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Thursday, August 3, 2017

My addiction timeline.

Growing up, I became aware that there was a history of alcohol addiction on one side of the family.

My parents never drank, and I was under the impression it was to avoid triggering something.

I didn't drink until I was 21.

I partied like a normal person for a few years. I remember self assessing to see if I had an issue.  I didn't like getting sick, so I quickly learned to moderate, drink water, stop early etc. I am very lightweight and it took time to figure out how to manage that.

When I came out of party mode later, I was pretty impressed. No addiction. I didn't feel the need to drink. I never drank alone,  etc. 

I began to question all this "genetic predisposition" stuff and I was pretty smug for quite a while.

Then the social part of the internet geared up.

I don't remember myspace too much, but I did spend a lot of time on it. It wasn't really direct social interaction, so I doubt it was a real issue. It was more a creative outlet, I could decorate my wall, post music, look at boys. It was mostly self expression.

A guy took a shine to me and invited me into a group he and his girlfriend ran.

Now, I grew up in AOL chat rooms. I loved them, they were tons of fun. So I thought this would be similar.

Yeah, no.

This is where I first experienced people spewing false facts and untruths. People projecting, trolling and attacking. My autistic fact based brain could not handle it. I started getting into online arguments with people. Usually ending up with me blocking them when they wouldn't back down.

Then, something that never happened with AOL happened. Someone used my online profile to find me IRL.

It spooked the hell out of me. Suddenly this random loser that I just casually chatted with about video games showed up at my work thinking we were soulmates.

I tried to close my account but myspace wouldn't let me. I ended up posting a nude picture from the internet as my profile picture to get my account banned. It took over a week.

So after some time, facebook appears. I don't remember joining or the early days. What I do remember was posting constantly. Checking constantly. Obsessed. For years

My hand was so sore and my eyes so tired I was like a pigeon in an experiment. I got the the point that my right hand stopped working and I could only really see out of one eye. Still I sat there, click, click, click. A rag over my bad eye and using my left hand to work the mouse with the one finger that still worked.

When there wasn't enough new content I went out seeking it. I joined groups only to end up constantly arguing with anyone who posted something that was incorrect.

I'm not talking about opinions to be clear, but stuff like "my dog is female" when it has a penis. I'm exaggerating a little, but most stuff was easy to prove or disprove and I did not know how to cope with these types of people. If I'm shown to be wrong, I go "oh, my bad" and then I move on. Turns out that's not how most people work and I could not cope with that.

 Additionally, to their credit, most people do not have conversations that are just blunt exchange of factual information. Which is how I like to communicate mostly.

 I eventually realized I had a straight up addiction and a major problem. I would quit for days or weeks only to return and obsess more. I wasn't happy doing this, but I was so addicted to human interaction, so I kept coming back.  I wouldn't say I was lonely, any more than an obese person is hungry. I had plenty of interactions but my brain just couldn't get enough.

I eventually deleted facebook. It was a relief. I quit other social media at the time as well. I've had a few minor relapses on other sites, but I recognize it quickly and delete it. Instagram is the only site I've been able to use and not have an issue, but I don't like how much time I waste on it so I try to avoid it.

So, not so smug anymore. Wiser now, but certainly not smug

Good luck everyone.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thank you Mr. Mulder

 So for my first post of the New Year (yay! 7 years!) I thought I start with what I hope is a series of me writing down my thoughts about people who did simple things for me that had a large impact on me. Hopefully as a reminder to myself and others to be mindful of our interactions with others.

So I sat down last week and tried to remember what I actually LEARNED in school that I still use today.

I already knew that I had wasted a lot of my youth sitting in classrooms being taught stuff I had learned from watching PBS when I was 5, but I had never really thought about it deeply. Well, I finally have.

First off, I went to public school in Southern California during the 90s. I went to average to above average schools that were not over crowded or what we would call underfunded today. I Graduated HS just as the crowding and cuts were becoming a thing,

After some soul searching... I figured out that after about 6-7th grade I can't remember a single thing that was explicitly TAUGHT to us in class that I use today.

I'm not saying I didn't learn anything new after 7th grade. You pick up things just from exisiting. Tv, social interactions, falling down, etc. I still learned stuff.

 I'm saying that as far as curriculum, I didn't learn anything useful to me as an adult after about the age 11 from my teachers or school directly.

I'll preface this by saying I was in advanced math for my age, I was taking algebra courses at this stage.  Ironically, most of the math I do is making change in my head and figuring out tips. I was never taught how to count back change and just figured it out on my own. I learned percentages in 6th grade.

 It is borderline criminal that I basically I could have dropped out in 7th grade and not wasted the next 5 years getting picked on, drawing dragons in my notebook and reading fantasy novels.

Literally every memory I have of being in class in HS is me drawing dragons in my notebook and trying to look invisible. I'm not kidding. I would try to pay attention, become extremely bored and then check out. I was still acing tests. My grades didn't start slipping until things at home got bad coupled with me ditching school all the time because I was SO EFFING BORED.

So this is the last useful thing a teacher taught me and I loved him for it.

In 6th or 7th grade in math class we built this huge Icosahedron (think like a D&D dice but with more sides) out of PVC pipes and rope. My math teacher who was an amazing guy, taught us the difference between granny and square knots, so that the structure wouldn't fall apart when we were building it.

 I remember being struck with OMG THIS IS SO FUCKING USEFUL when he explained it....It was like a religious moment.. and thinking to myself  I WILL USE THIS FOREVER THANK YOU.  I remember being so happy, like euphoric. This alone tells me that perhaps I was already not getting a lot of new knowledge at this age but wasn't so bored that I remember it explicitly.

So I did remember it.

 I still use it.

A lot.

 Forever maybe.

Thank you.