Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Are we all addicts?

Are we all addicts?
I did a post of the same title a few months ago so I thought I would do an update
The programme that prompted this post was called 'How to get a life' on BBC presented by Chery Healy
She followed people that were addicted to different substances from diet pills to legal highs
She interviewed one girl who was addicted to diet pills
She had a press full of pills and potions
I could identify a lot with this girl as she used to be a dancer
I remember when I did ballet people used to say to me that I had to be careful when I gave up because all the muscle turned to fat
Of course that wasn't true but it terrified me

Addiction is rife in my family so I had a pretty good chance of becoming an addict
Genetics loaded the gun but environment, circumstance and just plain bad luck pulled the trigger
My addiction comes out in lots of weird and wonderful ways
I definitely think I have an addictive personality 
If something feels good, I do it over and over again and I think I have the potential to become addicted to almost anything not just the usual suspects like drink and drugs
The substance may change but the feelings and behaviours are the same
If I find a food that I like I eat it over and over again (at the moment it's twix bars) and I get anxious if there are none in the house
I remember a few years ago my 'food' was drifter bars
For my birthday that year my boss gave me a bumper box of them
He knew me well
I ate them like they were going out if fashion
And then they did
All of a sudden shops stopped stocking them
I remember being in the car with my mother and getting her to drive from shop to shop, from tow to town to try and find them
I had to have them and no other chocolate bar would do
I felt no different than when I was craving heroin
Same shit different substance

So here's a list of my addictions from past to present

I first took drugs when I was 14 and dabbled with them up until age 18
At 18 I took heroin for the first time and was instantly hooked
I was on the merry-go-round that is heroin addiction for 6 years
I don't need to tell you that heroin is difficult to get off but I managed it
I moved away from my old town and started a new life
I don't go back to my old town as it is one big trigger

When I was younger I didn't have much interest in alcohol, maybe because my father was a drinker and I say the damage that he caused
But after I got off heroin I started drinking vodka and mixing it with my meds
I drank for about 2-3 years
I believe that alcohol is the most destructive drug, mainly because it is legal
I don't like the person I become when I drink, all maudlin and melancholy
I stopped drinking because I was starting to black out
I lost all concept of time and took great risks like drinking and driving
I don't drink at all now because as they say in AA 'One is too many and a thousand never enough'

I've been on methadone now for 8 years
I started on 70mls and am now down to 30mls
It definitely helped me get off heroin but now I am addicted to it
They it's harder to get off than heroin, that it gets in to your bones and I'd well believe it
When I was on a higher dose I used to abuse it and sometimes even sell it but now I am on a lower dose I can't afford to do that
I'd say I'll be on methadone for at least another couple of years

Prescription Drugs
I've been addicted to a few prescription meds including morphine
I remember when I was in hospital I used to see the other people lining up to get their sleeping tablets and I was jealous so I said I couldn't sleep and they put me on a sleeper
Coming off prescription meds is a nightmare, the withdrawals can last for months
I definitely believe that synthetic/man made drugs are worse than natural drugs
At the moment I'm on methadone, olanzapine (anti anxiety) and mirtazapine (anti depressant)
I still sometimes abuse the olanzapine but I don't take the mirtazapine
I think prescription drugs are over used when often other methods would me much better like talking therapy

I include these as I believe that they are a form of addiction
I was addicted to not eating and then became addicted to purging
The behaviours are the same as any other addiction, the lying, the cheating, the secrecy, the guilt, the shame

This has been a big problem for me
I used to shoplift when I was addicted to drugs to feed my habit
But when I stopped taking drugs the shoplifting didn't just go away
I continued to get the 'high' and that was addictive
Shoplifting was a big part of my bulimia too
I was so ashamed of all the food I used to buy that I started stealing it
I took great risks as this is a small town and if I got caught everyone would know about it
I also used to steal other items like make up or jewellry
I still have two boxes of stuff that I neither want nor need
I have worked hard with Mary over the last few months to stop the shoplifting and I've only done it a couple of times recently

