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An Introduction to Addiction in General

R. Alex Jenkins

R. Alex Jenkins

I write about addiction and depression with various objectives in mind: to help myself psychologically, to understand and improve my output and productivity, and (hopefully) to help others while building up this body of work.

When you can't control your addictions they can have a cascading negative effect on the quality of your life, with things that normally seem quite simple becoming more difficult.

Addictions take you unaware because of how subtle they can be. A harmless indulgence can become a full-blown daily habit that eats away at your self esteem. Before you know it you're hooked and regularly doing things you no longer want to do. These habits can lead onto other unsavory habits that also turn into addictions.

We are not immortal. The heat of the sun makes you aware of a power that seemingly burns forever. The same sun will still be there when everything we know is forgotten. When the Bible or the Koran have been replaced by other scriptures and when our ancestors are fables and forgotten. We kid ourselves that we are immortal though. We tell ourselves that nothing matters because we have tomorrow, next year and the rest of our lives. Another session won't hurt and so we carry on regardless. There is always time to recover because our minds are incapable of seeing too far into the future or what’s out of immediate reach, just as we are unable to see the people living above, below or around us in an apartment block.

Instead, we focus on our appearance, status and immediate desires, creating a an illusionary barrier to protect us and to stay on solid ground. We have commitments, personal agenda and lives to lead and limited time to actually think about the cause of our precarious existence. Some people follow strict rules, others follow religion and doctrine, while others develop filters to sift out the overwhelming amount of information that bombards us every minute of the day. Some people turn off the TV, close YouTube or shut down their apps in order to cope, while opening them up again at the next immediate opportunity. And that's how addiction grabs us every time, when our mind tells us it's time for another quick foray.

I wish I could instruct myself at will that I don't need another episode or more hours on video game X, or another beer, more food or one more cigarette. Now always seems the perfect time, until it becomes all the time. You dovetail your responsibilities into your habits and constantly switch between the two. Everyone needs to do something: work, study, look after themselves or others, to keep physically and mentally occupied instead of vegetating, but as soon as we get the slightest break we indulge in our favourite habits.

But too much digressing and procrastinating makes us unhappy.

Sometimes we don't even know we're doing certain things because we're so busy lugging our egos around with us while juggling between our responsibilities and our need for escapism.

Our subconscious mind tricks us into believing in eternal life, some sort of delusion that we’re going to live forever. An inner voice convincing us to indulge one more time because we've got all the time in the world. Alarm bells go off to tell us that enough is enough, but our inner desire pipes up again with its needs, and because it’s been a while since our last session, we give in and go round in addictive circles again.

Continuous bad habits have a serious impact on your health, well being and happiness.

If you're in that zone where addictions are subverting your true personality and making you unhappy, you can do something about them to regain control. You have to be clear with yourself that you’re going round in circles.

I hate it when people tell me to do this or do that, giving advice that you don’t want and won’t heed anyway.

My attitude to addiction and depression is to acknowledge that I’m on repeat and not getting anywhere. Is this what I really want, another hour on YouTube I ask myself? It rarely is.

Try telling yourself a few things: 

- I am a normal human being with some bad habits. I admit them and am not hiding away from them.

- I deserve a better life and want to have more control over it.

- I want to achieve more than I am currently doing.

- I will master circular addictions and not let them waste away my life.

The aim of this article isn’t to give you advice or tell you what to do. It’s to remind you that you don’t have to go round in circles if you don't want to.

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