Addictions – what are they? How do they manifest? Substance abuse? Dangerous environments? It’s never easy to talk about, especially not for me. So forgive me if this is somewhat vague and hard to understand but when Ash asked me to write about this, I promised I would be completely honest and open. So these will be raw, unfiltered feelings and views that terrify me to my core. So raw that I sometimes struggle to even admit them to myself. This post will be my personal experience and my acceptance of one of my addictions. Perhaps you’ll relate, perhaps you won’t, but never the less I hope you’ll find it insightful. I want to make it clear, all addictions are not bad, they all however, are somewhat unhealthy. Some addictions result in success and achievements that are otherwise unobtainable, but it’s usually at the price of great personal time loss and depravity of loved ones. But as we all well know, quite often, they are very negative and dangerous.
So let me quickly introduce myself, for all who know Ash personally you’ll know me quite well and for those who don’t? Well I guess you could call me “The Bear”. Twenty three years old and working full time chasing the one goal of a happy life. I’m not perfect, I have addictions, some unorthodox and some simple and common. So enough procrastinating, let’s take a journey together into some of my deepest anxiety and let’s talk about addiction.
What am I addicted to? Lots of things, but for this post lets stick to my worst failing – my addiction to adrenaline. I ride a motorbike, two actually. Both designed specifically for different things, but both somewhat dangerous nonetheless. I ride them both in times where I’m lonely, upset, distressed, unhappy but also when I’m happy. I ride with exuberance – that is, I ride in a manner some consider completely and unacceptably dangerous. I justify this type of riding with many different excuses, all of which are really invalid when I think seriously about it. Sometimes my family will tell me I need to slow down, I’ll reply with a standard “I’m riding within my risk margin” or something similar. In reality, it’s bullshit. I ride like an idiot and this I know quite well, having stopped at the end of rides wondering how I survived. I push hard, I want to excel and get better – these are things I tell myself but it’s a complete ruse to justify it. I avoid track riding on the BMW as I’m terrified of dropping it (crashing it). I do however, try to take the Honda Grom as I’m not so attached to it. The problem is whenever I ride on road I have a margin of risk I do not exceed, 80% give or take of what I feel I’m capable of. Last time I was on the track I completely exceeded this, and subsequently ended up crashing. I learned from that, as I do from all my experiences, but the adrenaline rush it left me with was truly what I wanted. I don’t ride like this all the time, but when I don’t I’m often full of thought which in itself distracts me from paying attention to my environment. I get bored easily, everything is boring I say, but really that’s just me needing another fix – losing interest in whatever I’m doing as I figure it will not give me what I want. It’s terrifying, the limits I’ll push to attain this fix, I think of the family that loves me and I think of Ash – my partner, and how distraught they would be if something were to go wrong. I accept this is life, inevitably it ends, I do not fear death at all, but I fear more than anything leaving a partner and a family behind, broken. These thoughts often are enough to keep me in check but alas I am human, I have addictions and this addiction sometimes will not be silenced.
So as an addiction, how do I get my fix without putting myself in considerable physical risk? This is the question that has, quite literally, kept me up nights and frequently brings me to tears. How do I keep my interest without completely writing myself off? Go-Karting sometimes is a good answer, albeit expensive. As all addictions do, my addiction to adrenaline has cost me. I have injuries that’ll never heal, I have inabilities and daily pain. I have currently lost 3% of my overall ability as a human to perform tasks. As a result I have had to change jobs, I’ve lost my career progress and I am now almost unemployable for most labour intensive jobs. I can’t sleep on my right hand side anymore as my shoulder that I completely tore from its socket threatens daily to dislocate. So that 3% is a very real figure and I’m luck to have escaped so lightly considering the circumstances.
So what have I learned? I’ve learned that addictions manifest themselves in many ways, in my case mainly in my chase for adrenaline. But some people have addictions for attention, empathy, money or success which are often called many different things depending on the addiction, mainly because addiction’s such an ugly word and is something we quite often don’t talk about. So why don’t we talk about it? Personally I struggle to communicate such things, I struggle to find it worthy of time – not just of my own but of someone else’s. I understand everyone in this world is suffering and this is the excuse I use to not talk about it, but addictions are serious. They take us away from the people we love or they make us hurt them. I am no stranger to addiction – especially substance addictions – as I have watched family members rip lives apart and completely ignore their loved ones for the addiction they had.
I am still in progress of accepting and compromising with my addictions, I understand that this is part of who I am, it will not go away or be silenced. But it’s time we all started talking a little more about it because there is so much knowledge in this world and so much support. Who knows? Maybe someone out there has the answer I’ve been looking for and if my answers out there I’m sure everyone else’s answers are too. But for now, I’ll keep looking and I’ll keep trying to talk about it because addictions shouldn’t be something we don’t talk about.
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