Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Addictive personality? I'm hooked!

I’m sure the existence of ‘addictive personality syndrome’ is still being hotly debated, and given the fact I did study three years for a psychology/sociology degree (with a view to working with substance misusers/ex-offenders) this is an area that is extremely interesting to me. Moreover it is personally quite important to me because I firmly believe that I fit into the category of ‘sufferer’ in so much as I suffer from the poor decisions I make. For as long as I can remember I have felt the need to push the boundaries of anything in which I become involved. This has led me into subsisting on the boundaries of social acceptability in so many different ways. Let me give a few examples, relevant to the title of this blog: When I first got into DJing I didn’t have my own decks, and obviously as a beginner I wasn’t very good, so friends that did have decks were somewhat reluctant to allow me to use theirs, not because I could damage them, but because they weren’t really up for having to listen to the hectic, clashing beats of a learning DJ. This is probably something similar to an experienced driver getting frustrated, annoyed and downright terrified by a 17 year old behind the wheel for the first time. This situation resolved itself fairly simply: After regular nights out (clubbing) we would go back to my friend’s house and eventually people would pass out. Not me, I would stay up for hours and hours quietly mixing away while casualties lay around everywhere, and like that, I was hooked. When I eventually did get my own decks I would quite often practice for 3 or four hours a day, every day. I used to spend money that I hadn’t even made yet, on records (now CDs/MP3s of course, as much as I love vinyl I couldn’t afford it!). Often I would get up at 8am and start mixing, getting so absorbed into it that I wouldn’t even hear the neighbours banging on the wall!

Then there’s the electronics: I got into electronics as a hobby while I was at university. What I should have been doing is studying and revising, and if I had I am SURE I could have got a first, not being big headed, but I am no idiot. Instead I would spend HOURS trawling the internet for schematics and for different projects to build. I would spend just as long ordering parts for those projects and longer still building them (badly!).  At the time my girlfriend and I were living in a bedsit, and all we had was a bed/living room and a kitchen, so most of the time she would be sitting watching TV, or cleaning the house, or studying, and there I would be, in the kitchen, hunched over some project or other that at the time I was CONVINCED was vital to get done. It is not unheard of for me to stand for 8 hours straight, no food, drink or rest, just soldering away. The house was littered with failed projects, bits of wire, plastic boxes full of components, not to mention my decks and all the records. How the hell she put up with it I will never know.

These are fairly innocuous examples of what I am trying to describe, a better example would probably be to discuss drugs, but given the fact I have no way of telling who will read this I guess I need to be a little cautious. Maybe in a later post we’ll get into that, suffice to say that I am by no means innocent!

Virtually everything I have done, and enjoyed has become all encompassing: I eat, sleep and breathe that thing, I obsess over it. I talk about NOTHING else, and if I do it isn’t for very long until I turn around the conversation back round to what I want to talk about. I probably am not painting much of a pretty picture here am I? Well that’s because I don’t want to, I want to paint an honest picture: I can be an arsehole, no doubt about that. Over the years I became a very selfish person, partially because I never saw the point of living for others, I only lived to satiate my own desires. Being that way got me into a shitty, horrible life, but ironically it also got me out of the same lifestyle. Being obsessive (or addictively orientated) actually saved me from the mess being that way created.

Now I try every day to control my addictive nature, not to get rid of it, but to control it. After all it is and always has been a part of who I am, it is just the fact that for a while it became ALL I was. Being that way is great for getting good at something fast, so long as the thing you’re trying to get good at is interesting to you (and that nothing more interesting comes along). And I should imagine that if you ‘like’ (you know LIKE like) me, and you become my obsession, for a while at least, it is very flattering.

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