We may not all be addicted to the same things, but we are definitely addicted. Addiction is an interesting paradox to me because the more you are aware of it, the less it is a problem. But the less you are aware of your addiction, the more trouble it can cause without you understanding why.
Addictions come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been addicted to sugar, to alcohol, to sadness, to anger. I’ve been addicted to the thrill of fast speeds, to video games, and countless others. And I’ve had friends who are addicted to sickness, to working, to mayhem, to attention, to you name it.
It’s not really the obvious ones that concern me. It’s easy to realize you’re addicted to cigarettes or candy or Facebook, but it’s difficult to realize you’re addicted to something like sadness or anger.
For a long time, I didn’t know I was addicted to my emotions, and that caused some serious problems. It’s pretty easy to look back on it and see it, because I can see that when I was addicted to sadness I would literally choose to be sad, I would even play sad music all the time. Sadness built a home in me.
I didn’t really know it until I had a solid stretch of happiness. I was finally overturning my depression, and after being happy for a while, I caught myself feeling like a hole or a void for sadness. Something happened that made me a little sad, and that “home” feeling came back, like I had “missed” sadness. It was a big moment for me, because catching myself was key. If I didn’t notice, I could have easily started making decisions that would lead me to sadness, even at an unconscious level, just to fill that void.
I know people who are addicted to work and stress. If they aren’t busy or stressed, they’re not “at home”. I know people who are addicted to conflict, they can’t handle calm and don’t even know it. I definitely know people addicted to anger.
I do okay with anger but it’s tricky. I catch myself at least once a day getting addicted to anger on the road. For 1-5 minutes I want to be angry at bad drivers, slow drivers in left lanes, and I want to ask angry questions to absolutely nobody. I basically direct all my focus at things that make me angry about driving right now. 1-5 points for anger, almost every day.
You see, that’s why emotion addictions are the ones I worry about! They score points and you don’t even realize! That’s why I do okay with anger, I can generally catch it before it gets too far ahead to cause serious problems. Like where it rolls over into my work day and I think the entire universe is out to cut me off and shit on me all day. Then tomorrow comes and anger’s got a tent setup now, ’cause he’s been camping on my front lawn for a day. He’s on the lookout for things to be angry about, and he’ll be sure to point them all out to me. After a year, he’ll have a watchtower built and a telescope. Then I can be angry about everything everywhere. Anger and I will live happily ever after.
I’m not the greatest painter, but I hope you can see the picture I’m painting. Even if it doesn’t make sense, I hope it still has some meaning to at least someone.
We’ve all got addictions. It’s the ones you don’t know about that really get you. When you know about it, you can do something to score some points and get back in the game. But when you don’t know, you wake up like me one day and see a scoreboard for “Sadness vs You”. The score is 26000 to 12.
Sure makes for a glorious comeback though…