I was cruising back to RD Towers the other night and listening to a phone in type radio show that I often choose.
One of the topics was alcoholism and several people were ringing in to talk about their experiences with it and of it. I found myself feeling sad, happy, grumpy, dopey and sneezy. Then I realised that I wasn't actually Snow White in a porn setting and was just sad and happy.
The stories were like that, yet I skilfully retained my outward composure and calmness whilst driving. I didn't want the public outside my window to witness the spectacle of a crying or laughing me.
Many of the callers mentioned the fact that they thought they had an "addictive" personality and that that was why they had become alcoholics. I found this to be highly interesting on several levels.
The first one is that I've always wondered if there is actually such a thing as an "addictive personality". Is it just another way of labelling someone who has a low amount of willpower, a person who's easily led perhaps?
I smoked from the time I was fifteen years old to a few years ago. I "gave up" now and then, but always restarted. Until last time. I stopped by using the Allen Carr method and I now know that, even if I do start again, I'll stop again. It sounds a bit mad but my mindset has totally shifted. I don't smoke. Full stop, but the full stop was before.
I'm not one of these people who struggles to get through each hour, day, week and month without a smoke. I just don't do it and there's no big battle of willpower that goes on, nor was there from the moment I stopped.
The thing is, when I did smoke, I was one of those confirmed smokers. I could never have been one of those people that many smokers envy, the dreaded social smoker, the type who can go out and have a few drinks, smoke a few cigarettes then go home and not smoke until the next occasion.
I was a dedicated thirty a day smoker, a wake up and have a fag (in english), a have one as the last thing at night type of fellow. People used to say that I was a bloke who looked as if I enjoyed each cigarette, by and large I did. Then I started to hate it, then I stopped.
My point in saying this is that I thought I had an addictive personality yet I stopped smoking without going through the whole battle of willpower that so many do. One of the principles of the Allen Carr stop smoking method is that willpower isn't involved. As soon as it was removed from my situation, as soon as I thought I didn't have to face this ongoing turmoil I was okay.
Also I've noticed that many people, and I reluctantly include myself in this group, choose to label themselves as addictive personalities. It's become a sort of badge of honour that we talk of as if it's bad, but the reality is we love it and subtly boast about it.
"Ooh I shouldn't. I've got a bit of an addictive personality you know"
It's become like saying you're a bit edgy, a bit of a loose cannon, not to be confused with a loose canon, one of those priests who puts it about a bit. To have an addictive personality equates to glamour, the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, people like Slash and Keith Moon. It never conjures up images of sad alcoholics living a lonely life and dying.
It's second only to people saying that they're a bit OCD about something. That's all the rage these days isn't it? The average bloke who likes Chinese food will describe himself as "a bit OCD about Chinese food" instead of just saying he likes the stuff. And also, while I'm on a roll here, it's actually more of a trait in women than with men isn't it?
Lastly this addictive personality thing interests me as, of course, I think I've got one, yet I remain unsure if they really exist. One of the things the chap on the radio said last night is that most people, when giving up one addiction, will switch to something else. In effect what he said was that addictive personalities are a fact and, for that type of person, they'll always be addicted to something, be it gambling, smoking, drinking or cheese.
I'm currently going through a serious asparagus phase. In fact I think I'm a bit OCD about it.
What sayeth thou?