I started smoking when I was about 14 and have been smoking ever since
I hate the fact that smoke but yes I am afraid if I give them up I'll gainw eight
My father gave them up 6 months ago and made it look very easy but he has also put on some weight
Hopefully someday I'll give them up

I go through phases of being addicted to exercise and I'm in one right now
It suddenly occurred to me one day that I am incredibly lazy (is that anorexia I here?)
So instead of bringing my dogs for one walk a day, I started bringing them for two
I also bought a stepper and parked it in front of the television
I used it for 2 -4 hours everyday
I don't feel like I can relax until I have the exercise done and feel guilty if I don't complete a certain amount

Diet Pills
I've tried a few different diet pills and they've never really worked but that doesn't stop me trying
Not only are the pills themselves addictive but the feeling is too
The feeling that these pills are the answer to all my problems
The promise of happiness
I believe that my eating disorder has been silently developing since birth but somewhere along the way I got the message that thin = happiness and thin = success
Of course I now know that couldn't be further from the truth

I used to weigh myself obsessively
Up to 10 times a day
In the morning, after I ate, after I purged, after I went to the bathroom
My life was ruled by those little numbers
I had to stop weighing as it was dictating my mood ,my self worth and my self esteem
Now I only weigh once a week with Mary

I crave sugar the way I used to crave heroin

I'm probably not alone with this one
Who hasn't looked up from the computer and realise that it's been 3 hours since you last moved
I know I need to get off the computer when I'm bursting for a wee
Hands up if you're addicted to the internet!

I am a total tv addict and often plan my day around programmes I want to see
Sometimes I find it really hard to pull myself away from the tv
My favourite programme is 'Come dine with me'
I use to watch box sets at night but had to stop as I was getting no sleep
I watched every episode of 'The Sopranos' back to back 3 times
Same with Mad Men
Same with Grey's Anatomy
Same with..........

The first thing I do in the morning is turn on the kettle
I wish I liked coffee but I don't
I like the smell of coffee but I don't like the taste
I couldn't live without tea
There's something about a steaming hot cup that soothes the soul
Any time is tea time is my house
We celebrate, we laugh, we cry, all with a cup of tea

With all that said I was wondering about you
What are you addicted to?
Do you have an addictive personality?


  1. Because of Mum I've stayed away from most drugs and deliberately not developed the contacts for them. I agree that alcohol is the most destructive. People here bitch about weed being a 'gateway drug' when they don't realise that the two BIGGEST gateway drugs are sold in shops to every over 18. Booze and tobacco. Lol I'm too terrified of alcohol calories to drink very often, and when I do drink the moodswings are horrible. I go from hyper to suicidal and back again multiple times in an hour. Not worth it.

    If talk therapy works better for you than the mirtazapine, then you may be better off not taking it. I don't know though. It did help me sleep, but it increased my appetite and made me late for work so often it had a detrimental effect.

    Eating disorders are mental illnesses with components of addiction. I don't understand why more doctors don't understand that.

    Yay for cutting down the shoplifting! We need to get you a better thrill sport :p I wanna join the Roller Derby team. They get cool names like "Ana Phlaxys" and "Anne Thrax" and it's license to bash people up at high speeds. WOOT!

    Omg yes I'm an internet addict. I get addicted to games but thankfully the boredom of grinding takes the scales off my eyes about level 20 or so.

    I'd say I'm most definitely addicted to the internet and acquiring more yarn or fibre. I get a new hobby and become completely obsessed with it for moths at a time. It's because of the addiction in my family that I haven't tried drugs, but the tendency to become obsessed with/addicted to things is definitely there and when it breaks through the lethargy of depression it can get. . . interesting.

    I noticed the other day that all knitters have their own little obsessions within the greater sphere of the craft. My mate 'Spanderholic' is currently obsessed with blanket squares while at squad we have someone known as the 'Sock Queen'. For me right now it seems to be spinning or lace and cables. I'm fuming at Mum's bloody hat demands because they keep me away from the brain-occupying frustrations of lace. Ugh.

