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Are Addiction-Free People Morally Superior?

Updated on January 8, 2015

Attitudes are hard to change even for the enlightened


Addiction and Morality

"Here we go again," I hear it echo in my memory of my mother's oft-discussed, usually thoroughly maligned drinking. She was an alcoholic, that's a given. The issue my mother faced, though, had little to do with changing her behavior of drinking alcohol, it was more a problem of the ethical and moral 'strength' others in hushed tones claimed she lacked.

Did I reveal a weakness in my socialization by taking up these habits? Certainly this was the attitude before the science of addiction became the legitimate response to its prevalence. I remember learning that my own mother was morally inferior by virtue of her drinking. Many people inferred to me that she was weak, and that she chose to remain that way. Mama was to be pitied and disregarded at the same time. My family taught me this clandestinely and I secretly vowed to myself never to drink, never to 'become my mother'. She also smoked cigarettes, which also put her apart from many, and I promised myself I would never smoke.

The high cost of addictions


A Personal Tale

Of course as you have undoubtedly inferred, I did both. I will not argue moral superiority here as I may have implied, what I intend to do here is point out the absurdity of labeling addicts as morally questionable individuals.

While it could be argued that I am sliding down a slippery slope in favor of such behaviors, this is not the case. I have been an addict far too long to encourage it in any way. Addiction is not, however, a moral failing. As one of the most popular books dedicated to assisting alcoholics/addicts in their quest to be free of substance abuse, the authors of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous have pointed out that for alcoholics, drinking is an allergy to alcohol itself. Nothing ethical here. In fact, the 'Big Book' is essentially a supportive discussion of addiction as a physically-based disease, published in the 1930s and still going strong. AA is successful in its approach, yet alcoholism is still considered a moral failing in some circles.

Increase that ten-fold when considering drugs even though drugs are a fact of life for many people. They are sometimes necessary as adjunct therapy to the body's natural functions. They are used to restore balance when the natural state is lacking. This is one of the 'proper' uses of pharmaceuticals and there certainly are others as well. When used for pleasure or in excess, drugs are abused. For me, substances were abused in an effort to experience comfort, pleasure, and to alleviate pain and discomfort; herein lies my personal story of addiction.

Does Morality Apply to Other Addictions?

I have been a relapsing smoker for many years, and I see that the morals and general socially acceptable activities of cigarette smokers are similarly called into question, at some points encouraging negative perceptions of the ethical standards of smokers in general.

Addiction is not a moral issue. I state this as a truth I experienced for many years, through various addictions to different substances. As a successfully socialized human being, I am in possession of socially acceptable morals. My family was thorough in instilling high moral standards in my child's mind, and it followed that I became an 'ethically sound' young lady. Yet I became almost hopelessly addicted to cigarette smoking when I was 15 years old. Drugs and alcohol came soon after.

Whether or not any of this behavior was peer-induced is a legitimate discussion, but for another writing, a different day. Here I wish to encourage consideration of the ethical soundness of addicts as a whole.

What is Your Take on this Topic?

Please feel free to help me out here with the same or other points of view. How do you feel about substance addicts? Are we as a society making progress toward non-judgmental treatment of addicts? What do you think?

Addiction is a Global Disease



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    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 3 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I love long comments, k@ri!

      As you read, I am also a long-time smoker. Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to break that I've ever found, perhaps the hardest. I know since I've tried numerous times to quit and always relapsed. But I've also relapsed on drugs and alcohol, but with a bit more success. Not much!

      I so agree, all people just may be addicted to something if they need comfort to fill some hole within. I know I am addicted to my 4 year old grandson when he comes to visit-now, for instance. He'll be here for another 3 days, and I realize I'll soon be going through withdrawals as soon as he leaves. He's been here for around 3 weeks, but San Diego is his home now, so I must let him go. Ouch.

      Your comment is so full of wisdom, I am honored you came by to post it.

      I'd give you a break, any day K@ri!

      Take good care,


    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 3 years ago from Ohio

      Sorry for such a long comment. :)

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 3 years ago from Ohio

      I really think as a society we suck in dealing with people who get addicted. I don't care if it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping...I don't really care. Some people are addicted to making others feel bad to make themselves feel better. As with any addiction, it doesn't matter that they don't want to do it...things happen. I really don't see this as a moral issue, although I know others do. I'm addicted to cigarettes, for many many years.

