We've heard the phrase "addicted to oil" come from the mouths of presidents but what does it mean and is this really an addiction? When we think of addiction, most of us think of a skid row drunk or a drug addict, but people can also be addicted to behaviours such as shopping or gambling.
People can be said to be addicted to something when they keep using it despite the knowledge of adverse consequences. The addict denies and minimizes the problem and subconciously employs a variety of distorted thought processes to ensure they will not have to part with their addiction. When the addict truly does want to quit, they find that they have lost the ability to completely abstain from the destructive behaviours on a consistent basis.
This accurately describes how many individuals and society as a whole respond to information that challenges our use of fossil fuels. We make excuses and rationalizations about how we need to burn fossil fuels and that we can't live without it. Some of us believe that some miraculous energy source or new technology will come to our rescue so we can keep on "using". There are many forms of this sort of "magical thinking"; for most of us, we aren't even aware that we're doing it.
In our own efforts to reduce fuel consumption and live more sustainable lives, we may come across some of these thought patterns ourselves. One way to become aware of and overcome these sorts of thoughts is to be involved in a support group, which is why treatment for addictions is almost always done in a group setting. Transition Town North Bay recognizes that change is difficult for people and tries to create fun ways for people to remain engaged in their efforts to reduce their energy use.