Alcoholism carries with it the common misconception for most people that it stems directly from alcohol abuse, which is the obvious conclusion, right? Well unfortunately that’s not the case, as alcohol is but a symptom of the alcoholic’s maladjustment to life, but what does that even mean? For me it means that a long time ago I gave up on trying to live a normal life. There was always conflict in some form or another, and the only solution I could come up with was finding an escape. I never sought to resolve any issue in my life, but instead would find whatever I could to fixate on in the false hope that the problem would fix itself or disappear completely.
Not every instance may have been that drastic, but it certainly makes sense looking back at the many ways I used to “check out” before alcohol was in the picture. When I was young, my parents bought my siblings and me a Super Nintendo. It was the coolest. So cool, that I actually wouldn’t stop playing it. Ever. To the point that my thumb got stuck and I needed to have surgery. They called the condition “Trigger Finger.” Naturally my parents thought nothing of it, I mean who could blame them? Can anyone really be addicted to video games? Just the thought of comparing such a seemingly harmless infatuation with something so chronic and malicious is laughable.
Entering high school was another story, as the development of social media was well underway, and I couldn’t help but be hooked. I can remember hours of scrolling through forums and chat rooms, Xanga and Myspace pages in a very unhealthy fashion. I wouldn’t realize how long I had spent on the computer, and before I knew it the day was gone. That was a feeling that I eventually felt in my drinking and using as well, and I know now more than ever how similar the two actually were.
The disease I suffer from centers in the mind. It constantly nags, and is always looking for some new way to manifest itself in my daily life. This has always been the case, even before I ever picked up a drink. I like to think of drinking and using more as something that sped this process up, making things very bad in a relatively short time. The real question I had to ask myself was what had my life been like before drinking and using? As much as I might have had going on at the time, to me it seemed dull to say the least.
Fortunately I was able to have the experience I needed through drinking and using and to see how addiction was drastically constraining my life. In my sobriety I found out just how addictive almost everything else could be though! It really wouldn’t matter if it was reading, working out, or even cleaning! There was clearly no escape. What exactly was I supposed to do? These addictions seemed unusually proactive and healthy, and seemed like there was no drawback to continue using them in this way. What was the real harm?
Like any other addiction for me, there inevitably followed the unmanageably and withdrawal, as well as the emptiness. It was a shock to say the least, to see how doing too much homework in one sitting could be seen as a bad thing, but I wasn’t happy and I could tell that these were the same feelings I had felt once before.
There are numerous other programs out there for alcoholism and other addictions. Now I can easily see why. People with this disease are constantly confronted with addiction in all of its many forms, and if we aren’t utilizing the tools we’ve picked up to battle this hideous hydra, we are sure to succumb to the inevitable temptation to run things right into the ground once again. I’m not saying that your Facebook addiction is going to kill you, or your four-hour routine gym ritual will quickly leave you out of house and home, but to some extent your quality of life may suffer. There are too many distractions in this day and age for people to loose sight of what’s really important, so it may not be such a bad idea to second guess yourself when it comes to the smaller things you may give a large amount of attention to.