Roger Ebert wrote a moving blog entry two years ago about his experiences with alcoholism and addiction. He retweeted the link yesterday for people like me, who missed the entry the first time around. You can read it here, assuming that the servers of the Chicago Sun-Times can handle the demand. When I first tried to read it yesterday, I got a message that said, in effect, “We’re overwhelmed right now. Try back later.”
A great line out of the piece is this: “You take the first drink. The second drink takes itself.” I’ve been fortunate not to suffer from alcoholism, but I understand the idea of compulsive behavior.
The biggest addiction in my life was to smoking. I smoked a pack and a half a day during my college years. I took a nap the Sunday after I graduated, woke up and decided to quit. Three days later I drove from Chicago to New York with a friend who smoked like a chimney. I figured if I could get through that trip without smoking, I could get through anything. It worked. In effect, I quit cold turkey.
Lay’s potato chips knew it was making a bet it couldn’t lose with the commercial you see above: “Betcha can’t eat just one.” I’ve lost that bet on many occasions. I’m fortunate, however, not to suffer from constant food cravings.
My near addiction today is to the Internet. It can be a huge time waster for me. One link leads to another, and then another, and before long, a legitimate search for facts and information has deteriorated into a link feeding frenzy. The discipline of having deadlines and people counting on me – and the fear of failure – keeps me from falling into the abyss.
What about you? What addictions and compulsions do you fight, and how do you overcome them? Roger Ebert found the way out of his alcoholism through Alcoholics Anonymous. How do you overcome the temptations you face to pull you off course?
You might want to check out one of the sites below if you’re in need of help:
- Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Overeaters Anonymous.
- Gamblers Anonymous.
- Rehab Center.
- The Menninger Clinic (treats a variety of addictions).
- The Recovery Village.