      It amazes me that people think differently of cigarettes, work, gambling, on-line, etc addictions than for drugs and alcohol. As if it's morally more acceptable to be addicted to, what, legal forms of addiction? No-one goes in thinking, "Oh, good, now I can be addicted". We all find things that make us feel good. I think, in a way, we are all addicted to something.

      It may be anything. We don't currently have a word for being addicted to our children's lives, but I'm sure it will come. WE are all addicted to something.

      It was a word meant to lead to understanding. Yes, addictive people have addictive genes. But, being conscious, we can overcome these things. It takes a great deal of love and understanding. And here is our greatest lack. We are all the same...we just express it differently.

      The next time you want to talk down someone who is addicted, think about what your personal addictions may be. We all have them...things that make us feel good...drinking, exercise, shopping, eating...We all are dealing with our problems. Remember, most important, give each other a break.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Zbesure-you touched on such an important part of addiction here in your comment! Addiction will strike anywhere and any time it pleases. I'ts not selective about who it draws in-everyone is welcome.

      I am impressed that you were aware of your addiction when you were right smack dab in the middle of it and met it head-on 35 years ago!

      That takes a lot of soul and personality,



    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I believe addiction in my case was due to a lack if coping skills. I suffered from depression and anxiety from a child, when I stumbled onto heroine, I found it to seemingly be a panacia to all my problems. I did not care that it was illegal, it made me feel better. It quieted my emotional turmoil. I stopped using 35 years ago including smoking! So the root cause of my addiction, was self medicating an untreated mental disorder.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Lorlie...I'm trying to catch up here. Your writing is SO intelligent! I really love the way you think and communicate. To answer your question: Are addiction free Individuals Morally superior? My answer is an emphatic: NO!

      You've done an excellent service with this hub. You've described and explained a bit about addiction...and, I'll bet that most of us reading right now have experienced this or are experiencing addiction. I think it is much more pervasive than some might imagine. Physically, psychically, emotionally, spiritually...the gamut!

      Thank you for being such a sensitive individual and...definitely ...morally equal!!!

      Ps love the discussion with Larry...both of you are sharing amazing insights. Thank you again

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Wow Larry, what an intelligent and insightful comment! I thank you for taking the time and obvious attention to do so.

      I believe, as you seem to, that personal bias is apparently part and parcel of this 'human condition' we share. Prejudice seems to be to some degree inherent and urged if not blatantly encouraged by societal ignorance. Stigma is rampant-and destructive.

      And so when we come into contact with 'heavy' people, smokers, addicts, handicapped individuals, the elderly, and the lot, we are disgusted with their obvious lack of moral fortitude. Thin perfection is the role we all aim for; God forbid we should age. ;)

      The 'war with yourself' is such a strong image, Larry, it reminds me of the essence of addiction-the desire to feel different at any cost. So, so many folks want to feel numbed from the horrors of their individual lives. Yes indeed, we do lose.

      Mindfulness is certainly the beginning of sobriety-in any form-it's only then that we can accept who we truly are. Trouble is, some don't want to-they'd rather wallow in the dreary, greasy waters of their own making.

      Cravings can be very short-lived as you mentioned, and if you can wait a bit, the unpleasantness will be gone,

      It's a contradiction, I feel, that highly emotionally intelligent people do find themselves out of control with mind-altering chemicals and substances, but perhaps that's exactly why.

      Morality does not imply lack of intelligence. Thus you hit it between the eyes, (I adore mixed metaphors-can you tell??), when you wrote of morality vs. knowledge.

      Knowledge is empirical and agreed upon within the scientific community while morality is, by definition, quite relative.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 7 years ago from Northern California

      Great hub, lorlie.

      I'm definitely not an expert on addiction. However I am working on some overeating issues.

      My opinion is that we in the U.S. tend to classify many kinds of problems as moral issues, even when it's not appropriate to do so. And that can be a stumbling block in its own right.

      If someone hits bottom in their alcohol addiction, and finally stops the denying the problem, then it's natural to feel remorse for the damage that one has done to family and career. But moralistic thinking--and the inner struggle that that implies--is not particularly useful in the long run. When you're at war with yourself, you lose.

