Dealing with my addiction has made me notice other people and their addictions. To be honest, I have worked in the gambling industry for five years. So maybe witnessing people gamble their lives away has played a major role.
What is interesting to notice is the people who are completely unaware of their behaviour and so cannot begin to deal with their addiction.
Someone who is miles away from the start line is a person who is addicted and is completely unaware. Nothing is wrong with them. In fact, they will defend their habit and may even become upset it has been brought up that they may have a problem. For gamblers: “I can stop whenever I want to.” “I’m only making small bets.” “This is how I spend ‘me’ time before I go home to the family.” For users: “Everybody masturbates, it is natural.” “You get the opportunity to see these ‘hot chicks getting laid’.” “Great way to get rid of stress and sexual frustration.” Insert other defensive comments here. As Morpheus from the film ‘The Matrix’ states:
“You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
Someone who is closer to the start line, is a person who is addicted, aware of it but has done nothing or simply quit. I tried to quit but it is too hard. I haven’t got the time. Insert excuse and defensive comment here. They’re fully aware it is bad for them and yet they continue. It’s not that important to them. They could become upset because deep down they know, they need to stop.
A person who is at the start line, is a person who is addicted and aware of it. They received real evidence that it is costing them too much and it is time to really address this. It’s that “holy crap, this is actually destroying me” moment and they start seeking information about it. It’s the moment that it has now made this become really important to them.
For a gambler, this could be when they have used their rent money to bet on a horse and lost. I’ve seen that moment on their face. Some just walked away. Some have walked towards me, told me they now can’t pay their rent and either seeked assistance or walked away.
For me this, “holy crap, this is actually destroying me” moment, happened at age 24. It was a couple of days after not ejaculating during sex, again, and seeking information about it online. Consuming explicit sexual content was costing me the chance to perform sex naturally.
It’s a shame that it took real evidence to persuade me and others that they have a serious addiction. Hopefully other people will learn the easy way.