“How do you know when your habit has become an addiction?” Yes, I was talking to myself once again. A question I presented to myself in the most delicate manner as I was driving home from physical therapy session.
“Should I still be lifting weights?” This question was asked by me but not to me this time but rather to my therapist just before my session ended.
I asked this because of the severe muscle cramps and joint pain I had which are caused by the flairs ups do to my fibromyalgia, which usually gets worse during the winter months. Of course, I knew the answer but had to hear it from a professional.
I mean come on, if it hurts to lift groceries in and out my car, if it hurts to lift a blanket off my body, why would I think lifting any kind of weights would be any better?
His professional opinion was yes and he started to remind me of the definition for insanity, I put my hand up in front of his face as if to say, “stop, I know”, nothing like being confronted with the obvious. I almost rolled my eyes at the dear man, who is old enough to be my father and kind enough to be my grandfather but out of respect, I just nodded and agreed.
He was right; I had been doing the same thing repeatedly in hopes of strengthening my muscles. I had come to enjoy the endorphins that kicked in when I lifted and the results I had experienced from the workout but muscle strength I had not received, just the opposite had happened, my muscles had become week.
I thanked him for the session as well as the confirmation of what I had already known, scheduled my next appointment and headed for my car. Honestly, I was in a little fog as I got in my car to head home.
The familiar feeling of not wanting to give up a habit that was now bad for me brought me right back to my early years in recovery. “How could this be the same, this is exercise?”
The reality of it is this; there are those habits that are good for me and then those that are bad me. I know smoking is a bad habit, never a good choice. But then there are those habits that start out good and can turn into something bad, drug use for pain, food intake for pleasure, relationships, I could place anything in there and call it a habit and if I do it long enough it could become an addiction.
How did I know my habit of lifting weights had become an addiction? Simple, even though I had known it was causing me pain, harm and discomfort, I still could not imagine not doing it and even though I knew I should have stopped, I had to hear it from a professional and I still struggled with the answer.
After my realization in the car, I knew I had to quickly call my husband, not for sympathy mind you but rather for accountability, because I am queen of doing what I know I should not be doing especially if it looks and feels good. But ultimately what would happen is that my muscles would flair up and I would become completely useless to myself and others, it’s one thing if it just happens and another when I intentionally do something to harm myself.
It is crazy to think that in my flesh I would continue to do something just so I could reap the benefits of looking fit and feeling fine in the moment while paying the ultimate price of pain later on.
Therefore, how do I know when my habit has turned into an addiction? Well, here is the Webster’s definition of addiction. Addiction is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
I think I am safe to say that my habit had become an addiction; psychologically I could not imagine myself without it and severe trauma it had caused.