It’s no secret that I have a tendency toward addiction. In Alcoholics Anonymous (referred to by members of AA as “The Big Book”), this inability to control one’s drinking is described – not in a strict medical sense, but more metaphorically – as an “allergy” to alcohol. It’s a shorthand way to describe the fact that alcohol affects the alcoholic brain in an abnormal way.
I’m an addict. It’s in my nature to become obsessed and to compulsively engage in behavior that stimulates whatever combination of chemicals it is in my brain – seratonin, dopamine, oxytocin, endorphines, I don’t know – that creates a feeling of euphoria and peace. I crave this stimulation to the point of anxiety, and without a support system and framework in my life that encourages a healthy response to these cravings, I will be tortured and compelled by my own brain to go to any lengths to quell that anxiety.
Without a support system and framework of greater strength than I, I would plot my own destruction to quell the torture of the addiction.
I’ve been sober for over 14 months now (in a row!)[ed. – as of 3-20-15 it’s been almost 4 1/2 years!), but not for a day have I not been an addict.
I want to stay sober, so I try to study and seek the advice of other addicts who have successfully maintained sobriety for long periods of time. This active search for wisdom has provided me with many useful tools and methods to use when the compulsion of addiction is particularly strong.
The tool I use most is prayer. I probably pray a dozen times a day, maybe more.
The tool I use second-most is tabletop-sports gaming.
It’s been over 3 years since I wrote that, but in regard to my addictive tendencies, nothing has changed. Moreover, it’s not likely that anything ever will.
These days I spend – literally – at least 8 hours a day playing, writing about, discussing or generally considering tabletop-sports games. I justify this by proclaiming my intentions to further my career through my work in the hobby. But there is undoubtedly an element of obsession and compulsiveness to it, too. Some might say I’m a work-a-holic, some might say I just love what I’m doing, some might say tabletop-sports are the least of many evils I could be pursuing, some might just say I’m an addict.
Tony Jameson is a stand-up comedian from the UK, in his mid-30’s. He describes his stage show, Football Manager Ruined My Life, as being “about obsession, delusion, and general idiocy from a bloke who should know better.” I might just have to steal that for this site’s tagline.
I like to think we’re enthusiasts who just can’t stop playing, but maybe the addict thing is a possibility as well. – Tony Jameson, from his stage show “Football Manager Ruined My Life”