Re: Addiction

Writes Aaron White:

One of the biggest problems I hate about the word addiction is the identity people use with it.

I used to smoke about a pack of day for over two years, and I even drank heavy for about 4 years (at different times). While I had a hard time quitting them both, and had behaviors that many would call addictive … I never used addiction to describe what I was doing.

Once someone thinks they are “addicted” they start seeing their behaviors as part of their identity. Rather than being a person who is smoking or drinking a lot … they are now identified as a “smoker” or an “alcoholic”.

For people who have tried to quit a behavior commonly attributed as “addictive” most of them would tell you that the chemical attraction to the substance isn’t the hard thing. The hard thing of quitting is the stories in your head telling you that the behavior is who you are and you are just lying to yourself when trying to quit. Or the stories in your head telling you that you NEED the substance to cope.

Many of these stories are born out of society telling them that they are “addicted” and continually making a personal identity of them from their behavior tendency in this realm.


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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.