consume 4 drinks in an evening.
Name:  Molly Finnegan
Username:  mfinnega@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 20:01:38
Message Id:  1935
After the session it's difficult for me to draw the line between addiction and non-addiction. I know it's personal and individual to everyone, but if a person has a glass of wine every evening is that an addiction? Is anyone else confused now, too?
Personally I like to stay as cognizant as possible at all times. A glass of wine makes me sleepy. I have many friends who know they have addictive personalities, and so they have always stayed away from alcohol, etc, and sometimes I wish they could have a drink, because I would like to be able to share a drink with them. But for the long run I think it has kept all of us smarter, more observant, healthier, and less likely to develop destabilizing addictive habits.
Name:  Rachel Wright
Username:  rwright@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 20:31:16
Message Id:  1936
While I agree that addiction is something that cannot be measured in a purely standardized way, I think that there are some lines that are common for all. I think that control is at the heart of the question of addiction. You take something/participate in a behavior because it makes you feel good and you have control of your life/your emotions. When you can control your usage of a substance or a behavior (say take an aspirin or two to stop a headache) then I dont think you have an addiction, but when your life/behavior is defined in relation to that substance/particular behavior, then it controls you and addiction is present.

If I could have my wish, we would be more honest with one another about the stresses/concerns of our lives (including addiction) but I am not sure that even Bryn Mawr feels safe enough for people to be honest about such a touchy subject (or all of the other complicated problems that influence addiction like depression, abuse, self-image... many things that damage a woman's ability to live well.)

Name:  Alice Goff
Username:  agoff@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-04-23 20:41:39
Message Id:  1937
Speaking of addiction in terms of drug use I would like to offer the following comments. I think that we are overlooking the possible motivation to engage in drug use. Especially in college, particularly drinking can be seen as a way of escape from the stress of our daily lives. I know many people who drink because they say it "takes the edge off". Is this condemable? I would argue that it is when the escape itself affects one's actual life, when the consequences are evident in one's normal behavior, that we can speak of "drawing the line". For some drugs the escape is automatically manifested in a person's life, for others there is such a thing as responsible and strictly extra-cirricular usage.
Name:  natalie
Username:  nmerrill@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 20:46:50
Message Id:  1938
this week's topic was very interesting. it got me to thinking about what random things in life i have become addicted to. it seems easier then we think to become addicted to something, and after evaluating my lifestyle, i seem to have found several things which i don't think i can let go of. such as: 3 cans of mt. dew a day. i can't live without this or my cigarette or two a day. computer games also have become something i can't quite stop playing. mind numbing computer games seem to have taken over my life. it is causing failure in several of my classes. seriously though.....
Name:  Barbara Cathcart
Username:  bcathcar@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-23 21:51:14
Message Id:  1939
I agree with many of the comments here that addiction is not something easily defined or delineated. I think it is problematic, however, when people believe they can walk that blurry line on their own. Being addicted means, after all, that you are to some degree not in control of your own behaviour. So when someone claims they can drink often and in great quantities but are still 'in control' of their drinking I am skeptical. It is difficult to judge dependency when what you are craving has become your greatest priority. Rational thought just seems to fly out the window- I have seen it happen far too often. Drinking charts and the like, however, don't take into account individual differences. Since I certainly don't want to advocate total abstinence, it might be a good idea to ask friends or family to gage your dependency, really putting some weight on their opinions. When it comes to addiction, they are probably better judges than generalized statistics and, as difficult as it is to accept, than even you yourself.
Name:  Elizabeth Marcus
Username:  emarcus@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-04-23 22:47:48
Message Id:  1940
Many of the addictions that people experience are extremes of normal behavior and so for me the most important part is keeping the normal behavior in check. I think a lot of this is controlled by habits and perspective on life. Therefore, if you're healthy mentally, I feel that addictions are easier to avoid. This is not to say that they don't occur, but it's less likely to happen with a healthy lifestyle.
Name:  Daniella Forstater
Username:  dforstat@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-04-24 00:56:41
Message Id:  1941
As others have mentioned, I believe there is an extremely fine line between addiction and controlled behavior. The fact that someone can cross that line without even realizing it is very scary. I have always found the concept of loss-of-control incredibly unsettling--I cannot even imagine how awful it would be to know something is damaging your life but at the same time have no power to stop it. It seems that an important part of avoiding addiction is probably monitoring yourself to make sure your wanting does not turn into needing. Again, though, a scary thought is that often times, people probably do not even notice the change until it has already happened. Since the line is so fine, it is hard to see any fool-proof method of prevention (except for abstinence, which, as mentioned, is unrealistic for many behaviors). But taking the risk does seem to work out fine for many. I guess the most important thing is being aware of your weaknesses before getting into anything and taking care to stay away from things you most-likely will have difficulty getting out of.
Name:  C.D.
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-24 11:08:57
Message Id:  1944
Well I have to agree with other people in this forum that one has to be honest with themselves about addiction. About crossing the line, that does become blurry. First off, many people would say that I am an alcoholic. But I'm not. I don't sneak drinks, I never get too drunk, etc. But then I thought about the self-medicating aspect of alcohol and I realized that I do use it to self-medicate myself, to destress myself after a long day or week. But it hasn't gotten to the point where I need it badly. If it's around I'll take a drink, and if not then it's no big deal. In much the same way, my father has always drank beer after coming home from work. But he is in no way addicted. He has stopped for months at a time, just because he felt like he should, but he is and was never an addict of alcohol. He simply saw beer as a way to put him at ease after a long day at work. Would someone call that addiction? I don't think so, especially after my father was addicted to smoking...and it took him many years to finally stop smoking cold turkey. I think that someone might have to have an addictive personality in order to become an addict. Or maybe other conditions that are already present to become an addict, like very depressive, or with the mindset that they will become addicts. You know that old saying, Mind over Matter. The mind is a powerful tool. And believing you have an addictive personality could turn you into an addict.
Name:  emiko saito
Username:  esaito@mindspring.com
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-24 11:38:29
Message Id:  1945
Addiction is a difficult thing. I think everyone has been exposed to loved one's and thier addictions at one point or another. But where does the line distinguish enjoyment and addiction? For me it is a difficult line to distinguish. We all experience loss of control in different forms. But when does that loss of control become detrimental? Sometimes letting og of the reins is helpful for perspecive. Therefore, I think that the line between addiction and control varies for everyone. There is no single formula to address all the questions of addiction for everyone. I think the best way to approach viewing addiction is to begin with taking an inventory of one's life and questioning how well one treats oneself. In the exercise lecture a few weeks ago, Kate mentioned that selfcare is an integral part of being physically and emotionally healthy, I think that a simple message like that is a good place to start.
Name:  Kate
Username:  klenahan@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Addiction
Date:  2002-04-24 13:27:38
Message Id:  1947
I believe that the reason people have addictions in the first place is to escape from a part of their lives. Until those issues are addressed, the addiction can never truly be healed, because the wound will always be there. People who use drugs or alcohol or food or anything else to numb the pain they feel can move from substance to substance trying to find an answer, but it will not come until they look within. This all sounds a bit corny, but I think it's true.