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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.

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