6 – Addictions vs. Obsessions

Addiction
noun
the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. (dictionary.com)

vs.

Obsession
noun
the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

———–

So. How the hell do I know if I’m addicted or just obsessed?

There’s a thin line between addiction and obsession and sometimes I question if I’m really just obsessed over something or if I’m actually addicted. To be an addiction its “cessation causes severe trauma”. How severe does the trauma have to be?

I have been sheltered from tobacco and narcotics my entire life and happy for that. I do not need a physical addiction in addition to whatever mental addictions I may have. Though honestly, it’s taking things too far to say I’m addicted to anything. I feel for people who do have addictions, but I honestly don’t see myself suffering a form of severe trauma if I stop doing something I like.

I suppose the closest thing I have to an addiction is my obsession over the Internet. I feel withdrawal symptoms after days without contact with the online world. At the same time, there are too many other factors that affect this obsession. Being online means I can stay connected with friends better. Being online means accessing my other obsessions. I can easily go on vacation for a month and not worry about the online world. The thing is, the internet is such a powerful medium to communicate with. The only fear I have when leaving it for an extended period of time is that an email or message will be sent to me and it could contain something important. Other than that, I have no problem with stopping internet usage for some time. I rely on it too much to stop it permanently.

Anime/manga. Video games. Poetry. Reading. These are things that I have obsessed over or still do obsess over. They come and go. I can go for months and perhaps even a year without them. I have not suffered any serious symptoms of withdrawal when any one of these activities have stopped in the past. I don’t suppose I will ever experience them.

My heart lurches though.

All the time.

When I lose touch with something I’m obsessed with, I yearn for it. I look for it.

A new video game or MMORPG.

A new book.

Or writing a new poem.

It’s annoying that I do that. It’s annoying that I can’t let go of my obsessions quite so easily.

It doesn’t mean they’re addictions…

——

While I’m on the topic of obsessions, I might as well bring up another problem that I have. Quite possibly an addiction too.

When I get into something – like really into something – I can stay glued to that one activity for hours. Hours with no interruption. No interruption of focus (except perhaps occasionally for food). It can last over twelve hours sometimes. It’s scary that I don’t see the time slip away before me.

This happens with games, with books, with online conversations, with projects, with puzzles, with art, and sometimes even with television.

I can’t explain it.

I’m usually distracted and I like to shift focus a lot.

When I go into one of those “trances”, I lose awareness of all else.

It’s freaking scary coming out of one.

I hate them.

—tumblr: on the edge.

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2 thoughts on “6 – Addictions vs. Obsessions

  1. We sound quite similar in this post. When I find something I love (a computer game, book, TV show, song) I surround myself with that thing. I can go days entirely wrapped up in it, unware of anything else around me.

    As for addiction vs. obsession… I think knowing the difference is knowing when something is something you don’t even really like is impossible to shake off. Addiction starts off lightly, then spirals into a mess. Obsession wears off after time, naturally, but addictions hang around until you fight against them. I’ve experienced addiction to narcotics, and it’s something which sneaks up on you. Obsession hits like a brick, but addiction creeps behind until it’s tricked you into false security.

    • That makes a lot of sense now that you’ve explained it. Addiction sounds a little more sinister in that regard I suppose since it’s something that keeps you bound even after you don’t want it anymore.
      The thought of that scares me.

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