    Productive addictions? Not really. My yarn stash is reaching proportions that even I admit are unwieldy and I haven't done dishes in about a week. Oops!

    I hope you're having a good day. Look aftr yourself, ok? Love you to little tea-flavoured bits <3

  2. You are better off Peri avoiding drink and drugs and I totally agree alcohol causes the most damage out of all the drugs and it's bloody legal.

    I would absolutely love to do Roller Derby, we so have to set up a team. I've watched it on tv and it looks like great gas.
    There is a girl on Master Australia who does Roller Derby, they don't have it here but if they did I would be on the mutha fucka.
    Although I might be a little bit scrawny to play but I'd give it a go. Another reason to put on weight right there.

    Love you too Peri,

    Peace and love from little old Ireland x

  3. I think if I'm truly honest, I would have to admit to having a somewhat addictive personality too. That's probably why recovery is so darn tough!

    Like you, I'm addicted to anorexia, and this is becoming stronger at the moment, addicted to eating less and less. However, when I eat more, I will always stick to the same food - a specific yogurt, or bread or soup etc. and I get addicted to this specific food, until the phase passes and I move from safe food onto another safe food. Do you have safe/unsafe foods?

    Also, I can get hooked on exercise and I totally understand how you go through phases of being addicted to exercise. After gaining some weight, I am now allowed to exercise again, and I'm taking full advantage of this. Sometimes I think it's easier when I can't exercise because there's no chance of me getting obsessed if I can't do any at all. It's all or nothing, if that makes sense?

    I have taken diet pills, but I wouldn't say I was totally addicted to them, but when I was taking them, I felt I needed them more and more. Do they make you feel unwell?

    I can definitely relate to an addiction to weighing and my life was also ruled by the numbers I saw. I would weigh in stones, kilos and pounds, calculate my BMI, several times a day. I've had to stop weighing too, and it is actually such a relief to only get weighed once a week in the clinic. Do you find it better only getting weighed once a week too?

    Definitely addicted to the internet!

    I can't stand tea, but am addicted to coffee and its caffeine goodness!

    I would say I'm also addicted to my hobbies - I go through phases for example it will be painting for a few weeks, then playing the piano and singing, then baking - just anything that I can lose myself in and not have to think about the outside world. I think exercise would come into this part too.

    I'm trying to decide whether these addictions are good or bad...can't decide!

    Thanks for writing such an interesting post! Xx

  4. I do have safe and unsafe foods.
    Unsafe are mostly carbohydrates and safe are usually things like soup and vegetables although it can change.

    Yes diet pills made me feel very unwell, that's mainly why I stopped taking them.

    I can relate to the obsession about weighing, it's a relief for me too only to be weighed once a week.
    And the exercise is a pain in the ass, I hate feeling like I have to do this and I'm trying to cut down.

    Thanks for your comment x

  5. Hi Ruby, interesting point you make!
    Yep, I think we are all addicts for sure, in different ways. I think a lot of us, me included, are addicted to certain emotions and emotional states. I crave attention - well not attention per se - but recognition, acknowledgement. I revel in feedback and praise from people - mostly where my writing and work is concerned, and when it isn't forthcoming, I suffer the classic withdrawal symptoms: cranky and disgruntled, feeling not worthy and insignificant and low and lowly... It's very like a drug I suppose, it makes me high when it's there, but when it's not, things seem all grey as opposed to coloured...
    But I've learned (and am learning) to do things for myself now and appreciate my own feedback - that is the most important after all! And slowly, the hold this craving has on me, is loosening...
    You're lucky you're not addicted to coffee! It's an unbreakable addiction. Tea is the much benevolent alternative :)
    ps/ Did you go to your writing course yet? I hope you're enjoying it!

