I am an addict. At various times they have been tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, food, the internet, and sex, to name a few. Currently they are food and the internet via the iPad. Addiction runs in the family. My mother and her brother were alcoholics. I have managed to leave some behind, namely tobacco and pot.
I started smoking in 1960 at the University of Colorado when the tobacco companies were giving cigarettes away in order to get people hooked. I quit smoking in 1965, three packs a day of Camel straights. I quit pot in 1982 when I noticed I was having trouble remembering what I did yesterday.
Sex. What adolescent male isn’t a sex addict to some degree? I just kept it up too long.
I have left alcohol behind several times, but after a period I would start drinking again. I controlled the drinking for a while then slowly ramp up until I scared myself and quit again, only to repeat the cycle. I have been sober for almost two years, and I think I have left booze behind. I realized alcohol was going to kill me if I kept it up. I think of George Thorogood singing “When I drink alone, I want to be by myself.” Scotch or bourbon, vodka when money was tight.
I started when I was fifteen, drinking 3.2% Coors. Those were the binge years. I remember four of us in a line outside a Grand Junction beer joint vomiting in unison. One time we drank some beer after a field trip and went to football practice. We would hold our breath when the coach came into the huddle. In the army my buddies and I drank steadily. Fridays in the enlisted men’s club beer was a nickel and mixed drinks were a dime. That’s when I developed a taste for scotch. The well bourbon was Ten High, which isn’t fit for cleaning floors. See? I have discerning taste in choosing my poison.
I think I realized the danger of booze for me when I saw “Leaving Las Vegas.” Nic Cage’s character had sold everything and was in Vegas deliberately drinking himself to death. I saw myself. It took years, however, to give the stuff up.
Food. Chocolate and ice cream. Ice cream craving came from my father. He had a big bowl every evening. Chocolate? Who doesn’t like chocolate? In grade school, a friend and I came across a box of Hershey bars that fell off a delivery truck. We snuck around and ate the entire box in one afternoon. A few years ago, it was the ice cream sandwich summer. I would buy a box of them, eat four or so, and ditch the rest. It was cheaper than buying singles. I gained fifteen pounds.
I have a gastric condition resulting from a lifetime of acid reflux. Chocolate tends to cause reflux. Alcohol, of course is the worst, especially straight whisky. I am a lot better after quitting drinking and drastically reducing the chocolate intake. Now I just pick Ice cream flavors that don’t have any chocolate.
The iPad. Currently it is Words With Friends, Facebook, and You Tube. I hate boxing, so of course I watched a lot of boxing and mixed martial arts. I then went to car crashes. There are lots of dash cams in Russia, and they are terrible drivers. I like to watch Jeeps get mangled in the Utah red rock country. Currently it is firefighting. Urban fires, wild land fires, even car fires. I was a volunteer firefighter for a while. There is nothing more exciting than going into a burning building with a fire hose. No better way to waste time than watching it on line.
Quite a list, isn’t it? I have taken up Buddhism, and a major tenet is that craving is a root of suffering. I guess suffering has been a big part of my life for a long time.