The Addiction Arena
Don't just live. Live free.
"Why do so many teenagers, and younger people, turn to drugs?
(a) Because of peer-group pressure, failure of communication, psychological
dysfunction, rebellion against parents, and decline of religious values.
(b) Because life is difficult, boring, disappointing, and unhappy,
and drugs make you feel good."
- Walker Percy
article by LiveReal Agents Courtney and Blake
The economic cost of alcohol and drug abuse in the United States alone is estimated at $246 billion dollars. (Source: The National Institute of Health)
- and this doesn't even include the real costs involved - the misery, suffering, and waste that happens to the people involved.
Yet the "addiction-treatment industry" (or whatever you might call the organizations that treat addictions) is generally, with some exceptions, not in great shape. Or in other words, we seem to be in the very early stages of anything that could loosely be described as "the science of addiction." Many disagree on even the basic nature of what "addiction" really is, and even moreso on how to overcome it.
Sounds like a job for your trusty LiveReal Agents.
In a look at "the good life,"
one big area just can't be ignored: "addictions."
Nothing against relaxing, fun, having a good time - after all, "living the good life" is what it's all about . . . but at the same time, at a certain point, alcohol, beer, drugs, and so on, cross that line where they lead in the exact opposite direction.
This arena is about that line.
Let's kick this off with a story.
Let's imagine you're playing a game.
The object of the game is to finish the game with as many points as possible.
The "points," by the way, aren't just meaningless numbers.
They represent wealth.
Not physical "wealth," of course. They aren't dollar-bills or the things that appear on bank statements.
They represent what we'll call "inner wealth." Happiness, inner peace, love, feeling comfortable in your own skin. That kind of thing.
Now let's say one day you meet a guy. Let's call him John.
Cal is charming, hilarious, charismatic, exciting, exhilarating to be around. And not just that - he makes you feel charming, hilarious, charismatic and all the rest, too. And not just that...he seems to be super-rich. He really seems to know a lot about money and how to make it.
And one day he decides to let you in on the action. He'll reveal his secrets to you, and make you super-rich too.
Now we'll skip a few chapters, and fast-forward a few months or years.
At this point, old Cal has either directly or indirectly caused you to lose all your points. All of them. You might even have negative points by this time.
What have you gotten in exchange?
A pile of dust.
Just an ordinary, everyday pile of dust. And a gust of wind just blows even that worthless pile away. And it's just gone.
Your reaction to this: obviously, you would feel pretty ripped off by old Cal. Your interaction with him cost you everything you had, and more. And now he's gone, off to the next victim.
Obviously, this is a grim scenario. And every "addiction" is not "Cal." There are plenty of scenarios that don't descend to the level of losing everything you have.
And obviously, "Cal" is a made-up character as a bad metaphor in a terrible story.
But the idea that there's some way that life can rob you of everything valuable and leave you with nothing - nothing - to show for it...
Most of us at least know someone who has tasted some experiences like this.
Whether "Cal" was alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, painkillers, opioids, or any number of things, and the metaphor isn't entirely off base.
There seem to be certain turns of events in life that rob you of everything valuable in life.
But this can be revealing.
It can be revealing if we turn this trick against itself.
In the above scenario, there are circumstances where life seems to rob us of everything valuable. We've probably seen it happen with others, we've probably tasted it to some degree ourselves.
But maybe this exposes something crucial about the game of life we're all playing: that it's possible to lose everything. And your objective, therefore, is the opposite.
Does that make sense?
If it's possible to make a terrible deal - like your interaction with Cal - then it must also possible to make a great deal. Because, apparently, the game is about making deals like this.
This little segue is just a small fable to illustrate that maybe, just maybe, addiction can reveal something really important about life. Namely, that whatever it is - robbing us of everything and leaving us with nothing - we should want, and strive for, the opposite of that.
And the game is real.
So with that said, let's come back to our main point.
The goal of the LiveReal Addiction Arena is simple:
If you consider yourself "addicted" to something - alcohol, drugs, daytime tv - and no longer want to be; or if you just want to understand a little more about what addiction is and how it works...
The LiveReal Addiction Arena is a place designed to help you do that.
In this realm, there is no one-size-fits-all universal cure that works for everyone.
In math, you can start with a problem - say 3+2 - and once you find an answer, that answer works for everyone. The only issue is communicating that answer to other folks who haven't solved it yet.
Addictions don't work like that. It's not a matter of merely communicating information or even "answers."
It's much closer to a riddle that every individual has to solve for themselves, that no one can solve for them.
This seems to be a realm where every person truly finds their own way, even if they're supported by others.
That said, there are definitely good tips, pointers, signs, pieces of advice and so on that can help with the process.
We aren't professional addiction counselors, and we aren't trying to replace those.
What we are doing is working to gather the most effective tools, tips and techniques for overcoming addiction into one place, summarize them, communicate them clearly, and make them available to anyone who is interested - especially those who are in the thick of it - so they can arm themselves.
Many folks struggle with addictions come out stronger, clearer, and wiser.
Sometimes the right idea at the right time can turn the tide of an inner battle.
Sometimes, a few decent suggestions can make a positive difference.
Our intention is to do exactly that.