And Miles to Go: Addiction is OK if you can control it


Let's talk about addiction. Everyone is "addicted" to something, whether it's shopping, working out, drugs or something that totally tips anyone's moral scale.

My addictions range from healthy to unhealthy, and I'll admit I have a few. I don't think it's necessarily a horrible thing to be addicted to something. But when it's not kept in check, you're going to have a bad time.

The first addiction I'll point out-- and I'm sure many of you ladies can commiserate with me here -- is my addiction to shopping. Love it. I 100-percent love buying things for myself and for other people. But I'm mostly a selfish shopper, especially on payday.

Right after work, I head straight to TJ Maxx and Target for a shirt or pants or anything. I stop at a grocery store or two and pick up a few necessities. But I'm not happy until I find just one thing for myself.

It's my reward for two weeks of hard work. Something new in my closet always makes me feel like everything is a bit more worthwhile. Don't get me wrong; I know these material things can never substitute emotional and personal rewards. But they make the day a bit better, knowing I can afford these things in moderation because I have a good job that pays well.

I have to blame my mother for this shopping addiction, though, and my father for keeping it in check. My mum loves buying new things, and she loved buying my sister and me new things constantly when we were younger. My dad did his usual grumbling about it, which helped me learn -- through his odd, grumbly way of teaching -- to check myself before splurging.

Addiction numero two: Ready? Cigarettes. I know, I know. Please spare the "those are so bad for you!" lecture. I know they are. But I was totally a cool kid in high school and started smoking around the ripe age of 16. On and off, here and there, I'll inhale the most deviants of smokes in public and relax immediately.

In my defense, smoking is a great excuse to go outside and chat with others. We're usually corralled somewhere during a public event like cattle so as not to bother the nonsmokers. Some would call this a type of discrimination, no?

But I exercise three times a week and watch what I eat. I don't smoke a pack a day. It's more like one a week.

No. 3: This one isn't risking my health. I love, love, love cartoons. Cheesy anime, oldies, Saturday mornings, you name it, I've probably at least heard of it.

Since I was a wee lady, cartoons have been so awesome. The talent behind the action; the storylines that hook, line and sinker you; and the voices are all just an incredible visual experience to be a part of.

And with adult cartoons, my life is so much better. Futurama and The Simpsons are two of my favorites. And shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender will never get old. Ever.

My fourth and final addiction is kind of a horn tooter. But I pride myself on getting a job done. It doesn't matter how it gets done, as long as it's done. This has backfired on me many times, as I try to find shortcuts in my methods. But at least the job is done!

Cleaning is one major field where I start doing too much at once, but it all gets done in its haphazardly way. I can then go back and "pick up the pieces" to my incomplete job easily enough. It tends to work out until six dust bunnies appear out of the corner of my eye, just as I'm sitting down to relax.

Same with work. I'm addicted to figuring things out on my own. Online, there's so much information to help you think through problems you have, but I like to try it myself. And then, getting frustrated, I ask for assistance or Google a how-to. Problem solved ... most of the time.

Addictions can oscillate between light, moderate and heavy, but if you keep your priorities straight, you should be able to survive. Make a budget before splurging. Rethink a second cigarette, or consider quitting altogether. Make sure you don't have more important things to do before cracking a beer and watching the latest Adventure Time. And always be a problem-solver, but know when to ask for help.


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