Addiction is a heavy word, and most of us think of additions like drinking, cigarette smoking, opioids etc…the list is long, but, you can be addicted to hidden addictions that are just as toxic to the brain, and self as those known studied ones.
When you take a look at your habitual hidden additions, you might find a need to step back and examine your lifestyle. Here are some habitual hidden additions that I endure, and try to make a conservative effort to curb:
- Stomach fat: How many times in a day do I think about, grab at, or beat myself up at my roll of stomach fat. A lot. Usually it happens when I am on the toilet cause all I have to do is look down and there it is, my roll of fat, staring me in the face. So, knowing that I am vulnerable in that situation, I have to make an effort to catch myself, and literally say out loud STOP.
- Skin cancer: I have a blotch of red skin cancer in the middle of my forehead, I call my third eye blind, and everytime I look in the mirror there it is, hi, I’m still here! Visual addiction or a compulsion to check it out every time I see myself in the mirror is a form of a hidden addiction that I’m working on ending. The red spots are not going anywhere, it’s not changing or anything so, leave it be.
- Food: When I find something good, I latch onto it. I once went to Whole Foods every day on my lunch break to get a chicken sandwich for over a year. Then I burned out one day, and turned to carne aside at my local carniceria, and I don’t even have to order it. I simply drive up and they see me on my Vespa, and prepare my one pound of carne aside ready to go. I guess in this case the butcher sees me and sees my hidden addiction to meat. There is never any change to my order, ever, and I guess it’s not hidden if my butcher knows what I want but, he’s the only one.
- Roots: Am I going to check my roots for new grey hairs every day? No, but it’s not something I notice that I do on more than one occasion. It’s there in the back of my mind, and surfaces when I look in the mirror so, checking out the status of my grey hairs is a form of a hidden addiction. Go dye your hair already ok!
- Coconut water: If I wake up tired, I slam coconut water like it’s nobodies business. And this is before it was “in.” I remember over a decade ago I went to my local café for some coffee and one time I was speaking to the barista about my exhaustion and he said drink some coconut water. I tried it, and it worked wonders, so, when I feel exhaustion or dehydration I slam it.
- Checking windows: Years ago I moved to a loft in Downtown LA, and my cat jumped out the window. I won’t get into details but it was obviously very traumatic. Ever since then, every time I leave my place, I have to check the windows to make sure it’s latched over and over. Sometimes I am halfway out the building, and have to go back and check it again. This can seem like an OCD thing but, it’s more so a hidden addition cause I can’t help myself. It has been ten years and even this morning, I step outside my door and have to turn around and go back and check, again. With this one, I just accept that it’s not going away ever, and that’s ok, and it’s not hidden anymore really cause now you know. Don’t judge.
Having said that, any behavior you do habitually as a hidden addiction, might need to be addressed. Just cause it doesn’t speak to the “norm” of what constitutes addiction, doesn’t mean it’s not relevant, or something to consider. Feel free to share your hidden addictions and they won’t be so hidden anymore.