Monday, 29 December 2014

Where I am with other addictions

When I was in school, talking about an "addictive personality" was commonplace. It's certainly something I diagnosed myself with.

Looking it up recently on Wikipedia, I found that science does not agree - the search defaulted to "narcissistic personality disorder". That's changed, but the long article that now sits under the "addictive personality" heading still admits that "there is an ongoing debate about the question of whether an addictive personality really exists."

The point I'm trying to make is that I'm easy prey to addiction. Down the years I've had on-and-off compulsive or addictive relationships with chocolate, caffeine, cannabis, porn, thumb sucking, skin scratching, speed, cigarettes, LSD...

There are a whole host of other behavioural ticks and habits that aren't good for me and which I'd like to something about.

Currently, I'd say the ones that worry me most are smoking and my online behaviour.

Smoking's a no-brainer these days. I've had some success in the last year, stopping for periods, but I'm currently smoking and want to stop. I have an e-cigarette so I can remain addicted to nicotine if I choose and I'd be happy to see that as the first step.

Online I'd like to waste less time. I've got a real magpie mind and the web is made for someone like me to get lost in. Social media, particularly Facebook, is a sink into which I pour too many hours. It interrupts my work, such as it is, and feeds my need for instant interaction. I'd like to use it less and otherwise waste less time online.

I'm addicted to caffeine too, but that's not really a problem. I did go caffeine free earlier this year as I was a bit worried about the amount I was drinking. Anxiety is one of my big problems and caffeine just feeds it. I'll probably have another break soon.

This whole attempt to be More Than Sober is about making big changes in my life. The extent to which I'm governed by routines, habits and compulsions in all areas of my life is one of the biggest. Some of the worst for me are simply repeated thought patterns. There are too many of these to list; things which send my anxiety spiralling if I depart from the established routine.

How does one go about that? We shall see. I've tried in the past and had some success. I'm convinced that meditation will play some part here. I need to change my mind and meditation is an exercise in having some control, just the control to do nothing.

So, as a first positive step I'm setting myself a challenge. I want to meditate every day this week. It might only be for 10 minutes, but it'll be a start, and a good one.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.