I've observed that many people now use the word “addiction” very liberally. It’s something we see all over. When I do talks in schools, I hear kids talking about their addictions, regardless of what issue they have or how severe it may be. The same happens in our popular media, as celebrities talk about their addiction to this or that. It’s like the term “everyday addictions” – the idea is now being applied to almost any kind of behavior we’re having difficulty stopping. This can be very useful, because it’s normalizing the word – taking the morality out of it, making it something we can all identify with, and taking some of the shame and blame out of it. However, it also has its downside, because at times we are using it to avoid taking responsibility for our behaviors.
Sometimes what we have simply isn’t an addiction. However we hide behind the word because it implies that “there’s nothing we can do” or that change is beyond our control. And the real truth might be that we just don't accept ourselves for not being willing to change.
Used in this way, saying “I’m addicted” becomes an easy way out. And I’ve done that with different issues in my own life. I once believed I was addicted to junk food and drinking coffee. Yes, I had other ‘real’ addictions, so I thought it made sense to say that these were too. But what I didn’t understand then was that there was a pay-off to it. And the pay-off was, “I don’t have to be judged by others for admitting that I willingly choose to eat unhealthy food - or doing what I would need to do to break free of these eating habits.” Easier to just call it an addiction and get everybody to leave me alone - including my own mind.