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Escape or Escapism. Wednesday November 27, 2013

We all have our addictions. With any luck these are what are known as "soft" addictions: that is – they harm nobody. A friend of mine has a particularly soft addiction – to cashmere. Hey – I can sympathise. But I hope she's exaggerating, because the point of an addiction surely is that you are no longer in control – your addiction is controlling you.
I trust she is in control of her cashmere purchasing.

My addiction was to romantic fiction. A Mills and Boon book was my way of opting out of a life I couldn't cope with. I remember once reading seven in one day. As an addiction it was less harmful to my liver and waistline than alcohol or chocolate, but while subject to it, I was no longer in control. The house remained dirty, the laundry unwashed, and my accountancy studies (oh yes, that was what I was supposed to be doing) totally unstudied.

My point is not actually about addiction but about escapism. Those books provided a place for me to be where I could avoid responsibility for life and the things that needed doing.

Most of the time, thank goodness, things are more under control. I still love a good bodice-ripper, and the bedside table is still piled high with books (and that's before we count the e-reader), but reading time is severely limited; most of the time I'm doing what I need to be doing, not escaping somewhere else.

We all need a place of escape sometimes, but that place only provides succour without danger of entrapment when it's scheduled and limited; when it's half an hour before bed, or forty minutes while tea is cooking. We need to enter that place with a timer because the air in there can be a slow poison.

A Moodscope user.

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Anonymous Wed, Nov 27th 2013 @ 9:27am

Hi Mary. I started reading your entry without a lot of thought but as when I got to the last sentence about a slow poison it jolted me because my addictions are affecting me like that. Thanks for sharing. I was very meaningful to me.

The Entertrainer Wed, Nov 27th 2013 @ 10:45am

I get what you're saying, Mary, and as always I agree and enjoy your posts.
I'm just going to play Heaven's Advocate for good escapism though.

I think this Universe sucks.

You and I and the family of Moodscopers are trying in our own way to change a Universe that just isn't good enough. While we are engaged in that often exhausting process, the more introverted amongst us have to escape to a better place.

I believe that 'reality' leaves much to the imagination. And often, I escape to my imagination to recharge. This is good escapism and not addiction - and I'm not disagreeing with you because I get the distinctions you are making. For me, the escape is an escape to review the blueprint - with a view to returning to continue my work as a transformer. (I'm not a robot though!!!)

But, I'd have to say, without my escapes (time limited as they are) I would surely die. I don't think I'm exaggerating - I would just give up.

There you go, that's usually positive for me, isn't it!!!

Anonymous Wed, Nov 27th 2013 @ 4:03pm

I needed to read this. I have this addiction to something I would rather not mention. I don't know how to control it. The problem is that I don't know if I want to corntrol it. But it makes me feel better knowing that I am not the only one going through this.

Julia Wed, Nov 27th 2013 @ 5:24pm

At least you are aware you have an addiction. That's a start and as long as you are harming only yourself and no-one else, then you have time to work on it. If you feel other people are suffering because of your addiction, then you really should do something about it immediately. I am sure it's difficult for you whatever the situation.

Julia Wed, Nov 27th 2013 @ 5:37pm

I have been out all day and had time to think about your blog today Mary. My initial reaction was that I didn't like the slow poison bit when referring to books because books, real paper ones , not e readers are so important to me and many many people as I guess, an invaluable means of escape. I adore books, particularly certain novels, authors etc and the thought that books or reading might be seen as an addiction upset me to say the least. I know that's not what you meant Mary. I think maybe there should have been a distinction between addiction and escapism as there is a real difference in these two words and their meanings as Lex is saying. I can understand the word addiction and your last sentence being applied to illegal drugs, computer games, sex, drink, prescription drugs and OTC drugs, even food or no food but never ever to books.

Anonymous Wed, Nov 27th 2013 @ 9:59pm

Mary this was so useful - having the distinction pointed out between useful escapism to recharge batteries, and when that same escapism risks becoming addictive. (My potential addiction is computer card games). Thank-you. Frankie

Julia Wed, Nov 27th 2013 @ 10:55pm

Hi Frankie. I haven't forgotten to let you know how I get on with my GP re. Amytrptelene (Spell). I just haven't been to see him yet. I feel fine on and off and am so used to the way I feel, I sometimes think I can just about cope with not taking anything, until I get really bad. Since we "spoke" I guess I haven't felt "that bad"! Hope you are getting on OK. This foggy damp weather doesn't help anything does it?

Anonymous Thu, Nov 28th 2013 @ 12:10am

I'm a recovering alcoholic, and I have to be careful about other addictive things. In my early days of recovery I cross addicted onto chocolate pretty heavily, but it didn't matter because I only weighed about five stone at the time. These days I weigh about ten, though I still look very thin. But I'm down to a bar of Green & Blacks a week. It was only after I got sober that I discovered that I was bipolar. My psychiatrist said I'd probably been drinking on the mood swings for years and years.

Anonymous Thu, Nov 28th 2013 @ 9:16am

Congratulations! Wonderful to hear about recovery ... my sister is an alcoholic and has been for 25 + years. Sadly she has never confronted her issues. I am currently in mourning for the wonderful talented sister that I have lost... I wish you many years of continuing recovery. Frankie

Anonymous Thu, Nov 28th 2013 @ 9:33am

Good to hear that you are doing ok;
I recognise traits of myself in what you say-wanting to cope without and therefore running on "near empty" reserves (which I also do with the car!) Just wondering about the possibility of you seeing GP, getting prescription (if that is what he advises) and medication - and choosing not to use it ...or, using it for a defined time limit (a week minimum I reckon) and seeing if it makes a difference ...
"I sometimes think I can just about cope with not taking anything" does sound to me as if you are struggling unnecessarily ...and does not sound like much fun.
I have had extra commitments this week and last so definitely running on empty - ended up in tears at work (luckily no-one saw) Tuesday ...
Day off today and an easier week ahead to regroup and recover ..
I am lucky enough to have a woodburning stove which helps hugely on dark, damp days - I also find candles very comforting ... and Moodscope blog is a godsend! No, have never been able to spell amitriptyline ..
Thank-you Julia and good luck! Frankie

Anonymous Thu, Nov 28th 2013 @ 9:42am

Hi Anonymous
Post below meant to be a reply to you - sorry. Frankie

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