The Turkish delight was, in retrospect, a pretty big mistake. We were browsing a Middle Eastern market near our home in upstate New York, a festive, mom-and-pop place where I tend to buy way more than I need. It was winter — cars plowing down Genesee Street beyond the front window throwing plumes of brown slurry — and I needed a pick-me-up in the worst way. When I saw that box of candy, I was basically powerless to resist. It was obscenely large, the size of a cookie sheet or a generous end table, and it was on sale. For reasons that seem a little sad to me now, that candy felt like an opportunity.

My husband looked anxious when I approached the checkout line, box tucked up under my arm like a surfboard. Over the years, Rog has watched me eat a lot of things saner adults revile —… More…

My name is Erica, and I was once addicted to menthol. Specifically, I was hooked on Halls mentholated cough drops. When I was in high school and college, it was not unusual for me to go through a bag of cough drops a day. I didn’t think of it as addiction at the time. In fact, I’d pretty much forgotten about my former habit until this past year, when I found out that the FDA is considering banning menthol in cigarettes. Some public health advocates have argued that menthol may be addictive on its own, or, at the very least, that it makes quitting smoking more difficult, and their evidence is pretty convincing.

Menthol may not be as habit-forming as nicotine or even caffeine, but it is a drug nonetheless — one that the FDA regulates when it’s used as an ingredient in cough drops, mouthwash, and other… More…

I’m addicted to the idiot box (television). Help! — Dan K.

 

I must say, I’m intrigued by your metaphor for television. It demonstrates both television’s power over you and your manipulability — the television has the power to make you an idiot and you are an idiot when you watch it. Now, I’m only good at coming up with drastic measures to cure addictions, so I’m probably not the best person to ask for help about a cure (I originally began my response with suggestions to pawn your TV set or gouge your eyes out) but what I can do is help you change your metaphor. What if you started calling your TV “history buff box”? Soon enough, you might find yourself only watching the History channel and writing a 10-page response that compares the historical era… More…

 

I can think of no better poster child for the Twelve Step addiction recovery plan than James Frey. This is despite the fact that Frey argued extensively against the Twelve Steps method in his addiction, uh, “memoir” A Million Little Pieces, calling it spiritual nonsense. He wrote, “I’d rather have [relapse and death] than spend my life in Church basements listening to People whine and bitch and complain. That’s not productivity to me, nor is it progress. It is the replacement of one addiction with another.” Frey instead decided he could beat his addiction through sheer willpower.

Soon after, there he was, revealed as a liar and fraud who exaggerated his addiction and melodramatized his rock bottom. If that is recovery through willpower, perhaps that surrendering your will to God thing is looking a little better now. Jody,… More…