Working in pain management, I've become pretty familiar with the official definition of addiction. I have to spend a certain amount of time with patients teaching the difference between dependence (when the body depends on a substance to get the desired result- in pain that means the body depends on a regular infusion of pain medication to avoid both pain and undesirable side effects that happen when the pain medication is abruptly ceased) and addiction. Addiction is a psychological state where the person will engage in a specific activity despite harmful consequences. Treating pain is not a harmful consequence, but stealing medication from your grandmother's medicine cabinet can lead to harmful consequences.
I feel like I know a lot about addiction.
And I can honestly say, I am addicted to starbucks. I compusively return to their crackden whenever given the opportunity. I willingly spend hard-earned money on their overpriced yet delicious brew. I defend their business practices to naysayers, even though it does go against my most basic values (shop locally, shop organic, protect the small business-owners). I don't know what they do with that wicked juice they hawk, but it's got me hooked.
But how can I resist? I had another perfect starbucks moment just now. The peanut and I had to go to the drugstore to pick up a few little things. The drugstore just happens to be conveniently located across the street from starbucks. As if drawn by the biggest, most powerful magnet ever created, I was pulled into the coffee shop. I made my embarassingly long list of demands- grande decaf nonfat two pump pumpkin spice latte, no whip. I ducked to see if anyone I knew was witness to this ridiculous order. I stood with the other junkies at the other end of the bar and waited. Five minutes later (I know! long wait!) my brew emerged, steaming hot and ready for the little extra wasteful item- the coffee cup sleeve. As is my ritual, I thanked the barista (what's up with the name?) and left the shop. My ritual goes even further (and addictive behavior often has such rituals, I should note...). I don't drink the coffee until I've left the coffee shop. Once the doors have swung shut behind me and I've been hit with a blast of cold air, that's when I sip. I take a good sip, a happy sip, a warming sip, allowing the spicy coffee goodness fill my tastebuds. I get that hit. I feel the warmth fill me, I take a deep breath of satisfaction, and then I continue on my walk. Man, do I love my starbucks. Even though I know it's expensive and very few of my friends and family share this indulgence, I still go back. Even though I know the sugar in the pumpkin spice syrup sets me back on my weight loss goals and helps my body set up a hospitable environment for the yeast that plagues me, even though I know they have single-handedly shut down more independent coffee shops than I care to admit. I can't stop drinking my decaf nonfat two pump pumpkin spice latte no whip. sigh. Today's latte is done and I will have to wait until tomorrow. Until tomorrow, my love. Until we meet again.