A Sobering Thought

"A tendency towards addictive behavior is a personality style.  People with addictive personalities tend to be perfectionist, obsessive, black-and-white thinkers who approach life in an all-or-nothing manner.  Moderation does not come naturally--if a little is good, more must be better.  People with addictive personalities also tend to be escapist, fleeing from discomfort through obsessive distraction or self-medication.

"An addictive personality predisposes you to addiction, but it isn't all bad.  Some aspects are quite positive.  Think of all the interesting and talented people in public life who had to deal with alcohol or drug problems at some point.  The same single-minded focus that made them vulnerable to addiction contributed to their brilliance and success.  Both are manifestations of the addictive personality style--in one case it works for them, in another against them.

"Addictive patterns similar to the diet-binge cycle can appear in many areas of life.  For example, you might alternate between work-a-holism and procrastination.  Essentially this is going on a 'time diet' where you do nothing but work, followed by a 'time binge' where you do no work at all.  And then, when the work piles up, you go on another 'time diet.'

"Spending patterns also can mirror the diet-binge cycle.  An overly tight budget (a 'money diet'), provokes an irresistible urge to spend (a 'money binge'), followed by another over-tightening of the budget.

"People with addictive personalities can approach anything addictively, and often do.  Even reading novels and surfing the internet [or watching television] can become addictive--obsessive distractions from the discomfort of everyday life."

--Sheryl Canter, Normal Eating for Normal Weight: The Path to Freedom from Weight Obsession and Food Cravings (New York: Permutations Software, 2009), pp. 53-54.


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