      In the long term, mindfulness is more to the point. It's more productive to identify some of the triggers--emotional stress, lack of sleep, junk food, or coffee in the special case of cigarette addiction--and avoid them as much as possible.

      And how long do those irresistible cravings last? When you know from experience that they'll go away in X amount of time, it'll be easier to weather those storms.

      Speaking of triggers, what about making new friends to replace some of those drinking buddies and smoking buddies? Having emotional support from a circle of friends who are 'high on life' can make a difference.

      Is eating a piece of fruit, and then going out for a walk helpful in decreasing alcohol cravings?

      I'm convinced that addiction is more of a knowledge problem than a moral one.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hi Chatkath-I'm wondering if your screen name has anything to do with my fantasy childhood doll, Chatty Cathy? Well, I am not afraid, apparently, to discuss this issue of moral superiority since it affected my mother so terribly, and then myself. It can take a lifetime to overcome the judgmental folks.

      Thanks for coming by!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 7 years ago from California

      Thank you for your honesty in talking freely about your own addictions, I too have lived through many and experienced being judged on more than one occasion. Everyone has their own shortcomings - even if it's thinking they are morally superior! It's a life long battle and I appreciate such a thought provoking Hub!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, Nordy, for coming by. Given your profession, I am proud to have you here. This issue is a life-long struggle for me-I am an addict/alcoholic.

      I appreciate your visit!

    • Nordy profile image

      Nordy 7 years ago from Canada

      What a fantastic hub and interesting perspective you have applied to a huge issue. Yes, addiction is a character flaw. So is lying, cheating, jealousy, possessiveness, bossiness, hot-temperedness, and so on. It is not a symptom of moral weakness, any more than any other human shortcoming is. We are all flawed. It seems these days that we are socially permitted to jump on the anti-addiction bandwagon and throw those proverbial stones in the name of good health, when in fact we should be much more concerned about the perpetual states our inner psyches suffer through on a day to day basis and how they inflict harm on ourselves and others. They just aren't visible, so they are hard to villify. Yep, addiction is bad, for everyone. And so is lying, cheating, jealous, possessiveness...

      Fanatstic hub!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thank you Tony. Freedom from active addiction is a never ending battle which must be met with constant vigilance!

      Thanks for coming by.

    • Tony Ballatore profile image

      Tony Ballatore 7 years ago

      Dear lorlie6

      Your article is beautifully written, and moving on many levels. I enjoyed reading it very much.

      Addiction is a disease of the brain. It overwhelms reason with its demands and compromises free-will at the cellular level.

      Thanks again,


    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thank you Dolores, for such a comprehensive comment. You are so very right, as was Ms. Bronte.

      I really appreciate the visit!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      lorlie - addiction is a health issue. For a long time, people have placed moral values on certain behaviors. For instance, in certain cultures at certain times, it was seen as immoral to to question a person's economic status. Poor people were poor because that's where God put them. People with troubles, mental illness, financial problems were given what they had (or didn't have) because that's where God put them.

      Whatever the majority of people, or the people running the show think, they call that morality. "Social convention is not morality." - Charlotte Bronte.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I thank you for coming by, rmcrayne, and your comment got me thinking. You've got excellent points and I do agree that Western medicine is inadequate in many cases-and can actually be damaging. I have known many people who are terribly 'overprescribed.'

      I'm going to do some more reading. Again, thank you.

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      I think we're on the same page regarding addiction and the disease concept. Well done.

      Your comments on the "proper" use of prescription drugs however made my BP rise a bit. I'm sure Western Medicine proponents would have no problem with what you wrote. Us "fringe" alternative med types however view prescription drugs, which are dispensed to address symptoms, not really causes, as throwing the body further OUT of harmony. How many people do you know that started with one prescription med (usually for BP), and in the course of a few years, are now on a dozen? OK, I guess that was my soapbox for the day.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I couldn't agree with you more, Al. Addiction is a touchy subject and many people have an ethical take on it whether or not they are themselves dependent.

      Bless you and thank you for your kind words.


    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      My dearest Laurel...

