A habit (or wont) is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously. Like brushing your teeth first thing in the morning or putting on the breaks at a stop sign.
It is also the costume of a Catholic nun. Don’t you just love the English language? Don’t you relish its opportunities? When I went to my stock photography website to find an ironic image for this post (I searched NUN’S HABITS), there were mostly come-hither photos of hot women in garter-belts and religious kits. Is that a thing? Why did I not know this? And for the record, I can think of almost nothing less erotic than clerical garb…
Back to the subject at hand.
Is drinking alcohol and over-drinking alcohol a habit? When does it move from habit to addiction?
According to AlterNet.org, neurologically, the line between habit and addiction is a subtle one. A habit becomes an addiction when you lose control. My old friend dopamine is the culprit – the brain stores habits as “chunks” of activity and doles out a lesser and lesser pleasure fix the more you perform an activity. That’s why it’s not particularly exciting to brush one’s teeth (although maybe that’s a thing too – I’m obviously out of touch…). That’s why eating chocolate or drinking wine is so habit forming – after a while it takes more to feel the all important pleasure we seek (I also HATE eating food of any sort off another person’s body parts…).
I never drank alcohol when I went to Flint to visit my mother. I didn’t sneak a bottle into Canyon Ranch. I never even thought about it. I abstained for 30 days several times (I now realize) by changing my habits.
I salivate right now when I think about opening my old wine cabinet (the smell), seeing the green wine glasses, selecting one – going to the counter, the sound of the cork popping… the leopard couch in the den calling.
For me the addiction began when I could not stop myself from going to the wine cupboard. When I was unable to move from the couch.
Old habits die hard.