Talking About Addiction

After a couple of days of thinking about this, I have decided to give it a go, and talk about it. I am not sure yet how this is going to help me or anyone else, but probably someone can take an advantage of this particular post.

Like I said last time, I don’t get addicted easily.

I used to smoke a lot, even chain smoke at some point, but quitting smoking was a breeze for me. My husband, on the other hand couldn’t watch the Fellowships of the Ring without getting up to have a mid film break. I still have half — now incredibly dry tobacco on my table, which I am keeping just because I have paid for it, and not once for the last six months I got tempted to smoke it.

I never had this withdrawal symptoms. And the only reason I ate more since I stopped smoking is because now everything tastes WAAAAY better then before — as my sense of taste and smell came back.

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Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

I used to drink a lot, especially during my uni years. Too much, I should say. Of course I couldn’t see the point of drinking to the point of not being able to remember what you are drinking, or drinking just to throw it up later on when you go home. What a waste of money…

I can easily not do that either. I mean, it would be nice to spend an evening with my husband, out and drinking a couple glasses of wine. And go home feeling merry and having a lovely conversation. But it is easy to stop at that.

Snacking… oooh I still love snacking. And I insisted to have a eating habit that includes snacking in between. I love crisps, and I love my rich tea biscuits… But no… I am not addicted to food either.

My addiction is less… tangible. If that makes sense?

Gaming. Any game, but especially PC gaming.

If money was not the issue, I would have bought all of those DLCs for the Sims 4. I would not go to work, just to play on my computer the whole day. And really… why do you think I missed my usual Sunday post and posted it on Monday instead?

You got it… I was roaming the middle earth.

Just over a decade ago, I was hospitalised twice because of this game binging. The game was Tribal Wars, the browser based, real time online game. I had my tribe mates from all over the world, and I was… you know… addicted.

The only time I stopped playing was when I was sleeping, or going to the bathroom to shower, and do number one and two. Which was not too often because I did not drink or eat much at that time. I was living off caffeine and instant noodles, and chain smoking for that extra oomph. My ex was the enabler.

My stomach decided that it did not want any more portion of instant noodle. The stomach acid spiked, probably because of the caffeine too… and I was vomiting non stop. We went to the hospital for the first time.

The second time… Same game, but I was no longer living with my ex. No enabler, but I was already unwell so it did not take much instant noodle to send me to the emergency room. This time, I drove myself to the hospital, got needle on my arm to get some IV drip, and the nice doctor let me to sleep there for the night. Away from my computer for awhile.

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

That second one was not stomach acid, but stomach ulcer. I could not eat anything else than a very thin unflavoured rice porridge for a week, and drink anything else than water.

I dropped the game before I died, only to pick it up again when I started my uni in Norwich. Four months on, I found myself almost screwing my masters degree because of it. So…

Yeah. Haven’t touched the game since. Still followed their page on facebook, but haven’t opened their game since.

I understand why some people decided to go completely teetotal if they know they are vulnerable to alcohol addiction. And some people go cold turkey as they stop smoking. It is easier to not going through the same addictive pattern when you remove the temptation completely.

NHS reported that 1 out of 3 people are addicted to something. This something is not limited to the usual suspects like ‘nicotine’, ‘alcohol’, or other substance abuse. It can be your work, your phone, your social media, shopping, or even… yes… fitness.

Photo by Natasha Spencer on Pexels.com

Sometimes one addiction is harder to beat than the other. Drug, nicotine, caffeine, and some other chemicals are harder for some people because they actually contain addictive substances within them. Food addiction is harder for some people because they cannot completely remove food from their life to stay alive.

Sometimes the addiction is not obvious, like social media addiction — where you are just seen as ‘active’ online, or work addiction — where you are just seen as a hardworking person. It is hard to fight an enemy, if you don’t know you have the enemy. So how do you find out?

  1. Is this activity throw your life off balance?
    Do you stop caring about yourself or your family because of this activity? Do you stop talking to your friends, or going to social gathering because this activity is now taking precedence? Or the other way around, does this activity affected your work or academic performance? Maybe it is a good idea to look deeper into this if this activity is throwing your life off balance.
  2. Have you lied or made excuses for this activity?
    Do you have bottles hidden somewhere in the house so that no one else on your household can see it? Have you got a secret credit card you use to shop or gamble? Have you told your friend that your boss gave you that extra last minute work, while in fact you are just getting the high doing your spreadsheet?
  3. Has it started to affect your finance and/or health/mental health?
    Maybe this is obvious, but when you are addicted to something you can’t see this without someone asking it to you blatantly. When was the last time you eat properly? How many credit card statements you’ve ignored? How much of your wage you spend on buying things just so you can update your instagram?

I know this is a very touchy subject, and it does touch people in different ways. For me… It is sort of in the past, but I know I have to be careful because I still play games regularly. I am lucky that I have a routine as a life structure, and my husband as the constant support system. I am also fortunate enough that now I am equipped with knowledge, experience, and also a mildly reliable self control because of those things.

I understand that not many people are as lucky as I am, and still are struggling with addiction. I wish you guys the best….

xx

Mel

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