      Human beings are curious and contradictory creatures. The human "ego" has a way of passing judgment as if it were God himself, and yet, God does not. Society makes the rules and forces others to abide by them. Some of them are reasonable while others are a matter of idiosyncrasy. I myself, used to drink a lot when I was 15 years old. I smoked since I was 14, quit when I became 30 and retook the vice when I became 41. It was a time of utmost stress. I try not to bother anyone with my smoking, I drink socially and sometimes I don´t drink for months on end. I am trying, my own pace, my own way and it is working better than before. Addiction is not a moral issue. It is a physical dependency triggered by a number of reasons. No one has the whole truth about it! Much less when the comments or criticism are destructive, belittling and ego induced. Quoting the Christ: "Let the one who has not sinned, throw the first stone" I would love to see how many lines can we fill. Because there are much worse behaviors than that of an addiction. I am not trying to justify addicts, mind you, but It is much more saddening and despicable an attitude of bigotry, racism and hatred. And many of the ones who incur in those aforementioned, could be 100% pure vegetarians, Still that doesn´t make them perfect. I agree with Michelle´s viewpoint: "what matters most is how we view ourselves and that the things we do ultimately will have effects one way or the other" So there you go, darling! You go on battling your own way, and do not mind much Society´s BS, which by the way it´s a lot!

      Thumbs up! Bookmarked and Stumbled!

      Warmest regards and infinite heavenly blessings,


    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I absolutely agree! Thanks for stopping by, Origin.

    • Origin profile image

      Origin 8 years ago from Minneapolis

      I think everyone has an addiction of some kind, and on some level. People who must have their coffee in the morning, or have their Taco Bell after work, etc. Some things are just not labeled as addictions, so they get to say their not addicted to anything, yet they are in the context that they 'must' have it.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Lisa, I never thought of it that way, but yes, I see your point. So many addicts are incredibly sensitive people who can't cope well with what the world deals them.

      I'm really glad you came by and commented.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      lorlie6, I'd take it a step farther than just saying people with (at least some types) of addiction problem are not morally inferior. I've known people who, in their strength and character and wish to "keep going" for the people around them, have resorted to something like smoking just as a way to keep functioning. The more self-righteous/less caring among us can just stop functioning and forget about who needs them to keep going. The people who aren't willing to just sit on a couch and forget who needs them to keep functioning are more likely to "do what it takes" to keep going (in times when life has dealt far more than any one individual should really be expected to handle).

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Maita-you are such a welcome visitor. I thank you for coming by!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      this is good and excellent share lorlie, and people who judge others as immoral because of addiction etc are condescending people, Maita

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I'll be there!

    • Singing Bill profile image

      Singing Bill 8 years ago

      See my hub 'A Discussion of Morality or Immorality In the Area of Drug Addiction' for a comment.


    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Justine and Adsense-You are both so right! The label of immorality shouldn't be applied simply because one chooses to take a drink or smoke something. Of course, often these people are children themselves, and have no real responsibility in an ethical sense.

      I agree with you AS about harm coming to others through your addiction-but if you harm no one, I don't care if you smoke weed or not! :)

    • AdsenseStrategies profile image

      AdsenseStrategies 8 years ago from CONTACT ME at

      A way perhaps to "simplify" the question might be to say instead that we all already agree on certain behaviours being immoral -- generally, this means actions that do harm to others for no good, ie, acceptable, reason.

      So, personally, I'd say that addiction is only morally reprehensible if it harms others. A smoker who smokes around their children should be judged, yes. But someone simply smoking on their own away from others... see no reason to judge.

      Similarly, a pot addict is fine by me... until they get behind the wheel of a car -- for which the book should be thrown at them.

      Best wishes

    • profile image

      Justine76 8 years ago

      I feel that when a person is labled as weak, or immoral, when all they hear is that they "chose" to do does nothing but harm their chances of quitting. Of course, I chose to have that first ciggeratte. It was a stupid thing to do, I became very quickly, very addicted. But was I suddenly immoral? No. Due to the addiction, the choice to quit was very hard to stick to. I do think it is a matter of choice, but...its not ONLY a matter of choice. Thanks for writng this!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      What amazing questions, cheaptrick! I am constantly wondering if addiction is disease-a la AA, or not. Your point about insulin is fantastic. And I have no idea what the prevailing wisdom is regarding such things...I no longer attend AA-too cliquish for me.

      But my God is with me in such a powerful way, it amazes me. And He has indeed given us all those lovely nerve endings-I don't believe for a minute He'd be so cruel-at least not my God!

