By Paul Maguire on December 13, 2011
There comes a point in time when you have to take a step back and just say no. I don’t mean saying no and not giving a second’s consideration as to whether you actually believe in the word and what it is standing for. It’s not like when you hear a sweet and innocent two year old saying it because it’s one of the few words in their fledgling vocabulary. It’s not a fleeting remark to pass the buck to someone else nor should it be said to procrastinate for another day, week or even year. Believe it when you say it. NOOOOOOO!!!
I’ve said no before and knew otherwise. I’ve done the same whilst saying yes, knowing full well it was not the case. But when faced with confronting a divisive and destructive condition such as addiction, you have to stand up and face the fear. Rise up and stand tall against the conflicting swirls of emotions and thoughts when deciding enough is enough, the madness has got to stop. You WANT to say NO despite the voices of supposed pleasure in your head telling you it’s only a passing phase and that, one day, the demons will lure you back into their brothels of seduction and illusionary euphoria. They tease you with promises of glory and sensory thrills but NO, no more. Say it. Mean it. Believe it.
I am an addict. In all honesty I cannot pinpoint just what exactly my addiction is. I’m stating that in the singular rather than plural, as while I might lose myself in many different things, the nagging feeling is that the problem is one thing alone. Whether it is an addictive personality disorder or just an inability to focus on what’s real I cannot answer at this juncture. I shall attempt to but in order to fight the battle and win, it shall be one small step at a time. It is a marathon not a sprint. Then again, even a marathon has an end point and you either win; lose with your dignity and pride intact or collapse in a state of cardiac arrest after 16 miles.
A few months back I said NO to one of the most destructive components I possessed in my arsenal of life-affecting addictions. For six years I played World of Warcraft, a captivating online role-playing game which sucks you deep into the maw of madness. Unless you fight its charms it won’t even spit you out in the end. You could remain forever ensnarled in its tendrils and never re-surface. It is the gaming equivalent of crack cocaine. Chasing the dragon if you will.
Trapped within the haze of a pixellated trance I lost sight of many problems which had rapidly accrued in my life. So much so, that I lost virtually everything. There’s no point in me explaining what exactly as it’s an age old story, retold countless times over the years by many of the afflicted and affected. My wealth was virtual not real, a gold mountain accrued at the expense of everything close to me. Almost every thought and action in real life was geared towards living and surviving in the lush landscapes of my virtual home. Even in sleep, the visions of conquest and glory reigned. It was all-consuming. I let it happen. I invited her swarthy charms into my home and she took control of me, removing me from responsibility and reality, giving me a false promise of something new, exciting and fulfilling. I did not fight back.
As the six years progressed I fell further and deeper, not knowing or even caring whether I would hit the bottom. Initially, even after I had already lost everything I still could not tear myself away. If anything I threw myself even further into its arms, eager to be set free from all the problems I had created. The hole in the sand I was digging for myself was getting bigger and by now it was starting to rain. Warcraft, for me, had joined the pantheon of traditional addictions such as drugs and alcohol. Just one more hit, one more buzz, one more euphoric spasm of delight.
This Summer I said NO. I genuinely believe that I mean this. Part of me doesn’t think so and that one day she might crawl back beneath the sheets and whisper sweet nothings into my ear. I shall fight this and she will not re-appear, at least not in her current guise. Therein lies the problem confronting me. Was she the reason for all that happened or was I a willing vassal, an easy receptacle for dubious illusions? Am I addicted to something in particular or am I an addict full-stop? The fight for the answer is tough and even then there are victims. Sometimes even victory tastes bittersweet.
And yet the fight goes on.
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