Socially Acceptable Addictions

I don’t understand people’s addiction to illicit drugs.

I had only one very brief foray into the world of drugs in my younger years (excepting my more recent dally with Tylenol PM, – the new gateway drug), and I’ve had more than a few conversations about procuring drugs with my Street Cred – but overall – I just don’t get it.

I mean, I get the concept of addiction and all, but I don’t understand how anyone tries illicit drugs in the first place knowing that;

a) if they get a bad batch, they could die

b) if they’re lucky enough not to drop dead from the high, they will almost certainly be jonesin’ for another hit soon enough, and it may well eventually lead to the demise of their finances, lifestyle and all meaningful relationships.

On the other hand, there are these new kinds of addictions popping up all over the place now. Things like Facebook, Wii, Slot Machines (we call them Pokie machines here in Australia, and they are in almost all bars), TV, computers, and of course shoe shopping (who, me?).

These new addictions didn’t exist 50 years ago. Either the concept didn’t exist or the ability to feed it didn’t. (Lets face it, old ‘Marge’ couldn’t have an addictive shoe shopping habit in the 1950’s even if she had wanted to, there was probably only one store in town that sold a variety of 5 different kinds of shoes. Poor Marge.)

These are not my shoes. There is no way all my shoes would fit into a camera viewfinder. (This girl must have carb addictions instead.)

These are known as socially acceptable addictions, and may well ruin your finances, relationships and lifestyle – but your friends will be cheering you on, even taking part with you -as you spiral into your dark pit of despair (or elation, depending on where you’re at with the disease).

Other than shoe shopping, my biggest ‘in the closet’ socially acceptable addiction, is the demonic force of chocolate. It has been calling my name for close to 30 years, and I have maintained my dedication to answering that call. I am not in denial, I am hyper-aware of my inability to just-say-no.

As I’ve explained to my husband, if someone told me tomorrow I could never have chocolate again because of some fatal chocolate-allergy I had inherited, I truly don’t know if it would be possible for me to white-knuckle my way to sobriety.

I would never look this absurd when eating chocolate. I may look this deranged if I were forced to give it up though.

That being said, my inability to say no to the great and powerful cocoa bean, is the universal reason I never got involved with other habits that I knew could be addictive, so its influence can’t be all bad.

I was exposed to drugs as a teen, but never tried them. (My marijuana smoking episode at 19 doesn’t count, it’s practically a right of passage through to ones 20’s.)

While I’d like to claim super teen intelligence, or moral ethics, in reality it was a much less honorable decision, made up of three very distinct parts;

1. I was afraid that I would be the one to get the ‘bad batch’ and I’d die, and my parents would be super-mad that they’d have to explain to their friends and family what a dumb-ass they had raised.

2. If I didn’t die I’d be a vegetable, and my parents would be super-mad that they’d have to explain to their friends and family what a dumb-ass they had raised.

3. I’d get addicted instantly and I’d want more and I wouldn’t be able to afford it, which would necessitate me having to steal from my parents. After they found out and reported me to the authorities (as only my parents would), they would be super-mad they’d have to explain to their friends and family what a dumb-ass they had raised.

That’s it. My sole reasons for never trying drugs. Fear of being thought of as a dumb-ass by my parents and their friends, if it should all go terribly wrong. Potential death, vegetative state and jail-time, never even came into the equation.

Now as an adult of course I can sample all the illicit drugs my heart desires with no concern about my parents and their friends, because it would be my husband dealing with his dumb-ass wife, not them.

The problem now is I can’t even afford the first hit, ’cause I’ve spent all our money on shoes.

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16 thoughts on “Socially Acceptable Addictions

  1. Carrie says:

    I must confess: I have never been addicted to any illicit drugs.

    I honestly never thought I have been addicted to anything until now…thanks to you. I look around my place and I see lots of shoes, lots of candles, lots of wine glasses, lots of lipglosses, lots of earrings….

    Wow. But at least my addictions won’t insist on rehab later down the road.

    I don’t think.

    And LOOK AT YOU WITH YOUR FABULOUS NEW DIGS! I am loving this! All the places you’ve lived, I assume??

    I love it…simply love it! And look at that great Lone Star state up there! YAY YOU!


    • I know, right? We all think we’re addiction-less and then you think about what it means for a minute and then… Still, you will probably never have to get rehab for your socially acceptable addictions (neither will I!) and that’s the best part! They’re not considered a problem by others (except my husband who hates my shoe fetish)

      Thanks for the comment on the blog, just something I did and put up there, you’re spot on though with your explanation, I’m glad it made sense to you and not just to me :p


      • Carrie says:

        I knew it as soon as I saw it. And it looks great!

        I’m telling you, we think alike and see things alike. And I’m not too sure if that’s a good thing for you.



  2. etomczyk says:

    We all have our “acceptable” sins. I’ve known people who were self-righteous about not letting caffeine touch their lips, but they shoveled candy into their mouths by the truck load. I’ve known people who would rather die than drink a drop of alchohol but ate food as if it were going to vanish from the earth any moment. I know people who won’t touch chocolate but who are such shop-a-holics that they could start their own used clothes store. You just have to look close enough and long enough to find out which addiction belongs to whom. Well done!


    • You are so right, we are have them, some better hidden than others, partially because of the ‘social acceptable’ thing. And I’ve spent more than my fair share of time around those self-righteous people you mention! Thanks for dropping by!