      Very glad you came by!

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 8 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      Whew!I almost burned up my computer getting to the end of these comments,your a popular Lady!.I'd like to go a bit further on the definition of addiction.Is Pleasure seeking what Defines an addiction?Is"I Gotta Have it"what defines an addiction?Is it Both?Is it neither?When I inject my Insulin it gives me a feeling of well being and I"Gotta Have it".Am I addicted?Should I put it Down?I'm driven to use it.How about Food addiction?Or even Better Work Addiction?

      Final question:If we were not intended to seek pleasure and God created us,why would he give us some two hundred Million nerve endings through out our bodies devoted to the sensation of Pleasure?That would have to be an Evil God...

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      And maybe we ARE sisters, habee!!! I'm exactly the same.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      I sometimes think addictions are genetic. I'm addicted to cigarettes and food. Great hub!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, avagend, that's how I see it as well.

    • avangend profile image

      avangend 8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      You bring up a great point - smoking is not an ethical problem. It has become, in many places, socially deplorable, which creates a sort of "us and them" mindset between smokers and non-smokers. But the concept of morality extends past the parameters of socially accepted activities or thoughts.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, Tammy, it's quite an accomplishment not to think about it constantly. I appreciate your coming by!

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 8 years ago

      I have to take it one day at a time with my cigarette addiction. It gets a little easier as time goes by. I don't think about it every second of every day any more. It's a brave strong person who can overcome a serious addiction. It's not for the weak.

      Any how I really enjoyed this hub. I got a lot of catching up to do.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Ain't that the truth!

    • Bovine Currency profile image

      Bovine Currency 8 years ago

      It works if you work it :)

      Nice hub x

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, VA. Your words speak volumes.

    • VacationAustralia profile image

      VacationAustralia 8 years ago from Australia

      lorlie6, I do not think it is a moral issue either. A medical issue I believe.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I agree with you, sunflowerbucky! Shaming individuals is a powerful tool used by many societies, and even governments, to control citizens.

    • sunflowerbucky profile image

      sunflowerbucky 8 years ago from Small Town, USA

      Lorlie6 - I think you are correct in the assumption that many people, and perhaps society as a whole, rank addiction as an issue of immorality. I don't think they are correct, but I think they do. I think a lot of this comes from the same school of thought that if something shames someone enough, they won't do it. This is a dangerous assumption, but I definitely think it is out there. Nicely written hub! Thanks for sharing!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks, everyone, for your support-I am grateful to have folks like you here with which to share these ideas!

    • r2moo2 profile image

      r2moo2 8 years ago from Singapore

      Addict free individuals are never morally superior than addicts.

      I believe that hypocrisy is always worse than smoking, pride is a deadly disease that is more powerful than drugs.

      Too bad our society today view things differently.

      Glad for your hub, lorlie6!

    • conundrum profile image

      conundrum 8 years ago

      Every smoker I know is a really great person. People are not their habits.

      If sheer willpower works, it's not a true addiction.

      Never let anyone tell you otherwise. I've studied the Medical Model and it makes perfect sense.

    • profile image

      lyricsingray 8 years ago

      You wrote, and very well, the key judgement many people make about the disease of drugs and alcoholism. Best said 'we are not our disease, we just happen to have one'. You did an amazing Job, and helped me-I needed to hear this today. Funny how recovery works that way. Thanks, Kimberly, recovering Addict.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      You are so right, Aqua, it amazes me that ethics are still an issue here. I also agree that things seem to be shifting, though it is disheartening to listen to those INNER voices of people in the past whose views were pounded into us.

      Self-forgiveness may indeed be the next hurdle, and along with science the perception of addiction may really begin to change!

      Thank you for commenting~I really feel strongly about this issue.


    • Aqua profile image

      Aqua 8 years ago from California

      Lorlie - what a great hub this is! I completely agree that addiction is absolutely not a moral failing. That perception is just so damaging to those who are addicted that it prevents many, many people from receiving the help they need. I think the stereotypes might be beginning to shift with all the new scientific research being conducted on the brain as it relates to addiction. Those who have worked with addicts on a regular basis will confirm addiction is not simply a "choice" or a "moral failing". Most addicts are so down and miserable that they would never choose to live that way if it was so easy to stop abusing their drug of choice. Thanks for the well written hub!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hahahahahaha that is so cute and honest too! :) Lorlie, on this bright new day (it's 5 am over here) I am sending you my loving wishes and hugs. Keep on in your journey of discovering YOU! :) Blessings...

