I overcame my addictions. You can do it too.
Today I’m going to talk about addictions. We all have our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but the difference is how we handle them. My addictions were:
-Computer games addiction
-Being a parasite addiction
I managed to overcome all of them. And a part of me becoming clean is thanks to YOU, dear reader. But first things first:
1. Gambling and computer games addiction. Somehow these two combined when I caught this disease in high-school (and let me tell you, each of these addictions are stronger and more deadly than alcohol, cocaine, or whatever substance). Partly because of financial problems, partly because everyone was doing it and I wanted to be as cool as them and partly because being an ex-communist country, it was a freedom I never experienced before. So I started with sport bets. Every day on my way home from school I stopped at a bet point and waste money on tickets. Nothing out of the common till now. But then I discovered internet and that is when I truly became an addict. With online betting and gaming, new door had opened to my small world. Hundreds of possible bets in tenths of sports, all with a click of a mouse. Evading reality through games. It was heaven. For 2 years I was up to no good. School grades dropped, friends started to go away but I couldn’t care less. I was too deep in my tiny box to see that.
That continued until I had a car crash and ended up in the hospital. At that time there was no wi-fi, no smartphones, no mobile internet. So I had time for me to spend with myself. No visits except for my parents, no roommates, barely a few nurses to speak to. That is the point when I asked myself: What the f are you doing ? Everyone around me was moving up and I remained at the same level for years.
Then I ACCEPTED that I have a problem. I checked out of the hospital and went home and decided to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I logged in on a game and checked my “online time”. One day of online time means 24 hours of gaming. If you play 12 hours today, sleep and play 12 hours tomorrow, that’s counted as 1 day. My online time showed more than 300 days. What the f ? With 12 hours per day, that’s at least 2 years !!! 2 lost years that I will never get back. I immediately logged out and uninstall the game. Then I logged on my betting site and opted out for 5 years (opt out is an option where you basically block yourself out. Every credit card, every email, even IP is blocked from that site for a certain period of time). Of course not long after, I made new accounts on new websites, but I opted out on those too. I was now in defensive mode, protecting me from myself. So now I have nothing to do. What now ?
2. Being a parasite and alcohol abuse. Since I got nothing to do all day and the word “work” was unknown to me, I became a parasite. Doing NOTHING all day, asking my parents for money and wasting it on alcohol. The only advantage in alcoholism is that you meet people, REAL people. Of course a lot of them worth nothing or they are even bad for your situation, but on some very rare occasions you might meet someone who might turn out to be the greatest gift that life gives you. And so I met this girl. Until today I cannot imagine how did she see in me that… something that I was unable to see, and why she didn’t run away in the first place. Instead she gained my trust and manipulated me, not that hard to do with an average alcoholic brain. She showed me the world as I have never seen it. She showed me what I’ve been missing all these years. I was introduced to new circles of people and I was fascinated about it. She was also the one who introduced me to the fascinating world of psychology and later advised me to start a blog.
Starting that first blog and having quite a few followers was the second best thing in my life. People reading and commenting to my posts soon formed a helping circle which helped me maybe more than they realize. After passing the parasite phase and alcohol addiction I soon started to receive emails from my readers. Emails that contained from a simple “congratulations” to really complicated problems to which they needed my advice. I realized that was my call: helping others.
To CONCLUDE: don’t yell to an addict, whatever his addiction is. And also I don’t find it particularly helpful to even talk at all about the addiction in an early phase, because that vice is normal to him, that world is his normal world and you can’t talk it out of it. Instead, try showing the addict what he’s missing. Try showing him that people love him, try showing him that world is an AWESOME place, show him that happiness is in the small things. Show him that he could be a better person, for him first of all and the for the others. Of course this doesn’t apply to physical addictions like high drugs, where extreme medication and professional help IS needed, but smaller addictions can be beaten down with some will and a lot of help from the loved ones.