    • Ming says:

      I read the book you recommended, The Untethered Soul. It was eeelxlcnt. I’ll be reading it again. I haven’t read as many books in the past 5 or 6 years as I’ve read since finding this website. Thanks for all the recommendations. I used to devour books. My love for reading has been re-kindled. In fact, I’ve been reading so much, I bought a Kindle ebook reading device. Sounds high tech, huh? Now, I like to sit on my porch and read instead of smoking the whole time. I went to a local recovery meeting last night. It’s a local grown group for addicts of all kinds and their families. Kind of a mix of AA, NA, and Alanon/Alateen. My husband met a guy last week who gave him a card and invited us to attend. We were there early. Nobody showed up. Not even the leader. I won’t be going there again but, there’s another, more well known recovery group, where I will go and celebrate tonight. I’ve been out of real pot since Sunday and I don’t intend to buy any, or should I say, I DO intend to NOT buy anymore. I’ve been smoking the crap that I scrape out of my pipe when I clean it. When that’s gone, I’m done. When I came to where I had to decide whether or not to buy more, I cried like a baby and cried out to God. He met me right here, at my desk. It was kind of funny because after a few minutes I was trying to find my glasses because I couldn’t see clearly. I looked in different rooms and then realized I had them on but couldn’t see for all the tears. God must get a good laugh at us sometimes.I intend to somewhat journal my quit. Writing will keep me busy and it’ll be interesting to see the changes in my focus as they develope.


  3. thehonestone says:

    Hi, I struggled with addiction for many years to various drugs and alcohol, I agree with etomczyk that everyone has their acceptable “sins” (more defined by society, I think).
    Although I am free from those addictions (12 years now yay), they do have their consequences, and me realising that addiction is simply that addiction. Its no different whether you are addicted to chocolate or designer drugs. We all have that capability to be controlled by something.
    I guess there are just some of us who should stay away from the harder things ha ha ha.

    Good post though.


    • I agree totally, its interesting that someone can kill themselves slowly by destroying their liver, through years of alcohol abuse and people will watch them do it – because its ‘socially acceptable’ – and yet someone with a meth problem is considered an addict with a severe problem. I think society has so many things to reevaluate. The same goes in so many various forms with shoes, shopping, TV etc.

      Congratulations on your 12 years, we family members who are addicted to drugs and I know how impossible sobriety seems. You have achieved something incredible – kudos to you! Thanks so much for your comment, x


  4. Stonehead says:

    Yeah, me again. I’m like a dunny budgie. I’ll hover around your head for hours. Anyway, before I bugger off, I just thought I’d say I have a different reason for not having done drugs. Over the years, I’ve been around a fair few people who’ve used one thing or another. They always look and sound like dipsticks when they’re under the influence. Fair do’s. But I don’t see the point in spending good money to be a dipstick when I can achieve that completely unaided.

    Anyway, the chooks need feeding so hooroo. For now.

    PS Great blog.


    • In this one comment alone, my husband has gleaned a wealth of knowledge – things I have not yet taught him:

      “dunny budgie”, “dipsticks” “fair do’s” “chooks” (though all credit due, he figured this one out) and “Hooroo”! I LOVE your posts and have already started stalking your blog – I do a lot of my professional writing on animal welfare, anti-factory farming, biodynamic and organic principals in growing and breeding, chemical and GMO free… have you read Michael Pollans books?

      Anyway, I’m loving everything I’m seeing (just want to kiss the pigs, so cute!) and will continue to troll and stalk – thanks so much for the comments!


      • Stonehead says:

        You really, really don’t want to pash the pigs. They might appreciate it, you wouldn’t. I hasten to add that I do not speak from experience. Pashing pigs isn’t my thing! (I bet you’ve told your husband the meaning of that one already… )


        • Clearly you are not a very adventurous man! All that time alone with the pigs and not one attempt at a “pash?” For me, its lack of opportunity, but for you…no excuses! 🙂

          Even here you taught hubby another one – “Pash” Now that’s a word I haven’t used in years – I do of course do my best to put it into practice though, most often with my husband and not members of the animal kingdom 😉


  5. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!


  6. Igor says:

    I was a hard core alcoholic for ten years. I was in and out of rehab, the pswhryacd (committed suicide twice; not attempted ; did it). By all rights I should be dead right now. Alot of people prayed for me. I had absolutely no desire to kick the habit (err, addiction) until I hit rock bottom. One night, while listening to Our Lady Peace Tomorrow never knows , I drank 15 double rum and cokes, took three 10mg valiums, and slit both my arms from the wrist up to the elbow with a ginsu knife. I died for 12 minutes that night while in flight to the hospital. Pronounced dead at 10: 33 pm on October 16, 2006. The doctors told me when I woke-up 5 days later in the psych ward that by all rights, I should be dead. Dead for 12 minutes- the brain is supposed to sustain permanent damage after 7 minutes w/o oxygen, yet I have suffered no negative side effects whatsoever.The neurosurgeon who came to see me twice while I was in there asked me, Did you know see anything out there? Do you have any recollections at all? To this day, the only thing I remember are ridiculously bright constellations of stars and the awareness that i was no longer in Kansas .Do I believe in God?Yea. Yea, I do. Especially since the desire to drink has not touched me since then. It’s been over one year, and I haven’t touched a single drop of alcohol. Truly amazing. I guess all those prayers effected me more deeply than I still don’t comprehend.


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