Welcome to Houghton House’s new blog, which features an addict’s journey in their recovery from addiction, as written by recovering addict J.D.
Every week, he’ll regal personal experiences and insights as he makes his way through a life of sobriety.
Winter Has Gone
God knows what Season 7’s epic finale will bring (I haven’t seen it yet, so no spoilers). But I’m sure Game of Thrones will never be the same. Like in all the other seasons.
Remember when Ned Stark was like, “WTF? But I’m the main character!” as he kneeled before the chopping block, about to get a short, back, and sides? The nature of the show’s twisty-turny narrative structure revealed itself then. And, of course, GoT has since built up quite the army of devoted fans, moi included, who just have to imbibe the next episode, as it happens.
Game of Thrones is basically TV crack. If you smoke that sherbet, you’re going to have more.
Reminds me of active addiction, obviously, where I had to play head-games with myself just not to take another hit of white gold. “Save it for later.” “Make it last.” “Don’t sell your child into slavery quite yet.” These are the kind of conversations I used to have with myself.
Thanks to Houghton House, now the only white thing I chase is Jon Snow. Totes hot.
Fortunately, my nasal passageways aren’t under assault by white walkers any more, since my time in Houghton House taught me a few important things:
Rule 1. Don’t use.
Rule 2. Don’t f’ing use, ever!
Rule 2. is especially helpful to me, as I’m one of those addicts who needs to be swatted around the cranium a few times for the message to sunk in. It’s now been close to a year since I walked out Houghton’s gate a free man. And by free, I mean, don’t count decadent desserts, video games, or Tinder. Nor, obviously, binge watching my favourite TV shows.
Because I know I can’t control my addiction. It’s like the KGB. In Mother Russia, Addiction control you. And in everywhere else. Even Westeros, and this isn’t a spoiler I promise, Tyrion WILL eventually die of a sexually transmitted disease. Or liver failure. Let that be a lesson to you. Oh, he’s having fun now, but just wait until he’s on his deathbed, moaning, ‘My little Tyrion is burning hotter than wildfire!’
Which reminds me. If you have a sex addiction. And it’s getting out of hand (see what I did there?) maybe it’s time. You called. The H-Team.
They do help with process addictions, and if you don’t know what process addictions are, this is a quick primer: you visit so many porn sites, even your laptop has an STD; you game till your eyes bleed; Montecasino now owns your house; or / and you eat enough to create your own gravity well, then… you probably have a process addiction.
Different from chemical addiction in that it’s not external chemicals (except maaaybe with food) that are altering your brain chemistry, but a complex biochemical reaction in your brain ‘rewarding’ you for the activity you just did. And you want mooore…
Simple example: you’re playing Candy Crush. Every time the screen flashes with “SUPER SUGAR HIGH!” in pretty letters (because a random placement of sweets allowed you to clear a bunch of boilers), dopamine gets released in your brain. You want more. Just one more level. Meanwhile, your kid is still waiting to be picked up at school. And it’s midnight. On Saturday night.
But whatevs. They will never take Game of Thrones from me. I will binge if I want to. How would that go down in rehab?
“I’m in for crack.”
“Oh,” I’d reply. “I’m here for mainlining Lannisters.”
I actually started getting into it while I was in Houghton House’s secondary facility The Gap. If you know the show, you know the Starks love their little Wintery motto. Finally, after dicking around for six seasons since its promised arrival, Winter came to the show.
Winter in Westeros lasts years. Funnily enough, the same applied to me. 10 long years of Winter. And it snowed. Eventually, I was so frozen by my addiction, I started contemplating joining the white walkers’ army of the dead. I was so desperate for an end to my misery. I felt like the world was slipping away from beneath my feet and I was left to tumble weightlessly through the void.
Many addicts get to that point. Where it feels like there’s actually no point anymore. Why carry on? Still, a single, lone voice called out from somewhere, in the depths of despair, a voice I finally listened to.
“Ask for help.”
For help brings hope, and hope Springs eternal.