Let's Talk About Our Bad Habits

We all develop bad habits throughout our lives that we always seem to have difficulty quitting despite knowing they’re harmful to us. We acquire most of them because of peer pressure, but some we get because we see other people doing them.

To a certain extent, these bad habits can be called addictions because we have no control over them. We’re either psychologically or physiologically dependent, or both. Depending on the severity, these problems can have varying degrees of impact in our lives-- from mildly annoying to totally disruptive. Serious cases may even require intervention and professional help.

You don’t necessarily need to worry if you have a vice because most people do. It’s often said that people without vices die young, but of course, this is just a ridiculous rationalization of bad behavior, or perhaps baseless superstition at best.

We’re not perfect by any means, and however hard we try, there will always be times when we’d succumb to temptation. What would set us apart from each other are our resolve and determination not to keep on doing what we know is wrong or bad for us.

Here are some of the most common vices and how to handle them. 


More than fifty years ago, tobacco smoking was considered trendy. In movies, macho leading men of yore are seen as tough and cool when they have a cigarette dangling between their lips, while sultry pouting leading ladies are thought of as sophisticated and independent if they’re holding up a Virginia slim between their fingers.

Then the research findings started coming in and revealed that smoking causes a lot of various medical issues, some of the most serious being lung cancer, heart attack, stroke, and emphysema. More and more smokers started getting sick and dying, further proving the veracity of the findings.

Cigarette makers were made to put warning labels on their products. Campaigns were launched to inform the public about the dangers of smoking. Slowly and irreversibly, tobacco smoking was vilified. The number of smokers dwindled considerably, from a high of more than eighty percent in the sixties, to less than thirty percent today. Smoking in public places has been banned almost everywhere. Rarely do we see smoking in movies anymore, and when we do, they’re often done by the bad guys.

Smokers do know about this ugly truth but continue doing their deadly habit because quitting is difficult, especially for the older ones who had lived through a time when smoking wasn’t maligned as much.

Sadly, the most effective way for a smoker to stop is when smoking already makes them feel awful— tiring easily, coughing frequently, and having difficulty breathing—just three of the common debilitating conditions a smoker will experience. Hopefully, these ailments can make the smoker stop. Because as dreadful as these struggles are, cancer is exponentially worse, and more importantly much harder, if not impossible, to recover from.

Technology has recently given birth to a new product- the e-cigarette. It has all the nicotine but none of the tar of a traditional cigarette, and it comes in many different, mostly sweet flavors. Because of this, the younger ones, especially teens are enticed by these new contraptions vying to be the new standard of cool.

But new research seems to indicate that these e-cigarettes are also dangerous to our health. We’re only beginning to find out its hidden hazards and it’s scary to think how much more we’re going to discover.

In case it’s not yet painfully obvious: don’t smoke. Ever. There’s no such thing as just one puff or just one stick. It’s a slippery slope, and giving it just one try will launch you right into a nasty habit that will only leave you weak, sick, and ultimately, dead.

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Unlike smoking, which you should avoid at all costs, drinking, if done moderately, can actually be good for you. So say some experts, and they also claim that wine is the best among all the spirits.

You’d probably be introduced to alcohol in your teenage years and your first taste would most likely be beer. You’d find that it tastes bitter compared to all the Cokes, Pepsis, and Sprites you’ve known and loved when you were younger. But maybe you see your parents and older siblings enjoy drinking it, and think that maybe if you want to be a grown-up, you’re supposed to enjoy it, too, so you try your best to like it.

Eventually, you’ll acquire a taste for it, and as you increase your intake, you’ll start experiencing that alcohol buzz. You’ll discover that it’s calming, relaxing, and quite addicting.

You’ll drink with your friends as you coast along your twenties and you’ll have a chance to sample the full spectrum of liquor: wine, vodka, whiskey, gin, brandy, not to mention fun cocktails like Margarita, Martini, Manhattan, Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Daiquiri, and other popular concoctions.

Because of the heady, euphoric feeling it induces, you’d find yourself fancying a drink to unwind after a long, tiring day at work, or maybe you’d want to tilt the bottle to take the edge off after having your heart broken.

These episodes are not necessarily bad for you, as long as you keep them just that- episodes. It’s when they occur more frequently that they become a problem. When you’re drinking alone every night, just because you can’t bear the thought of not drinking, then you might be spiraling down the dark road to alcoholism.

If you find yourself in this situation, just stop. If you can’t, get help immediately. Talk to a doctor or enlist in a support group in your area.

Alcoholism is a serious matter. It can disrupt your life dramatically and make you prone to deadly diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

This, of course, doesn’t just apply to you. If you know someone who’s suffering from alcoholism, help them recover. Intervene.

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There are many kinds of recreational drugs with varying degrees of toxicity and addictiveness. One of the comparatively less dangerous ones is marijuana, which has now been legalized in more than a few places. It’s not unreasonable to believe time may come when it will become legal everywhere.

It’s organic and can either be inhaled or ingested to unlock its effects of euphoria, giddiness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and increased appetite—sought-after emotions that can easily get you hooked.

The fact that its recreational use is now being legalized is a testament to its safety and value. But like with alcohol, you should still consume it responsibly. Don’t take it if you’re going to drive or if you’re at work. More importantly, don’t take it excessively, because that’s the surest and easiest way to get addicted to it.

When it comes to hard drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, and heroin, you’re absolutely better off not having anything to do with it. Those substances work like the devil, making you feel good while destroying you inside and out.

Stay away from them at all costs. If you are or someone you know is addicted, seek help immediately.

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Playing Around

There’s an old anecdote that says having casual sex is the safest vice because it doesn’t destroy your body like smoking and drinking. While it’s mostly true (you can still get sick if you’re unprotected), it still doesn’t make it right.

Having sex is best when you do it with someone special, and when you habitually do it casually with just anybody you meet in a bar or in a club, you’re not getting the most of it. You’re depriving yourself of the incomparable delight it can give you when you do it with someone you truly care for.

It’s much worse if you’re married or in a relationship. Saying you don’t love your casual partners and you’re just doing it for the sex doesn’t really make it okay. Cheating on your partner is irresponsible, inconsiderate, and insensitive.

Whether you’re a boy or a girl, treat your body with respect. Have sex responsibly.

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Gambling is like throwing money away. Lost fortunes and ruined lives are left in its wake.

You go to a casino for the first time and make your first bet. You win. It feels exhilarating. You bet again. You lose. You remember that high you felt when you won, and so desperately want to feel it again, so you make another bet. And another, and another, and another. You’d win occasionally but certainly not as much as you lose. Pretty soon, your bank account is depleted.

So goes the life of a gambler. Don’t let it be yours.

You’d probably have one or more of these vices at one point in your life. It would actually be more unusual if you don’t. Hopefully you’ll have the wisdom to recognize if it’s getting out of hand, and you’ll also have the willpower to quit.

If not, don’t be embarrassed to get help. We all make mistakes, and there’s no shame in wanting to get your life and back on track.

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Top photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels 

Read more about how to properly handle your finances in Life Basic Strategy Guide 
Available on AmazonSmashwords, Apple Books and other leading eBookstores.