The Highs & Lows Of My Addictions.
The first low addiction I can recall having was to Coca Cola. I was in my early teens and caddied at a country club in Fort Erie, called Eriedowns.
There was a lot of waiting involved, which meant a lot of sitting around in the proverbial caddy shack playing cards, reading comics, shooting the shit and drinking soft drinks, because it was summer and the shack was not what you would call a deluxe accommodation. Coca Cola was my drug of choice.
This was long before the days of ‘diet’ anything, and what you got with Coke was a sold hit of caffeine and sugar that pretty much blasted your young brains out.
My next low addiction was nicotine. I smoked from the time I was about 14 until I got married to a girl who was violently allergic to cigarette smoke, at age 25. It was complete with all the cold turkey failures, and self-loating than any addict feels, but was finally conquered by an elaborate 6 month long scheme, to wean myself off them.
This is something that worked well for me right out of the gate, since I have never had a cigarette since, although I did go through quite a long period where, in my dreams, I was always smoking. Some of the dreams were so vivid there were times when I looked back on them and actually thought they were real.
After that my addictions became rather minor. I did smoke a good deal of weed in the 70s and 80s, but always believed that if you were stoned all the time, it would then become your reality and the price you would pay for relinquishing your brain to that state was measured in the amount of control you actually had. So since I never really got ‘all in’ with the herb, I never considered it an addiction, really more of a leisure time activity, which I eventually phased out.
I have had various minor league addictions, mostly to foods like Harvey’s hamburgers, Souvlaki dinners from a great Afghani restaurant called Bamiyan Kebob in Toronto, chicken wings for a while, and Dominos pizza. But these things all came and went and were kinda harmless.
The Most Dangerous Addiction
In my life, the addiction I have developed and am currently in the process of (very gradually, as it turns out), weaning myself off, or at least out of the danger zone, is right where you are reading this now, on social media.
I am not what you could ever a call any sort of social media virtuoso. For me it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, BeBee & Twitter, but mostly Facebook.
When I first joined Facebook, lo those many years ago, it was all the rage to collect as many ‘friends’ as you could as fast as you could. I never really understood the need to do this but I plowed along and within a few months had accumulated about 2500, give or take.
After few years of trying to entertain and be entertained, and being a bit of a conspiracy theory nut, I started to realize that there was a direct correlation between the number of ‘friends’ you had and the amount of time you spent there, seeing what everybody was up to, commenting, posting stuff of your own, visiting links and doing all the other shit you were supposed to do to be a good social media citizen.
A little while later, I realized that even though I had 2500 + ‘friends’ I would only ever see posts or comments from less than 10% of them.
I didn’t glom onto this at the time, but I was actually, and quite subconsciously, working my way up to some sort of cataclysm, which invariably happens with all addictions. Because at some point you have just had enough.
When that point came, it was like somebody kicked me in the ass. I closed my account, and got Facebook to send me whatever shit they send you when you close down an account, including a list of names of all the people I was connected to.
I stared at that list for quite a while. Then the next day I pasted the list into a Word file and began deleting every name I could not put a face to.
Deleting all those names, close to 2400 of them, was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. I could actually feel the weight of all that social media pressure lifting off my shoulders. It was exhilarating and a huge relief at the same time.
The next thing I did was open a new Facebook account, and send friend requests to the hundred or so people on my pared down list.
Almost all of them accepted, and I now had a brand new but much less time and energy consuming addiction, complete with 97 friends, all of whom I knew, and all of whom, knew me.
This was three years ago now, and since then I have only added about 60 people. Mostly friends from beBee where I post all my blogs.
Quantity Is Not Quality...On Social Media Or In Life
I guess that’s the moral of this petite cautionary tale of addictions.
By keeping my ‘friends’ or fellow bees (on beBee) to relatively small numbers, I am easily able to find out what’s going on, post a couple of posts, link a blog, check out an article or someone else’s blog post etc, in a faction of the time it used to take me.
Am I still addicted to social media? Yeah, just like the rest of us because if it’s anything it is completely addictive. Is it a big part of my life? Definitely nowhere near as big as it used to be. Does this bother me? A bit, but nowhere near as much as it used to.
So there you go. The Nickel Tour of some of my addictions, and the way I dealt with the lowest of them.
My advice. Simple. Have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. And for shit’s sake, get away from the computer for a couple of house or more every day.
We live on a planet that is amazing in three dimensions. But too many people spend their lives stuck in the two dimensional world that really isn’t doing much for them outside of feeding their addiction to it.
My Top 10 Favorite Addictions
1. Riding (bike)
2. Writing (almost any sort)
3. Coffee (one cup of Metropolitan Blend in the morning)
4. Peanut Butter (Kraft)
5. Toothpicks (especially the mint flavoured ones)
6. Reading (Mostly good fiction)
7. TV (It’s very relaxing)
8. Sports ( See #7)
9. Really Good Cookies
10. My Pool (Summer only, he said, sadly)
Hope all your addictions are as pleasurable as mine.
Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing
professional and amateur photographer. He has run his own business
(Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as
a senior creative person in major Canadian & international
advertising agencies. He is a communication strategist, writer, art
director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger &
beBee Brand Ambassador. He is currently livin' the dream in the lower part of the Great White North.
You can follow Jim
On beBee: https://www.bebee.com/bee/jim-murray
On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-murray-b8a3a4/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jimbobmur
On Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/y97gxro4