Are you hooked?

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No one likes to admit they’re an addict. They are sad creatures ruled by deadly substances such as tobacco or alcohol. But there are others less damaging to the health. Like it or not, large numbers of us are addicts. Addictions can be chemical (caffeine), emotional (shopping), physical (exercise) or downright strange – such as picking your spots! You’re the odd one out if you don’t have at least one everyday addiction. What do you do when you feel under pressure, bored or depressed? Get lost in the world of TV? Go shopping? Eat one bar of chocolate after another?

Becci has been a chocoholic for ten years. “I just get an urge for it – a need,” says Becci. “I really don’t know why, it’s just so delicious. People say that chocolate can make up for lost passion – I don’t know about that, but I love the way it melts in my mouth.” Every day, Becci gets through several bars of her favourite Cadbury’s chocolate (the one with the soft caramel centre is the best). But it’s not only the bars she goes for – hot chocolate drinks and chocolate cakes are also essentials. Towards exam time, Becci feels she has to increase her intake to cope with all the work. “If I get up late, I’ll have chocolate for breakfast, then more and more during the day. I am addicted. It’s like smoking, I suppose, but I have no plans to give it up. If I like it so much, why should I?”

Addiction to exercise can ruin your life, Janine learnt to her cost. “I was swimming at least fifty lengths a day, jogging to the gym and doing three aerobic classes a week. At home, I used an exercise bike and keep-fit videos. My husband said that I didn’t have time for him, and he was right. But I couldn’t believe it when he left me. Finally, I came to my senses, I wanted to get fit but it all got out of hand and my addiction ruined my marriage. Now, I’m seeing a counsellor and gradually reducing the amount of exercise I do.”

Well-known Member of Parliament, Tony Benn, just can’t live without his favourite drink. He has on average eighteen pints of tea a day and his addiction has raised concern about his health.  When he collapsed recently, some people blamed his excessive tea drinking. Mr Benn has calculated that, over the years, he has drunk enough tea (around 300,000 gallons) to displace an ocean-going liner. If he ever tried to stop, he would find it agonizing.

Anne shopped for thirteen hours a day without leaving her living room – she was addicted to TV shopping. When she got home from her job as a nightcare worker at 8.30 a.m., Anne would immediately tune into a satellite TV shopping channel and buy everything in sight. Her home was soon an Aladdin’s cave of household goods and trendy clothes she didn’t need. When her cash ran out, she stole money from elderly patients in her care and was charged with theft. “It seemed so easy,” she says. “I didn’t realise I’d become so addicted.” Anne’s family have now removed her satellite receiver.


  • hooked – someone who likes or starts to like doing something very much and wants to do it all the time – uzależniony
  • downright (strange) – extremely (strange) – wręcz, wyjątkowo (dziwny)
  • the odd one out – a person or thing that is different from or kept apart from others that form a group or set – odmieniec
  • to urge sb to do sth – to try to persuade someone to do something – nakłaniać, zachęcać kogoś do zrobienia czegoś
  • to make up for sth – to reduce the bad effect of something, or make something bad become something good – wynagrodzić, zrekompensować coś
  • to melt – if something melts, it changes from a solid into a liquid because of heat and if you melt something, you heat it until it becomes liquid – topić się, rozpuszczać
  • intake – the amount of food or drink that you take into your body – spożycie
  • to cope – to deal quite successfully with a difficult situation – radzić sobie
  • to come to your senses – to start to understand that you have been behaving stupidly – opamiętać się, zreflektować
  • to get out of hand – to become difficult to control – wymykać się spod kontroli
  • counsellor – someone whose job is to listen to people and give them advice about their problems – psycholog
  • to concern – to worry or upset someone – wzbudzić obawy, martwić
  • to collapse – when someone collapses, they fall down, usually because they are ill or weak – upaść
  • excessive – more than is necessary or wanted – nadmierny
  • gallon – a unit for measuring liquid, equal to 4.546 litres in the UK and 3.785 litres in the US – 4,546 litra w Wielkiej Brytanii i 3,785 litra w USA
  • to displace – to take the place of someone or something – wypierać
  • ocean-going liner – a large ship like a hotel, which people travel on for pleasure designed for travelling across large areas of ocean – transoceaniczny liniowiec
  • agonising – causing you a lot of pain or worry – dręczący
  • household goods – equipment, tools, machines, and other things used in a house – artykuły gospodarstwa domowego
  • run out – if a supply of something runs out, there is none left because it has all been used – kończyć się
  • to charge – a formal police statement saying that someone is accused of a crime – postawić zarzut, oskarżyć

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