William Glasser, M.D., author of the book Positive Addiction (1976) explains positive addiction this way:
My first observation, which still holds true, is that a positive addiction increases your mental strength and is the opposite of a negative addiction, which seems to sap the strength from every part of your life except in the area of the addiction. For example, an alcoholic is strong in his quest for alcohol but weak in his desire for anything else. Negative addicts are totally involved with their addiction, having long since given up on finding love and worth. The positive addict enjoys his addiction but it does not dominate his life. From it he gains mental strength which he uses to help himself accomplish whatever he tries to do more successfully. Unlike a negative addict, who is satisfied completely to live for his addiction, to the exclusion of everything else, a positive addict uses his extra strength to gain more love and more worth, more pleasure, more meaning, more zest from life in general. Positive addiction is especially valuable because it is a way in which anyone by himself can increase his strength. Every other way in which we gain strength depends on others, either for more love or more recognition, but no matter how lonely or how worthless you may be, if you can become positively addicted you can gain strength. You can then use this strength to gain more love and more worth. Since most people who are weak lack love themselves; they are locked into a vicious cycle of weakness. If we could learn through positive addiction to break this cycle, as I am sure millions have, then anyone strong or weak, with no more friends or recognition than he or she now has could become stronger.
Dr. Glasser outlines 6 criteria for what makes a possitive addiction:
Remember, a positive addiction can be anything at all that a person chooses to do as long as it fulfills the following six criteria:
(1) It is something noncompetitive that you choose to do and you can devote an hour (approximately) a day to it.
(2) It is possible for you to do it easily and it doesn't take a great deal of mental effort to do it well.
(3) You can do it alone or rarely with others but it does not depend upon others to do it.
(4) You believe that it has some value (physical, mental, or spiritual) for you.
(5) You believe that if you persist at it you will improve, but this is completely subjective -- you need to be the only one who measures that improvement.
(6) The activity must have the quality that you can do it without criticizing yourself. If you can't accept yourself during this time the activity will not be addicting.
Juggling makes me more fun to be around, vital, and engaged in life.
Do you have a possitive addiction?