The Idea of Addiction

Life is addiction and addiction is life. There is no such thing as a human without at least one addiction.

Addiction can be physical or psychological or both.

I understand why I am addicted to tobacco beyond the physical nicotine addiction.

I understand why I became addicted to the internet.

I understand why I became addicted to alcohol.

I understand why I became addicted to working out.

I understand why I became addicted to prescription pain killers.

I understand why I became addicted to meditation.

I understand why I became addicted to love.

We are emotional creatures.

We get addicted to anything that makes us feel good.

We get addicted to that which makes us feel nothing at all.

Depending on the experiences of your individual life you will be addicted and are addicted to more than one thing.

I am currently addicted to tobacco, coffee, music, writing, dark chocolate, meditation and some stuff I’m forgetting.

Without music I am anxious.

Without tobacco, I can’t focus and my sensitivity gets stronger to the point where I can physically feel emotional energy.

When I write it feels good. I have been writing 6 days a week for the most part for over 3 years.

If I don’t have my dark chocolate almond milk for my coffee, I don’t feel like me.

I meditate off and on throughout my day and will spend hours ignoring my life in favor of the escape meditation can be and often is.

I think you get the point of just how simple the idea of addiction is and that we are all addicts and that life in part is a matter of picking the addictions you like and anyone who doesn’t like it can fuck off.

The addicts credo.

There is no great psychological or spiritual or philosophical mystery to addiction. We get addicted to that which assists in dealing with life or allows us to escape dealing with life.

TV and films and books are also addiction sources said the recovered film addict who has seen over 5 thousand movies. I use to rent 15 a week and watch them all. I turned this addiction into a blog for 3 years called The Movie Whore.

Say what you want about the name, people in the film industry I interviewed, they loved it. I wrote every day and became addicted to the persona of The Movie Whore as much as I was addicted to the films that inspired the personas formation.

As much as I would like to say it was a public image persona, it was just a name for my film addiction that allowed me to attempt to make my addiction productive and therefore validating the behavior that led to the name being used. I mentioned earlier I wanted to be a film producer. My addiction turned blog, led to me becoming a film producer.

Sometimes addiction can lead to a productive life. It depends on the addiction and what you do with it.

Did I mention I’m a workaholic?

In my corporate days, if I was on salary, I worked a lot of overtime.

When I drove a taxi, I worked 6 days a week, working 18 hour shifts for a few months.

As a stay at home dad and house husband a day off didn’t exist in my world.

I’m still addicted to working and have had to teach myself when to relax and let go of it. As you can see by my confession, I’m still working on it.

I told you I’m as flawed as you are. For the most part, I’m at peace with my flaws and the ones that still stir up internal conflict, well that’s between me and myself.

As far as picking my addictions goes, well I feel good about that too. Here’s why.

The playlists of music I listen to all day and night are as ever evolving as I am.

The playlist I listen to most is “The Church of Rock ‘N’ Roll” to signify these are the songs I use to align or define my ego expression.

The play list changes from time to time. I will be listening to the lyrics and find a certain song no longer applies to how I choose to view life and it gets dropped. I will create a radio station to give myself the opportunity to hear something new or at least new to me. At times songs from this exercise find their way to the list.

The other playlist I listen to daily is called “Turn the mirror inward” and is the one I listen to as I begin my last meditation of the day to get ready for bed. With my dyslexia it makes reading more work than relaxing or a form of escapism.

I find with music the visual journey in my mind’s eye often takes me through my own history and remembering why this song applies.

I use music to reinforce my personal behavioral program choices.

I use music to assist me in managing me.

I exercise discernment in what music I allow to possibly plant a seed with the lyrics.

I pick music that reinforces my individuality and my choice to be a nonconformist in the idea of being a slave to cultural trends.

I pick music that reminds me, only I know me and fully understand who I am and why I chose to be this way in this moment.

I pick music that reminds me none of us is any better than any other.

I pick music that reminds me as a species we are all in this together.

The point is, I pick music based on what I like singing along with on occasion. I pick music with lyrics that remind me why I even fell in love with music to begin with.

I would feel like I was trying to pull a fast one f I did not talk about my tobacco addiction. I have heard all I am going to hear in the way of reasons why I should quit. Here’s why.

I like it.

Here’s the real self-rationalization I use to feel OK with myself and my choice to remain addicted to tobacco.

My dad is a smoker. I grew up in the 70′ and 80’s and parents smoked inside the house. In fact people smoked in restaurants, bowling alleys, bars and even in the grocery store. You couldn’t go anywhere and not be around someone smoking except the movie theater and church, at least the ones I went to as a kid.

