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Addiction

Pick your favorite dictionary and you'll find several definitions of "addiction" that are best summarized as "the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal." The latter comes from Merriam-Webster, which also offers information about the word's Latin roots in addictus, a past participle of addicere, a word that means "to favor."

I like the Latin meaning. There isn't any baggage associated with it. Makes it easier to confess.

I've an addictive personality.

That's not a bad thing. First, I'm not an "addict" as we define it nowadays. No drugs, no alcohol, no smoking. I haven't fallen into those traps. My vices are subtle. I collect books, I like card games. Spending too much money on the former in the form of books too numerous to list and which weigh down my shelves, and too much time on the latter in visits to online poker sites where it's easy to kill an hour or two or more in free contests.

Nothing I should feel especially guilty about. Yet, I recognize both are addictions. Online poker probably is the worse of the two because it takes so much time away from other things. And time is always in short supply. Once a moment passes there isn't any way to recapture it, redirect your energies. Films like Groundhog Day or shows like Daybreak are exercises in fantasy. What would you do given a second chance? I think this is the main reason I enjoy Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol so much. Redemption. The one lesson instilled by nine years in Catholic schools from kindergarten to eighth grade.

But, as I noted, nothing worthy of guilt. Not if I'm able to harness and redirect it, as Scrooge does when he awakens Christmas morning. Because, intuitively, I understand that writing is an addiction as well, and I shouldn't sin by spending time in seemingly pointless pursuits. Buy a book? No, go to the library instead. Log into one of a half-dozen sites and choose between Omaha, Hold-'em, Stud, or Razz? Again, no, not when the time devoted to honing poker skills should go toward honing poetry and prose, giving characters reality beyond what I'd find in a house of cards.

So ...

Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm an addict. Always was, always will be.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
juliabk
Nov. 27th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
Think you've got enough chairs in here for all of us? It hit me one weekend when I was into my 9th hour of playing Black & White that I really get 'into' stuff. Odd how it's okay when what you're 'getting into' either earns you money or gets the house clean or something, but when it's strictly for enjoyment it's somehow bad.

Guilt's overrated. I see no use for it and try not to indulge. Besides, if I did, I'm sure I'd eventually get 'into' it and that would not be pretty. ;-) I'll stick to chocolate, books, the occasional run of video games and writing.
stevenagy
Nov. 27th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
Writers Pseudonymous
There's more than enough seats.

And your take is pretty much parallels my thoughts. Writing gives me as much enjoyment as the other things, but no one's going to remember me for owning book A, B, or C or bluffying player X, Y, or Z. Writing is what I'm wired for and acknowledging that is a good thing.
juliabk
Nov. 27th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Writers Pseudonymous
Now, if only the rest of the world would acknowledge that. :-):-)

(You wouldn't, by chance, happen to have a relative named Michael, would you?)
stevenagy
Nov. 27th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Writers Pseudonymous
No relative named Michael, sorry. Only a sister named Deborah LaVigne.
juliabk
Nov. 27th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Writers Pseudonymous
Ah, well, there you go. Nagy is not a particularly common name here. My local Nagy has a brother who "writes some" (or so I'm thinking he said), but I didn't know his name.
stevenagy
Nov. 27th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Writers Pseudonymous
Names are like cars.

Buy a white car and suddenly you notice white cars. I come across lots of people who know someone with the same last name and it stands out because of ethnicity. Growing up in NE Ohio there was a judge in town who had the same first and last name and people would ask if I was his son. Apparently, naming children after yourself was big in my parents' generation.

My father was kind enough to save from being a third and I ended up with a middle name instead. :-)
juliabk
Nov. 27th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Writers Pseudonymous
I married into a family where, pretty much, if you find a Kosatka in the US, they're related to my ex. ;-) Makes life interesting, to say the least. ;-)
(Deleted comment)
stevenagy
Nov. 30th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
Sure, Always a pleasure to "meet" new people. :-)

Glad you liked "Hanged Man" and hopefully, if I harness my "addictions" I can get some more stuff out there. Things are looking up.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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