    ~Siobhán :)

    1. Hey Siobhan, no I didn't go to the writers group but I am on them lookout for another one.

      Love to you x

  6. Oh I did I mention - Facebook (logged on all the time!), chocolate, all kinds of sugar highs, sun, books (can't stop buying them, even when the reading to buying ratio is low) and worst of all maybe - unavailable men!!! :(

  7. Omg, we should have an international roller derby team. It should happen. I've been fascinated ever since I saw Whip It wit Ellen Page. It should totally happen one day, if I ever learn how to skate lol. Um. I can't say I've ever had an addiction, but I'm one of those people once I start something I'm scared I'm going to get addicted so I cut back before I get to that point. Like..drinking, over the summer I felt like I had a problem, but it wasnt an addiction. My friend joked that she thought I was becoming an exercise addict, but idk. Maybe? I've known addicts, so maybe its what keeps me from crossing the line. If its an addictive thing, I tend to experiment or occasionally use it instead of fuel blown omgni need this.

    Love you hon. Hope this week is going well and the more regular eating helps..

    1. Thanks sweetie, this week has been not too bad

      Love you too x

  8. I've never thought about it before, but I guess that I probably do have a very addictive personality too... I've never had alcohol (not really) and I'm actually terrified of drinking it. I've thought about drugs when I was planning on killing myself, I guess it was mainly the idea of not caring.
    So here is my list of addictions:
    The feel of hunger
    Scratching myself - to the point I'm bleeding
    Diet Pills - I've run out and its killing me
    My phone
    Tea and Coffee
    Being cold
    Make up
    Tweezing my eyebrows - its like the first thing I do when I wake up
    Weighing myself

    1. I can relate to almost everyone of those
      It's scary how quickly we can become addicted

      Stay strong x

  9. Yes I do think we are all addicts, whether we realize it or not, everyone has that one (or more) thing that we couldn't live without or obsess over/with.
    I must say there is something beautiful here with everyone admitting their addictions, quite humbling. Thank you all it's a brave thing to do.
    As for me: self injury, drinking, ED/unhealthy relationship with food, and I'm sure much more.

    Hope you are doing well x

  10. Thanks Melrose, you're right it is great the way everyone confessed their addictions x

  11. Yup,think you've answered the question - most likely we are all addicts in some way or another I swear.It's just more obvious in some people than others ;)

    Loved this blog,might do something similar myself!The titles made me smile almost :)

    All the best sugarplum :)

    Yvonne X

  12. Hello Ruby,

    thanks fpr the tip about the bbc documentary. As a total internet/tv/documentary addict, I'm always happy about good suggestions. Even at 4 am on a sunday.=)

    As to addiction, I think I'm mainly addicted to self-destruction, in one way or the other.


  13. Your welcome, it's well worth watching especially at 4am on a Sunday x

  14. I love this post as well. I find that I can easily become obsessed with something. It doesn't matter if it is drinking tea or alcohol or smoking a pack of cigarettes, if I decide that is what we are doing this month, then there is no stopping me.

    This semester I have been on an exercise binge. I exercise everyday and night. I just can't seem to get enough of it. You asked earlier in a post if I had been in AA for long. Well, I'm one of those people who go in and out of it. I'm young so all of my friends love to go out drinking, but I happen to drink throughout my days as well. I try to ease past pain and purge my insides of demons or something I'm sure. (I really don't have a demon in me).

    Habits are extremely hard to break. Right now I'm eating cereal and drinking tea. It's good and I have decided that this month I will eat mainly cereal and take my vitamins. Next month I might be on another kick. I'm always trying to do something to improve myself. Even if what I'm doing doesn't look like it on the outside. The root of most of my desires begin with self-improvement and then morph into something that is a habit hard to break. It's like a bad boyfriend (you can never seem to get rid of him). Then you find a good one and you scare him off! I don't know how that seems to happen. Maybe it just happens to me.

    Sorry for rambling, I just really liked the post. Hope your day continues well and that you are able to stay strong through everything. We are all strong deep down, sometimes it's just hard to see it in our reflections.


Thank you for leaving some love x