At age 13 I stole a pack of my dad’s cigarettes. I put that first one to my lips and lit it. I took my first drag and inhaled. I felt like I had just taken my first real breath. I didn’t cough or get queasy. I liked it the first time I tried it and have been basically smoking for 29 years. I had to quit in basic training and that lasted 7 weeks. I quit at age 31 after my son had been born. It lasted two months.

I quit smoking at age 37 for about 2 months. I did well until my 3rd wife wanted to still have our “going to bed” cigarette and the “after sex” cigarette. I started sneaking cigarettes behind her back and lying about my smoking.

Typical addict behavior.

I’ve always worked at not speaking in anger. I always used going out to have a smoke as a way to keep it from coming out. To give myself time to think and calm down, I smoked and paced while talking to myself.

I am not quitting in the foreseeable future. I’ve designed my diet and workout routine around combating the health effects of smoking tobacco.

I understand as long as I continue to use tobacco there is currently no way to totally eliminate the dangerous possible side effects.

The first step I took towards reducing those effects was to switch to rolling my own with organic tobacco. I noticed right away that the tobacco was stronger and had a stronger effect.

I naturally started smoking less. When I roll a cigarette it might take me anywhere from 1-2 hours to smoke that full cigarette. When I buy a pack of smokes, I smoke a pack a day. When I roll my own organic tobacco cigarettes I smoke between 5 and 7 a day.

I work to keep it at the 5, but shit happens. Financially this also was a good option.

Let’s say a pack of decent smokes is $5 for the sake of this example. I pay $10 for a pouch currently. A pouch contains 50 papers or the equivalent of 2 and a half packs of cigarettes. A pouch lasts me 7-10 days.

A pack a day at $5 over 7 days is $35 and a pouch for $10 that lasts that same 7 days is all the math this addict needed to look at.

An addict will look into every detail of feeding their addiction, to make sure they can. This math means more money to spend on the dietary needs that will also assist in reducing the unhealthy effects.

I want to take time to point out there are a ton of other chemicals in most prepackaged cigarettes sold today in the United States. I removed smoking those chemicals from my addiction. While I know of no study to show it, I do feel this also reduced the health risks by perhaps 50% as a result. I smoke fewer cigarettes and eliminated smoking the chemicals and now only smoke organic tobacco.

This is addict logic and thinking. It’s probably closer to 10% reduction, however an addict will lie like a motherfucker to themselves and the world to feel OK with feeding the addiction. It is ego driven behavior in every way.

I have a high antioxidant diet with foods and herbs known to assist in proper digestion and flushing out toxins from the body. The foundation of my diet is pink crystal Himalayan salt.

Its structure is cube shape which is what makes it the perfect purifying agent. I recommend doing your own research into this salt and make your own choice. It’s also known to aid in breaking addiction.

I could give you pages of why I smoke in great detail, however I think we get the point about what addiction is and what it can look like in living action.

Take some time and think about the things you do to check out or to feel good and you will find your addictions.

As soon as you start finding yourself rationalizing it or attempting to justify it, you will know you have found your addictions.

We each have our addictions and we have our reasons for this one or that one. As long as it works for you and you’re not inflicting harm on others, fuck yourself up all you want in my opinion.

Simply understand there will be consequences and be prepared to deal with them. This is why there are some substances I will not try even once. Anything can become addictive and moderation is all about self-discipline and owning your choices instead of looking for excuses.

I feel I am as responsible as I can be in the choices I’ve made with the addictions I have in my life.

I take time to think and examine the reasons why I engage in these addictions every time I do it. I know every time I abuse a substance or engage in behavior that could be harmful to myself and take precautions to limit the harm that might and can be done to me with my choices.

I exercise self-discipline to act in moderation with the understanding as to why I am engaging my will power to not use this or that at any given moment.

I choose to use whatever it is I am using to feel good or escape dealing with life or to feel nothing.

I choose the amount of the substance or the length of time I use to escape life or feel good or feel nothing.

It is the things we feel we need others to say is OK that is an indicator what we are doing might in fact not be healthy for us. Addiction has infinite forms.

The only way to truly fight addiction is to stop fighting it and start managing it with will and intent to the healthiest possible level you feel fine defending. The choice is to manage it or be a slave to it.

The choice is to own it and figure out why it’s there to begin with, in order to give you options in deciding what to do about it.

The only way to truly give up an addiction is to have the desire to do so first. You must see it as not being fun anymore. You must see it for what it is.

You must be totally committed to the choice to never use again. Making someone go to rehab has a low probability of removing the specific addiction/s. One must make the choice of their own free will if the addiction is to be broken.

I made a commitment to not drink because I never wanted my children to see me drunk ever again. I made that decision after they saw me throwing up drunk on the side of the road. I felt as if I was a bad dad.

While I still drink on rare occasion, I have gotten drunk one time since that night.

