This question I read from Master Success, I have adopted as my motto for now and it might well serve you well too. Before you do anything, pause and ask, ‘Is what I’m doing now or about to do compatible with my life mission and bringing me closer to my goals?” The answer to that question can help you in making wise and informed decisions and save us a lot of hassles.

According to Wikipedia, addiction is a continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.
NHS defined it as a strong, uncontrollable need to take drugs, drinks, alcohol or carry out a particular activity such as gambling.

How then does one get involved in using or doing something harmful to the point of getting addicted to it? To the point that such a person comes to rely on it, cannot do without it? That it becomes more important than work, friends, family, religion, life generally?
I can tell you how one gets involved, how very easy it is to get addicted to something. I’m sure many of us can relate to this too, having experienced it at one point in our lives or the other or maybe even battling with it at this moment.

It is often easier to stand aside and judge, gossip and cast aspersions on the next person. But my one time shot and escape from addiction taught me a huge lesson. I didn’t get addicted to drugs or any of such substances but to an activity, duh! Don’t ask me what activity o! My experience taught me that the urge creeps in on you, you do it once, ok this could be bad if continued but it is pleasurable, it gives me joy, albeit momentarily. The second attempt you are like, well, I’m doing nobody no harm, it’s my life, just catching some fun, will soon stop. Next time you take more, stay longer on it, thereby putting that vicious cycle in motion. You take one more shot, one more sniff, one more peek, one more click, promise yourself you would stop, this is the last one. You even abstain for some hours, days even, and then if care is not taken, you are back at it again. Honestly, if you do not get a grip on yourself at this stage, you become a goner. If this cycle continues, then road to addiction gets under construction and before you know it, it is a roller coaster ride on an express way to doom.
You are probably asking yourself how difficult it can be to just say no and stick to it. I tell you it is not that easy, a trial will convince you. That is why it is safest not to start at all. From my little stint at it, the act or substance takes over your thinking the more you give in to that urge, you crave satisfaction at all costs, and your resolve and control weakens. In my thinking, one doesn’t necessarily need caffeine to get addicted to something, the mind is a powerful enough tool to achieve that, trust me. That is why the Bible warned us to be mindful of what goes on in our minds and guard it jealously.

Before you turn up your nose and sneer, watch it, you might actually be addicted to something yourself without being any wiser. You may not know that once an action becomes a part of you, so much so that you cannot do without it, you can neglect everyone and everything to do it, the need to seek and gratify that urge, that need becomes frequent and intense, when you start making excuses for obsessing about it, you are well on your way to becoming addicted.

I didn’t even know that my behavior towards that act was bothering on addiction because I did not know you could get addicted to such silly and flimsy things. But when it started taking too much of my time and resources to the detriment of other things, I decided it was time to quit while I could.
You may be in the dark like me, so here are some of the things you can get addicted to, that’s if you are not already (wittingly or unwittingly):
• Drugs (nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, cough syrups like bennylin, and other psychotropic substances)
• Alcohol
• Food (bulimia, anorexia)
• Stealing (kleptomania)
• Gambling
• Use of computer/internet
• Sex
• Pornography (attaining and viewing)
• Playing of video games
• Working (ring a bell?)
• Exercising
• Pain (seeking)
• Spiritual obsession (as opposed to religious devotion)
• Shopping
• Sports (might I add football specifically?)
You see some of the funny stuff that can take you away from real joys of life and take your money far away from your pocket.

The first major sign of addiction/abuse is the toll the addiction exerts on day to day living because the victim chooses the action, behavior or substance to the exclusion of everything else.
Secondly, there is obsession. An addicted person always spends time, energy and resources to acquire and use the substance or act.
Denial is another sign of addiction. They are either unaware or refuse to acknowledge their problem.
Excessive usage/consumption of the act or substance to the point of developing health, psychological or social problems is another sign.
The addict may drop hobbies and other activities as the addiction progresses either because they cannot cope or they would rather be in the company of the substance/act.
Loss of control and failure when trying to stop the addiction is another sign.
They are numerous and vary from individual to individual and from type of addiction too.
The point of writing this is to make us aware of dangers we might unwittingly be leading ourselves into. We should be wary of actions that we take at all times, question the motive and benefit of our actions lest we fall irredeemably into temptation. If you have fallen already, please, no matter how hard it is, admit it to yourself and seek help ASAP, don’t procrastinate.