High-Functioning Addict (Word For The Week)
A high functioning addict is anyone who although addicted to a substance, is able to carry out their daily duties without a withdrawal or dependence episode.
The fact that a lot of people in our environment are struggling with different forms of addiction is public knowledge. What will shock most people is the caliber of people who have one form of addiction, or another.
When you see someone having a seizure, looking unkempt, lost, fazed, or disoriented, we start to guesstimate what sort kind of addict they are.
Is it drugs? Alcohol? Is it something synthetic? Natural? When did they get addicted? What has it cost them? A job? Family? Friends? Reputation?
It is easy to start profiling them. For pity. To find out how to help them. It could be a lesson to others. More importantly, we could never be in their shoes.
We are smarter than that. We have more self-control. Addiction and dependence don’t run in our family. In our blood. In our lineage. Not even in our social circle.
But hold on. How true is that?
What exactly is addiction?
Addiction is defined as being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
The keyword in that definition is DEPENDENT.
The most commonly recognized type of addiction is the one on drugs and alcohol. But what happens when the addiction is to something not so visible, noticeable, or immediately dangerous?
If addiction is being tolerant to and dependant on something, then anything can be addictive. If something is now voluntarily a part of your routine and you have moved around prior habits to make room for it, then you are probably addicted to it.
From reading your Bible or a book to watching a movie every time you eat, to fiddling with your phone whenever you are watching anything on screen, everything is addictive.
Addiction only becomes problematic when it starts to harm you, those you love, or others.
But what if your addiction isn’t harming you? Like you only indulge on the weekends? Or you are able to indulge without stressing others? Or you have the finances to fund your addiction?
What if no matter how influenced or intoxicated you are, you are still able to function smoothly?
Addiction is not only dangerous when it has the potential to wreck your health, end your career, or cripple your finances. As innocuous as gaming, TV, or social media addiction is, it has the potential to alter the addict’s behavioral pattern, make them socially awkward or inept, and generally less productive.
From inhibiting senses to consuming time, our comforts and solaces have the tendency to become our vices and dependencies. Until we find ourselves as addicts, at their mercy.
As you wonder how can you help the derelict addict you meet every day, spare a thought for the high functioning addict who still sits in the boardroom, is armed with a scalpel in the theater, or is behind the pulpit.
And you, watch yourself. The things you have control over today, can you actually do without them? Can you do without them for only one week?
Pick your habits a little more carefully. Most recovery stories often start with a habit that used to be very much under control.