Addicts and Addiction

The word “addict” by itself conjures up an instantaneously negative and despicable feeling. Consistently there are stories in the news about “addicts” draining the good from our society, putting us in conflict with our internal moral compass.

But wait…let’s reflect for a moment before we become the final judge and jury on society and addiction. Addicts are people like you and me that deal with the constant travesties and challenges of life. But believe it or not, people with addictions do not choose this path.

Many of us have addictive personalities- but that isn’t always a bad thing. I am certainly not referring to the unfortunate addictions to drugs, alcohol, food and tobacco. These need our communal support and understanding without judgment or prejudice.

Without a doubt, I am an exercise addict and have been for decades. I have been a runner since 1978 and rarely miss a day-regardless of the weather. In my own mind, this has balanced out my other addictions of carbohydrates and chocolate chip cookies.

Yep…chocolate chip cookies.

Each day while having lunch at Sinai Hospital, I would allow myself one of their delicious warm home-made treats, and eventually I got up to three per day. I knew this wasn’t a good thing (I had to kick this habit and go “cold cookie”). It worked for me, but sadly other addictions are simply not that easy to overcome. It requires the help, support, and understanding of friends, family, and community…without judgment.

Many of us experience addictive behaviors in our lifetime. Whether they are destructive to others or ourselves, it is important to recognize and rectify them. Regardless, addicts are people like all of us.

Just keep an open mind.

Written by Michael Lutz, 2016 Michigan Fitness Ambassador