Tuesday, 7 February 2012
"We stopped looking for monsters under the bed when we realised they were inside of us."
"Addictive behaviour is associated with human desire to escape from real life by changing their state of consciousness."
In a world where addiction is so accessible, it's easy to understand how somebody can get hooked on the feeling of doing something you essentially shouldn't be doing. There are silly addictions: spending hours on Facebook/Twitter instead of doing work, believing a TV show to be reality because you watch it so often, spending lots of money on a beauty product because you can't live without it...there's a huge list of things that aren't necessarily healthy for you, but aren't life-threatening.
Then there's the addictions that are life-threatening: drinking until you can't remember your own name, starving yourself to feel alive, binging on any food you can get your hands on because you feel like you're in control.
Now, the latter is obviously the extreme and while the"silly addictions" aren't necessarily addictions, it's when these things happen more than once that you should probably address why you resort to such things to make you feel better.
Is it for the thrill it brings to you; knowing nobody knows that you're harbouring a secret? All those nights you crept downstairs to binge on loaves of bread and packets of biscuits, trying to be quiet so that nobody heard you. Pretending you've eaten when really the last time food passed your lips was 9 days ago.
Nobody guesses and nobody asks.
You're free to strengthen the addiction, to make it better because nobody knows your plans. This addiction belongs to you, nobody else...is that what gives you the buzz?
Or is it because you think it makes you stronger? Everybody's better with a little bit of life experience behind them and being able to handle your drink is always a positive. However, is it such a good thing when you're starting the day with a bottle of vodka chased down by a shot of whiskey? Hmm...
I'm being extreme here because that's what addictions are. They're extreme versions of an action we wouldn't necessarily bring on to ourselves. They numb the pain, for a little while at least, and they make things seem less hazy. They give you superhuman strength because under the influence of something that gives you such a buzz, you really do feel like Superman.
It's funny because I was going to compare an addiction to an orgasm (well, the feeling you get after an orgasm: the rush, the outer body experience), but sex is an addiction too. Which brings me onto the point that anything can be an addiction. It's dangerous.
The most simplest of things can cause you damage. Things we take for granted as part of our daily routine can be harmful. Eating, drinking, sex, cleaning, smoking...
An addiction is an addiction; whether you're addicted to the opposite sex or addicted to the smell of cleaning products, you're still addicted to something. Okay, so maybe having to check that the windows and doors are locked 4 times before you go to bed isn't as dangerous as sleeping with 40 women/men a night, but both of those things affect you mentally.
In Caitlin Moran's "How To Be A Woman", she writes that there's a pecking order when it comes to rehab. Heroin addicts are at the top and overeaters are at the very bottom. Overeaters don't have the same amount of cool that heroin addicts have because it's not an addiction that stops the Earth from spinning. You can stuff your face with cake and you'll just get fat. Heroin addicts consider their addiction to be the highest kind because everything stops the minute you inject.
There shouldn't be hierarchy when it comes to addiction; these things, actions, objects that consume our lives are all equally as damaging. They'll hurt you, they'll convince you that you're unable to live without them and they'll bring more pain than you can imagine. Regardless of whether your addiction is self harm or smoking, you're still hurting yourself.
But I get it...for those 2 minutes it takes to smoke a cigarette or to snort a line of coke, you feel as if you're invincible. Addictions give a feeling of euphoria. It's the post coital cigarette that ends something so perfect. The minute you realise what you've done, or what your addiction has caused you to do, your world comes crashing down but for those 2 minutes of euphoric happiness you feel after screwing the 6th person that night or on the 3rd day of starving yourself, the effect it has on your mental health isn't worth it.
There's always a better addiction out there; soon, self harm isn't enough and 40 cigarettes a day seems like too little. There's always a higher platform for you to jump from.
It's like a SuperMario game - the levels keep getting harder and harder until you're suddenly facing the boss. When you're laying in a hospital bed with tubes running through you, feeding you because you didn't eat for 17 days, you're facing the boss.
When you have your face in a gutter after spending the night doing too many drugs, you're facing the boss.
When you wake up one day and you find out you've got liver cirrhosis, that's when you're facing the boss.
And the reality is, nobody ever really beats the boss the first time around. It takes more than one shot to kill the villain waiting at the end of every level.
We only get one chance to fight the demons we have growing inside of us.