ADDICTED TO ADDICTIONS
Most of my life I have been plagued with addictions. Whether it was alcohol (binge drinking); smoking; painkillers (to counter frequent tension headaches, as well as hangovers)); sex (predominantly sexual fantasies); participating in sport (as a way of getting recognition); watching sport; gambling; or work (as a workaholic to escape unhappy marriages). I have probably missed a few, but these are the big ticket items.
Why so many, you may ask? And what was the pay-off?
Answering the last question first. Not one of these addictions brought me happiness, indeed, every one contributed to stunting my emotional growth and intelligence. Yes, I obtained fleeting pleasure from nearly all of them. But pleasure was always followed by pain. Along the way I hurt others, but, most of all, the person I hurt the most was me.
As for the first question, why so many?
First, addictions took my mind off the person who I thought I was. A person ravaged with self doubts and lacking self belief. My addictions were a distraction and a brief respite from looking closely at the man in the mirror.
Also most of my addictions (except for painkillers) were designed to give me pleasure, which I had mistaken for happiness. As an old pop song goes: there’s a fine line between pleasure and pain. Ephemeral pleasure soon gave way to pain and guilt.
Another reason for doggedly pursuing my addictions was to escape, at least for a little while, what I thought was a cruel, fearful world full of people out to get me and bring me down.
I am pleased to report I have discarded most of these addictions now. It all started over 20 years ago when I took my first hesitant and shaky steps along my chosen spiritual path. A path that began leading me towards knowing who I really am and what my life was really about. Most of those debilitating addictions fell away immediately, while for others, they gradually diminished and disappeared.
Have to confess though, I am still tenaciously hanging onto one addiction.
Watching sport, especially football in winter.
But feel for me, football ends in September and does not resume until March. Whoa! Summer hibernation is a testing time. I do not enjoy watching cricket, tennis, basketball or other summer sports all that much.
However, in order to arrest my sport watching withdrawal symptoms, of late, I have been watching soccer!
A sissy’s game compared with Aussie Rules football in my opinion, where Academy Awards should be handed out every time a soccer player hits the turf clutching his shin as if he has been mortally wounded.
Be that as it may, the Asian Cup is currently being played here in Australia, so every night I sneak off to my study to watch the highlights at 10 pm on my computer.
I have to begrudgingly admit I am beginning to admire the skill of the players and even get mildly excited when a team (especially Australia) scores a goal.
Getting back to the point, I rationalize that my sport watching is a relatively mild addiction compared with those that have since fallen by the wayside.
Maybe one day, this addiction too, will be a thing of the past as I transcend my perceived needs of earthly pleasure.
Oops! Just remembered. Must renew my annual North Melbourne Football Club membership for 2015. Practice matches are only six weeks away!