This Is What Addiction Really Looks Like

Don Jon / Amazon.com
Don Jon / Amazon.com
In the dead of night, fueled by addiction, the bright MacBook Pro burns her haggard, bloodshot eyes. She’s never tried coke, but she imagines this is what it feels like: her body exhausted, ready to evade her and cease living, but her eyelids, heart and fingertips wired, running at high-speed on the surge of anticipation that precedes the moment she stumbles on an unparalleled eBay find. It takes all the effort her weak body can summon, but she tears her eyes away from the computer just long enough to peek out her blinds and see that subtle shade of aubergine, a terrifying reminder of morning, and thinks so herself, “This is what addiction looks like.”

Addiction is countless tabs taking up your computer screen and slowing down the entire operating system. It’s knowing, in your heart of hearts, that you’ve combed through linda*s***stuff’s entire eBay store — you’ve tackled it from every angle and filter imaginable — but still refusing to give your Google Chrome a rest, at least not until you finish sifting through the 47 pages (192 items per page) of her “loungewear and intimates.” It’s staying in, night after night, because you know there’s an item ending soon and you need to see the titillating auction end in real time. And it’s losing your temper when your friend uses your computer to merely check her flight status: “Carly, I’m going to ask you this once: did you click on any other open tabs?? Did you CLOSE ANY OPEN TABS??!!” Addiction is the inability to fathom a number too high for your watch list; it’s watching 183 items (and that’s not even counting your Etsy watch list) and still searching on eBay for more.

Addiction looks like this:

It’s bottles upon empty bottles of juice press. It’s when you become defensive and start making up excuses: “At least I recycle the bottles, okay?…Can’t a girl just try to replace all the H20 in her body with coconut water? Is that so much to ask??” Addiction is math; it’s looking at your credit card statements and seeing “Juice Press: $27” in clear, bold letters sixteen times on there in one month. It’s explicit, visible proof that your dependence on Juice Press has whittled down your savings account to a nub, and still deciding to go back.

Addiction is a form of detachment; you’ll know it when you meet it. It’s disengaging your conscience from your actions: as if looking through a glass screen, you watch yourself  forgo all manners, sidle right up to your boss as he’s working at his desk, and breathe hot, clammy air on him until he lets you take a sip of his ginger firebomb. It’s recognizing your pitiful actions, but not taking any responsibility for them or trying to change.

No — addiction isn’t pretty; anything that feels that good never is. And no matter how gratifying it may be, when stripped bare, it’s unsightly. It’s the wee hours of the night, when no one else is awake, craving and scheming for more. And it’s a splinter in your tongue because you needed a fix and resorted to sucking the excess juice from the coconut’s skin, of which there was none. THIS is what addiction looks like. TC mark

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