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Ripplemaker, that's my new-found attitude, and thanks for putting it so succinctly!

      My only problem now is that as a new non-smoker I can't get so close to my smoking friends, it makes me want to smoke, too.

      I am now just getting to know them in the non-smoking areas I never visited before. :O)

      Boy is it a new world out there!!!


    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Oh yes, the sinusitis made me appreciate my sense of smell. And for the record, I don't hate the smoker only the smoke. :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Quicksand, what a fabulous success, and over 12 years ago! I can only say 'hurrah' and congratulations to such an accomplishment. Sincerely, I do!

      Unfortunately your story differs from that of a true 'addict' in my understanding of the word. Even though you smoked 50 cigarettes a day, apparently you were not literally addicted to them. Not in the strict sense of the word. I would like to know one thing, though, why did you quit? Were you at all concerned that you wouldn't be successful?

      An addict is not able to put his drugs away with only choice at his disposal. Choice is a huge concept here, I understand, and one that addiction specialists still argue to this day. One thing is central to the definition, though, and that is freedom. In order to truly choose something, one must be absolutely free to do so.

      While in the end, anyone who stops smoking is choosing to, those who study addiction will point out that most depend on a higher power or something else that is 'larger' than the addict himself to change his behavior. This is surely true of programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, all twelve-step programs emphasize other-worldly assistance.

      Ripplemaker~Thank the good Lord for sinusitis, agreed? :o)

      Seriously, though, thank you for sharing your experience here.

      Elena, your words are so very true, yet we continue to take on certain viewpoints and hang on for generations! Thanks for expressing yours here, I do appreciate it.


    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

      Hello, lorlie -- In my opinion, addiction has nothing to do with morality. You write something that's key to the heart of the matter, as I perceive it:

      "The Protestant Ethic is certainly at work here, as we do not condone people who seek pleasure as an end in itself. Perhaps this is the central issue that is so ingrained that we may never overcome the attitude of moral failing."

      Protestant, Catholic... pretty much any organized religion is based on a dictate of "restrain", of "suffering now" to be rewarded later, and this makes people who hold these beliefs of precepts feel morally above others who don't.

      Addiction is a physical and psychological condition that has nothing to do with pleasure, anyway, but even if it did, someone else's moral high horse wouldn't make it morally inferior. Only the addict can feel inferior through an ingrained belief system. That's my opinion, anyway. Great hub!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      For health reasons, I stayed away from smoke filled places and people who smoke because I have sinusitis. And I get headaches and migraines before when it would attack. It was so tiring more so when I lost my sense of smell. But I got back my sense of smell when I started doing "healing" work. And I am forever grateful.

      I still see that we all act in a certain way or acquire a habit along life's way. And people will react to these things based on their personal perceptions. Your hub made me reflect, that what matters most is how we view ourselves and that the things we do ultimately will have effects one way or the other. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Well over 50 cigarettes a day! That was my indulgence. Somewhere in the middle of October 1996, I decided to stop from 31st October, and I did!

      Probably I was not addicted. I believe if I can, others also can. :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I am open to all opinions, quicksand, particularly those based on personal experience. My experience seems to differ from yours, but if we are going to discuss this further, let's see if our terms have been sufficiently defined...Ok?

      Can you give me an example of this 'detachment' process? I think I know where you are 'coming from', but I want to be certain.

      Thanks again for responding,


    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Every addict has the resources within himself to detach himself from his addictions. That's my opinion, after some observation of course. However, I could be wrong. :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca


      Thanks for your kind words, especially since I gather you truly understand what I was trying to communicate...Sometimes I have a hard time deciding whether to write to an addictive audience or a non-addictive one.

      That gets pretty crazy, as I am sure you get!

      I mean, "...never the twain shall meet" and all that...

      If you have time, I would love to read your thoughts on my hub.

      Thanks again,


    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      In recovery myself. EXCELLENT hub, very well written and thought provoking. Welcome to HubPages. Look forward to reading more of your work.


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