Chapstick Addiction

The number one reason why I feel it’s so hard to break chapstick addiction, is because of its unimportance. It’s so inconsequential if you can’t break the habit. It’s not like drug addiction, in that it’s not likely to ruin your life. I’m not going to die of an overdose of chapstick, nor will it make me look ugly, or make me crazy and/or stupid. Chapstick doesn’t create hallucinations or a high at all. I’m not going to ruin my marriage or loose my job because of my uncontrollable chapstick addiction. I don’t have to worry about getting into prostitution or stealing in order to feed my inexpensive chapstick addiction either. If I use chapstick for the rest of my life, I’ll be just fine.

So, if I’m going to be fine and it’s so insignificant, then why is it such a big deal to quit? It’s just a minor inconvenience, but it’s still an unpleasant inconvenience to me. I don’t actually like being addicted to chapstick and that is reason enough for me. I don’t like feeling like I MUST put it on. I don’t like the feeling of panic if I loose it. I don’t like the obsession of having to have multiple tubes strategically placed around the house, around my work place, and in my backpack and bags. It may be a minor addiction, but it IS an addiction. I suppose you’d have to have the addiction to understand it.

A lot of people, who don’t have the addiction, like to say that it’s just a habit of putting it on and you should just stop. It’s not as simple as they think it is. It’s not the action of putting it on that’s habit. It’s the feeling of your lips without it. It’s the uncomfortable, dry, and sometimes miserable feel of your lips. My lips feel dreadful without it.  Others have said their lips get so dry and cracked that they bleed and hurt, and that’s what keeps you reapplying the chapstick. I’d rather be comfortable with it, then miserable without it. Chapstic is “harmless”, so why suffer? However, I don’t feel that chapstick is harmless and I certainly don’t think my lips should be this dreadful in their natural state.

Those who haven’t experienced chapstick addiction say it’s not an addiction because you are not physically dependent on it. I disagree on this point as well. Doctors have told me that chapstick creates a dependency and ultimately dries out your lips after providing temporary protection. It’s like licking your lips. If chapstick is the reason my lips are unhealthy, then it’s certainly not harmless. If chapstick is causing a physical dependency (for my lips), then it’s an addiction, not a habit. Although, I’ve had Doctors call it a habit at the same time. It’s quite frustrating.

Chapstick addiction means reapplying it every 5 to 15 minutes. That’s several times an hour. It means waking up at night to reapply. It means putting it on after eating or drinking. It means making certain you never run out. It’s making sure there’s more than one stick in your desk at work, in your car, in the bathroom, in the bedroom, in the kitchen, in the living room, a couple in your backpack/purse, and some extra in the medicine cabinet just in case. If you find yourself with none, it’s dropping whatever you are doing in order to get some. Even if what you are doing is important, you’ll likely make room to run to the store anyways. Granted, if someone’s life is in danger, my lips can suffer for a little while, but after the danger has passed, you better believe I’m going for a chapstick run! If I just cannot break away to get some, I’ll be very cranky and impatient until I do.

You’d probably even steal a tube if you had no other choice, even if you normally are very honest. Afterall, it’s just a cheap little tube of chapstick… it’d be easy to convince yourself that it’s a very minor crime and it’s for the good of your lips and ending your suffering. It sounds silly, but hey… it’s just chapstick right? What’s 99 cents? I’m not gonna go to jail if I get caught! However, it’s highly doubtful that I’ll ever be in that situation, since I’m pretty well obsessed with having multiple tubes pretty much everywhere.

It’s not fun, I’m not proud of it – it’s chapstick addiction – how embarrassing. I even had a coworker call me crazy and tell me that I need to seek professional help, all because I have a chapstick addition. He looked at me like I was insane and scoffed at me. Honestly, I didn’t appreciate his attitude. I’m not a psychopath because I have a chapstick addiction… jerk.

There really isn’t anything a psychiatrist can do to help me quit chapstick. My lips feel awful and dry without it… it’s not a mental disorder. The doctors I’ve asked typically either suggest I use moisturizer instead of chapstick (which doesn’t work) or ween myself off it (which hasn’t worked yet). It takes about 14 days to break a habit. That’s where it gets tough. I’ve tried weening myself off it, and that’s where the rationalizing gets in the way. When my lips are suffering, I end up convincing myself to use chapstick to end the suffering, because chapstick is “harmless”. UHG!

I tried Aquaphor. At first, I used it far less often because I didn’t like the super wet feeling on my lips, but my lips weren’t dry and miserable, so it was a good replacement. I had hoped that not liking it would mean I’d use it less, and that the moisturizer would heal my lips, and thus make it easier to ween myself off it. That did not work. After I got used to the feeling, I started needing to use it more and it basically replaced one addiction with another. I tried petroleum jelly, same issue. I tried Burt’s Bees, same issue. I don’t use lipstick, but I tried it, and it was more of the same thing.

I’ve not found a cure for my addiction. I keep trying to ween off it and try other solutions, but sometimes I feel like I’ll be a slave to chapstick forever. I will never suggest chapstick or lip balm to anyone. If your lips get dry, drink lots of water. If you must use something, use Aquaphor sparingly, and control your usage very closely. Don’t use it more than once in a couple of hours, and don’t use it more than two days in a row. Don’t get addicted to chapstick! It’s HIGHLY annoying and there is little to no help breaking the addiction.


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