The nature of our addictions is as powerful as it is mysterious. One person may experience a complete loss of control over their lives, while another can experience addiction much like a fad; fleeting and without lasting impressions. Some like to debate if addiction is a disease. The word disease in and of itself means not at ease, or in the simplest of terms, uncomfortable. Addiction is how a person escapes a seemingly uncomfortable life. A fail-safe when boredom sinks in and says “Hey, I know what to do.” It is a habitual behavior that becomes unchallenged, forming a lifestyle that perpetuates itself. Addiction is comfort.
Addiction decides what we will do in the future. It schedules appointments, meetings, conference calls, vacations and even doom. The tricky part is Addiction never tells the person any of these things. It becomes the Judas goat to which we blindly follow. It leads us by the hand towards uncertainty. It whispers promises of hope, glamour, happiness, solitude, strength, confidence, peace of mind, fame, wealth, courage, beauty, friendship, freedom, intelligence…and even death. For some, it creates a delusional state of mind. Addiction is a façade put on specifically to each person, essentially a lie.
Addiction is conniving and manipulative. To exist, it needs a person. It is a parasite, taking everything and giving nothing. This parasitical frame of mind hijacks a person’s daily life by showing only concern for survival. Then the guilt trips start. We succumb to our addiction to silence some internal temper tantrum. Addiction begins to rewrite life’s rules. The seemingly symbiotic relationship creates a vessel with addiction at the helm.
Humans are innately selfish, so this transition of power isn’t sudden. Addiction must convince us to take over the helm, if only for a little while. After some time, we begin to think, “Hmm, this ain’t so bad, Addiction is a pretty decent driver.” But we do not want to be too complacent, so we supervise from the passenger seat. We know how to navigate our lives so why not give directions. We get to enjoy the scenery from our safe place, occasionally guiding our friend Addiction.
There is no way Addiction can fool us while we are in the passengers’ seat, so it follows our directions. Time spent alongside our worthy friend allows us to trust and enjoy ourselves. We notice that the back seat is more spacious, so we contemplate the idea of being cozier. We may even begin to think, “Hey, I’ve earned this luxury so why not be chauffeured?” We get in the back seat, stretch our legs, put our hands behind our heads, and relax. Life is simplified because we no longer need to give directions. Addiction didn’t falter under our watchful eye, so we kick back and enjoy the ride.
But we were unable to understand that Addiction never knew how to drive nor could we navigate ourselves. Next thing we knew, tragedy struck because Addiction ultimately crashed us. We rode along in ignorant bliss, powerless over our own lives. The chaos caused much pain, but we were somehow pulled from the wreckage. Whatever it may be, it seems that a power greater than our addiction helped escape our estranged friend. We salvaged our sanity and came to believe “I will do anything to live as I truly am.”