Habits and Addictions: What’s the Connection?“When I was involved in AA and other 12-step programs, I remember some people making a very big distinction between “addictions” and “habits.” ‘MY ADDICTION IS NOT A HABIT!’ some would say vehemently. And I think I understand why.
" While we’re talking about Wilson and Kuhn, it’s also useful to consider how they describe what happens with an addiction. “[Addiction] overrides our ordinary, unaffected judgment. [It] leads to the continued use of a substance or continuation of a behavior despite extremely negative consequences. An addict will choose the drug or behavior over family, the normal activities of life, employment, and at times even basic survival. There are probably large numbers of people, with many different kinds of behaviors, who can identify with that description – even though some may not be “medically” recognized to have addictions.”
“Until the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, many people suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction were essentially considered immoral, weak-willed, hopeless or untreatable. However, because of its remarkable success in helping alcoholics, AA, its 12-step program, fellowships and meetings, became the leading form of “treatment” used or recommended by treatment centers and hospitals. Its spiritual principles and approach were also adapted to treat a wide range of other addictions as well, such as narcotics (NA-Narcotics Anonymous), cocaine (CA-Cocaine Anonymous), food issues (OA-Overeaters Anonymous), spending (SA-Spenders Anonymous) and many others including an organization I founded called All Addictions Anonymous. Today it is the most frequently used approach for dealing with addictions of all kinds. (And, although I am no longer active in the 12 step community, having been through it myself, I am profoundly grateful for it.)