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  • When we think of anaddict’, certain stock images come to mind: a homeless person

  • in the park sniffing glue, a gaunt figure with a heroin needle in their arm, a breakfast-time

  • vodka drinker

  • But such gothic characterisations mask what is in reality a far more universal and less

  • overtly dramatic - though still pernicious - phenomenon.

  • Addiction doesn’t have anything to do with what one is addicted to: it can’t be neatly

  • circumscribed to those who rely on hard drugs or alcohol.

  • In its essence, addiction simply means leaning on something - it could be anything - because

  • it prevents particular ideas from coming into our minds.

  • The addict relies on their chosen pursuit to block unwelcome emotions from storming

  • the theatre of their consciousness.

  • The particular object of their addiction might be whisky or marijuana, but it could just

  • as well be their mobile phone or ever more copious buckets of fried chicken.

  • One can be addicted to talking to one’s mother or cleaning cupboards, doing the accounts

  • or tracking migrating birds.

  • What the addict fears above all is to be left alone, to have nothing to do other than to

  • turn into themselves and to face unbearable sadness or regret, fear or longing.

  • The popular misunderstanding of what addiction is lets too many of us off the hook.

  • It allows people to claim that they are merely going to the office again or checking the

  • news, toning at the gym or catching up on football results.

  • Yet addicts are not evil or weak.

  • They are first and foremost scared.

  • The solution shouldn’t - therefore - involve censorship and lectures, rather love and reassurance.

  • We should make moves to allow people to feel as safe as possible about opening more doors

  • in their minds and confident that they can handle whatever might be skulking inside.

  • It is never really fried chicken or social media updates we like anyway: we are just

  • at a loss as to how to begin to reflect without terror on the course of our lives.

When we think of anaddict’, certain stock images come to mind: a homeless person

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