My Strange Addiction: Atlantic High School Edition

Students and staff at AHS discuss their unusual dependencies.


Elizabeth Anderson

Nearly 50 percent of AHS said they had a strange addiction.

Elizabeth Anderson and Dakota Oswalt

The show “My Strange Addiction” showcases the lives of seemingly average people with bizarre addictions and obsessions. While these scenarios may seem hard to come by, some of these peculiar habits that occur belong to people right here within the halls of AHS. 

An addiction is “a chronic dysfunction of the brain system that involves reward, motivation, and memory. It’s about the way your body craves a substance or behavior, especially if it causes a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of ‘reward’ and lack of concern over consequences,” according to Healthline

The TV show includes addictions to eating sand, drinking paint, having a ton of cats, obsessive tanning, seeking out bee stings, being a mermaid, and more. This sparked AHS students to also share their strange addictions.

Senior Taliya James has an ongoing obsession with dipping her fingers in the candle’s wax and then letting it dry. “I just like the warmth that was coming out of it and touching my other fingers with it,” said James. It started because her mom did it first, and James followed in sixth grade. “Now I just can’t stop.” She’s not worried about her addiction though. “It’s not something super serious.” James has tried to stop her addiction before due to burning all of her fingers, but she still continues the habit.

Teacher Noah Widrowitz embraces his strange addiction: ginger ale. (Noah Widrowitz)
Pullquote Photo

For the last seven to eight years, I’ve been drinking ginger ale to put the night at ease.”

— Noah Widrowitz

James isn’t the only one with a strange addiction. Shop teacher Noah Widrowicz insists on ginger ale every night before bed. “For the last seven to eight years, I’ve been drinking ginger ale to put the night at ease,” Widrowicz said. When he has acid build-up or heartburn, he turns to the soda. “This is an addiction that is in my opinion, not scarcely unhealthy,” he said. His wife buys six to eight full liters of ginger ale when local stores have sales to “stock up.” If there are days that Widrowicz doesn’t drink ginger ale, he will have a resurgence of heartburn. He doesn’t plan on stopping the addiction soon.

Junior Ally Peterson has an addiction deemed questionable by some: collecting dead bugs. “I think it’s kind of cool and they look fun,” said Peterson. Their addiction started a few years ago when they saw a dead bumblebee in their basement. “I thought it was really cute. I didn’t want to throw it away, so I put it in a little container and it was intact and everything.” Peterson used to be scared of spiders but has since learned to temper her fear. “If they aren’t dead, I wait for them to die,” they said. Peterson won’t take bugs from outside, but they will get bugs that are “chilling” inside, take them and wait for them to die. Peterson is not planning on stopping their addiction anytime soon. Doing so would “make me sad,” Petersen said.

Popsicles, tanning (also on “My Strange Addiction”), grape kool-aid pouches, drinking tea, smelling gasoline (also on “My Strange Addiction”), pickles with cream cheese, peanut butter and ranch sandwiches, watching “Jersey Shore” on TV, McDonald’s chicken nuggets, and saying “your mom” are additional strange addictions revealed annonymously by AHS students.