From Wikipedia,

A state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences


characterized by a persistent and intense urge to use a drug or engage in a behaviour that produces natural reward, despite substantial harm and other negative consequences
... perpetuating cravings. weakens self-control.

I don't know about you but I have a few addictions. And I'd like to discuss a couple of them.


In my teens, when I was looking for a tribe to belong to, I discovered football. I used to watch every sport on TV, including golf and curling (sober cornhole, played on ice. What's not to like?)

And I got hooked one day after watching a wondergoal.

I started watching ManUtd obsessively. I've always enjoyed sports and there was something deep that following this team filled me. For the better part of 20 years, they've been a cornerstone of my life.

I'd decline dinner invitations and dates if there was a game on. I'd wake up at midnight to watch the Champions League midweek. While living in California, I'd drive to an English pub at 4 am to watch the games. It was fun. It was the best.

But over the pandemic, I had the time to re-assess quite a lot. And one addiction that I detested was being hooked on to football news. Every time I was stuck on something, I'd find myself opening 5 new browser tabs and rapidly typing 5 different football websites.

And I would do this every 30 minutes. All day. Every day. And I'd been doing this for years and years. I realised that this was an addiction that I needed to work on.

Watching football is one thing (and there's a much longer post related to that) but checking football news is silly. Every time there was a new article, I'd get a reward. Distracting myself, losing focus on work or the task at hand, being out of control, and having itchy fingers any time I had a few minutes to spare.

This is one addiction I've overcome. It's taken the better part of 3 years. But from checking football sites (five) multiple times a day, I've brought it down to two sites for a maximum of once a day. And there are days when I don't check it too.


The amount of books on my shelves keeps increasing. Quite a bit of them are books that I want to read but have not yet. The only thing faster than the "unread" on my shelves is my wish list on GoodReads.

I am privileged to spend a substantial amount on books. And I exercise that privilege every month. Sometimes multiple times a month. I approximate 5-8 new books a month (this does not include fiction). I don't read anywhere that fast. In fact, only of late, I've realised my note-taking and re-reading skills need work and so I've slowed down even further.

Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno / Unsplash

But I am addicted to books.

I cannot stop buying them. The only social network I spend time on, by choice, is GoodReads.

And guess what - it is a new month and it is time to buy a few more books on my wishlist.

I see two potential issues with this addiction of mine. One is money i.e. this can add up. But as I said, I am privileged enough to be able to buy a bunch of books every month and it does not hurt my wallet. The second is "Oh my god, there's so much to read. there's so much you don't know. and you haven't read this and this and this and this and this. and yet you are buying more..." - well, mental. Self-criticism was the harmful part of this addiction and something I am working to remove, and successful at that. Without it, this addiction of mine seems positive.

It is taking quite a bit of energy to stop editing this and head over to GoodReads and then wander off to buy 5 books. But that would be a negative consequence that I'd not want to be a part of this addiction. Stay strong!

This is an addiction I have reduced the negative consequences of and embraced the addiction.


Most of you might think this is the only legitimate addiction. It is not true - the above two examples (not my only addictions, mind) are and can be pretty debilitating.

From when I was young, if I didn't eat a particular food, adding sugar was the only way to make me eat it. Dosai with sambar was not enough - I'd add sugar to the sambar. I'd add sugar to the molaga podi. Suffice it to say, I'd add sugar to everything.

Fast forward to today, and I have crafted quite a few rules to keep a handle on my sugar addiction. For example, don't start the day with sugar. Particularly hard if you are surrounded by great bakeries and pastries. Or when your colleague brings in amazing home-baked chocolate cake. Another rule I have is to keep my sugar intake to the weekends.

Photo by Clarissa Carbungco / Unsplash

These have helped curtail a rather severe obsession with sugar.

There was this time when my wife and I returned from Calcutta. I was armed with baked rasagullas made with nolengur. There are about 15 of these in a box and we were supposed to take the box to share with our colleagues at work. Unfortunately, that day, we forgot. Come evening, I had a face-off with the rasagullas. And over the next 2 hours, I proceeded to eat the entire box. My wife, who's seen me pull off substantial feats of sugar consumption, was shellshocked. She said I had hit a new level that day. An unwanted PR :)

Which is why I have my rules about my sugar consumption. Because there are a few times when I am eating it even though I don't want it. That's the next step for me. I am okay if I eat an entire box of sweets, as long as I want it. But if my cravings are over, I need to stop the addictive tendency to keep stuffing my face.

This is an addiction that I am 51% in control of, and have a long way to go.

Your turn

What behaviour(s) are you addicted to?

Where are they causing you serious negative harm?

What rules and guidelines do you need to put guard rails around them?

What addictions do you want to keep?

What addictions do you want to remove?

I'd love it if you'd like to share.