Addiction 5/14/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

My friend sent me a video in which she was snorting what looked to be cocaine. I don’t know why. She has known me for about twenty years now, and no doubt knows me well enough to realize that I don’t do drugs. Of any kind.

I always knew she smoked marijuana, and in the state where she lives it is, well, let’s say the laws are not enforced. “Legal” is an interesting concept today; it’s not that drugs are truly legal in any state because everywhere they are against federal law, but, in a move with which I do agree, in states where drugs have been “legalized”, the government doesn’t seem to be enforcing the federal laws. But I think she was comfortable sharing that video with me because she also knows that I don’t hold her decision to use against her, and honestly, I feel like it’s kind of an honor that she feels that comfortable sharing with me.

I don’t know if she’s addicted or not. I doubt that she is. She acts like a casual user. But, if she is comfortable enough to share that video with me, then she would also be comfortable coming to me if she decided that she did have an issue and wanted to get “clean”. And, if she does feel comfortable enough to ask for help from me, again, it’s an honor. I’m not a counselor, so I don’t know how much I would be able to do for her, but I could be there when she needs me, and sometimes that’s a lot.

There are so many forms of addiction. We’re creatures that are easily turned, be it something considered to be relatively “safe” like coffee, or (in my case) diet pop, or something more self-destructive such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling and on and on and on. The common thread throughout is that it is, in fact, a disease.

Ironically, spicy (hot) food is a chemical addiction. The hypothesis goes like this; eating spicy food, early on, causes physical pain. Physical pain releases endorphins, which are also the chemicals that make people happy and well-adjusted, so the “addict” will crave spicy food for the endorphin release. Unfortunately, as the palate becomes accustomed to spicy food, the food must be spicier to cause enough pain to release the endorphins.

People reading this might think this is not a big deal, and I suppose that of the addictions out there, this might be one of the less harmful ones, but it’s not harmless. I have a good friend who (like me) has that spice addiction, but while I had reached a point that there was no food that was “too hot”, he would seek the hottest spiciest food in every meal. Eventually, this lead to health problems for him as the increased acidity caused permanent health issues for him.

I think that addictions fill a void in our lives. I have, off and on throughout my life, been addicted to pornography. The cycle would begin with finding something that I find sexy and saving it. From there I would start looking for similar things, then start expanding from there until, eventually, it just became all too consuming in my life. Eventually, I would recognize this, and in one single day with higher than normal self-control, I would just get rid of all of it. All of it; bang. Gone. And I would be fine for quite some time, months, or even years, until…I see that one thing I think is sexy.

But the addiction, like many addictions I would imagine, fill a void. I’m lonely, sexually frustrated, and it’s there for me. I tend to go several years between lovers, and that’s not easy. Sexuality is a basic human need for a happy, balanced and healthy life, but as accepting as I am on the sexuality of others, I tend to be too puritanical on myself, but it’s a difficult way to live. I’m happy with myself; the greatest disappointments I have in my love life have been those encounters that were not as significant as I had hoped it would be. But today, there’s online, and for a while, it helps me feel less lonely, less stressed.

But like any addiction, there comes a point when it’s just time to stop. It’s easier for me today than it used to be; when I was young, online was not available, and “deleting” meant throwing away physical pornography like magazines and videos. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds, because I worried about some young kid coming across it, so I had to find a way that kids wouldn’t find it. Today, it’s just delete the folder. But, of course, I can’t delete the internet. It would also be easier if I had somebody I could turn to to help me through it, to divert my attention, that I could speak with when I’m feeling weak after hitting that delete button.

I want to be that person for others. I want to be the person that my friends could turn to if they needed help with an addiction. As I write this, I am actually worried about what will happen if the school where I work will read it, but I’m also hoping that, maybe, if somebody reads this and realizes that they’re not alone in their addiction, if that person finds the strength to seek help after reading this blog, then it will be worth it.

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