Yesterday, when I was driving in the car, I had the chance to listen to part of Dan Rodrick's midday show. He was interviewing Bill Clegg, who wrote a book called Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man (which I have not read). It was very interesting to me to hear his definition of what an addiction is.
I'm paraphrasing this from my memory, but basically, the author said that an addiction is something that you crave and desire to satisfy so much that you sacrifice all else in the quest to satisfy that desire--that which you are addicted to. At the expense of an addiction, one's enjoyment of other things wanes and it is even difficult to engage and enjoy the other things in your life.
That may sound like a very strong definition, but I stepped back and brought it to a lower level. We can become addicted to anything--tv, chocolate, talking on the phone, exercise, etc. These are not bad things in and of themselves (unlike cocaine), but when they become addictions they are harmful to us.
I have been worn out emotionally this summer and the past week was especially busy for me. Throw a couple of unexpected things onto the pile and my week got amped up a couple of levels. So, when I had the chance this past week, I just wanted to turn on the computer (since our tv is broken) and watch television--and turn off my thinking and emotional brain. This isn't that bad once in a while, but if I do it every day and I put off playing with my kids because I want to finish watching a show. Then, it's definitely not okay.
The show gave me some food for thought. Am I choosing something that isn't the best for me at the expense of other things that are good for me? Definitely worth thought and pondering and worth holding myself accountable on.