How in tune with yourself are you? Have you given this thought? Do you believe you are in control of the choices you genuinely want to make? Is there something preventing you from making those decisions? Think about this for a minute. How much do you really know about yourself?
Certain people deal with an affliction known as addiction. Addiction is a known trait genetically composed in our minds. It subsequently alters our behavior. Some people are fortunate enough to not be cursed with this flaw. Others, not so much.
Addiction is not to be taken lightly, yet it is easily misunderstood. People without an addictive personality simply cannot relate, because they mentally cannot comprehend the perils someone with this disease deals with. Others may be afflicted with the struggle, but refuse to take it seriously, or, even worse, they do not truly understand the depth of their own problem.
Everyone cursed with an addiction deals with it differently, but most agree it is a zero sum game. Your mind is constantly active, always trying to fight a battle of good versus evil inside. You can win this battle by staying busy and keeping yourself occupied with hobbies, tasks, and behaviors that are positive. You begin losing this battle when the mind becomes idle. The idleness in your head eats at you. The evil creeps back in. The thoughts evolve into deeper temptations. The body cannot resist, and the addiction is satisfied. A zero sum game.
They say in Alcoholics Anonymous that admittance is the first step. This is often misunderstood as an isolated addiction to alcohol alone. Not the case in many. The afflicted likely suffers with a list of vices they are a prisoner to. It is important for the afflicted to not only be mindful of their overall addictive personality, but to what extent each vice consumes power over the body more than others. For example, one person may prefer alcohol over smoking cigarettes, despite enjoying both in excess. Both are vices the person struggles with, but one is easier to manage compared with the other.
This is often why AA, NA, or GA will suggest a full abstinence from all vices to best guarantee complete success. It is too difficult for the person to understand and list which is worse, so the decision is made to remove all the vices at once.
My personal journey with addiction has plagued me my whole life, and I’ve been mindful of it since I was a teenager. You combine my wherewithal with my family history and it was pretty obvious that I was heading down the addictive personality game of life.
I wrestled with the fallacy that I could manage and control it forever. I, like many, made every excuse in the book. It was one after the other. I knew deep inside it was always a lie. I wasn’t in control.
It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I finally decided to take the plunge and say no more. Now, I haven’t gone down the entire conventional route that AA, NA, or GA advise. I know I’m dancing with the devil this way, and I’m mindful that this remains a game of Russian Roulette every time I sip the first beer of the evening. I know that at some point in my life I likely need to go the way many people who suffer with an addictive personality have gone, which is an entire abstinence from all vices. I know it is my own pride, selfishness, and stubbornness preventing me from that today.
I also know there have been great successes along the way, because I am mindful of which vices bring me more harm. This has at least worked for me, for now. I don’t say this to be boastful, but to encourage someone who is reading this now. If you, like me, are aware of the affliction you face, and truly understand which addictions cause you the most pain, then at least take that first step. Begin to cut them out of your life. Fill them with positive behaviors to keep your mind busy, and keep your eye on the prize. A complete and full abstention from all vices. You’ll get there one day. I know I will. I know I need to.
One year ago today was the last time I gambled in a casino. My truest addiction.