That one time was at a party with no children present and my kids were gone for the weekend. I was so embarrassed by my behavior, I never drink more than 3. Those 3 drinks might give me a buzz, however I never will allow myself to get drunk.

I never went AA. I never sought out a support group or counseling.

I took ownership of it and took my power back.

In my mid 20’s I developed a prescription pain pill addiction as a result of an injury that became a source of chronic pain. I dislocated two ribs between my right shoulder blade and my spine. At the time I had no insurance and was not making enough money to afford a DR.

It was 2 months before I had the injury looked at and another year before it was treated. As a result I had developed scarring in the muscle under my right shoulder blade and it became a daily source of pain. My average pain level was 5 on good days, an 8 on bad days and on average between 6 and 7 using the 1-10 pain scale.

I am not sure there is an adequate way to describe what living with chronic pain is. If you have never dealt with chronic pain, it is difficult to imagine a physical pain that never goes away.

I sustained more soft tissue back injuries over the years and my short leg was causing the nerves to get twisted up in my lower spine. It also had caused twisting in the muscles and my spine.

If you have never experienced chronic pain, there is no way to describe the feeling of temporary relief from that pain. I had made the decision to give up prescription pain killers after I gave up drinking.

I gave up the pills with the cigarettes and coffee all on the same day while still married to my second wife. I went back to coffee after a few days. Over the next several years my pain level steadily increased, however I still have yet to use prescription pain killers to this day except on one occasion. I felt hung-over the next day and haven’t taken anything harder than ibuprofen in 5 years.

At age 36 I found myself driving a taxi. At the end of my shifts when I got home it was frequent that I could barely stand to be on my feet long enough to make it into the house.

The pain in my lower back was a ten. I started using marijuana for pain relief. It wasn’t doing much due to the level of pain I was in. By this time in my life my daily pain was an 8 on average. My good days were the 6 and 7’s and the bad days felt like 11.

I still refused to use prescription painkillers because of my past addiction and not wanting to relive it even though my life had become a torture chamber and it was my own body that was torturing me.

It was during the next 3 years I developed a psychological addiction to marijuana. I still use marijuana medicinally and on occasion I smoke for recreational use with intent. Most of the marijuana smoking I do is medicinal and I do not smoke enough to get high or stoned.

I also prefer strains that have a lower psychoactive effect.

At this time I have difficulty finding the strains I know work best for me medicinally. Due to this I measure out what I am smoking based on the effect the strain I am using has. I take the view of looking at it as dosages based on desired result and known effects of the strain I am using.

I would prefer to have 4 strains available for medicinal use. I have ADHD to the extreme. I need one strain that assists with focus and does not get me high so I can be productive. I need a strain that is strong and turns my brain to mush so I can sleep through the night and get the rest I need. Without it I skim sleep and wake frequently through the night and never get much rest.

The other two strains are for the same purposes and there to have something to switch back and forth to keep my tolerance lower for these strains. I have found just as with any other substance, continued use of one strain will build a tolerance and it will take higher doses of that substance to gain the desired result.

In walks addiction.

My life has shown me I am prone to addictive behavior. I own it and manage it to attempt to not develop unhealthy behaviors that go along with the things I use to deal with life or escape it on occasion. Before I could ever manage it myself I had to acknowledge the choice was mine and if I want to abuse, I will and no one can stop me except for me.

Even in the act of reaching out for someone to tell you not to do what you are thinking, you are making the choice to deter the desire over simply giving into it.

I understand addiction because I’m an addict and I live with my addictions and own them for what they are and manage them to reduce the harm they can and will inflict upon me and my life.

I’m still dealing with chronic pain as the muscles in my body adjust to the lengthening of my short leg, however now my daily average is 5 and on good days it’s a 4 and I barely notice it and on bad days it’s an 8 and I meditate most of the day to escape the pain.

I had lived with my twisted physical form for 39 years and it has been 2 and a half years since the day I had finished the internal process of lengthening my leg and fixing my oversize hip.

That is 39 years of muscle retraining I am in the middle of still. I am still a ways off from full recovery and I am not sure if I will ever fully physically recover.

How many people do you know that have done this to themselves?

I do know that I am in much less pain and I manage it much better than I used to. I also feel good about the way I manage myself in avoiding addictive behavior and use of self-discipline and exercising my power of choice. Or to say I never once bought into the idea that a lot recovery programs use in giving it over to a higher power.

If God resides within everything and everyone, than we are our higher power and that power is the power to choose for ourselves.

If I had the personal will power to break my own addictions by choice and stay clean, anyone can do it. I feel anything else is a cop out or attempt to take the idea of having that kind of power over your life away.

I want to add this piece from poet Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. You’re playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Enough said on addiction and your power to be an addict or not is your power to choose.

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