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I am addicted to music.
Which doesn’t mess up my life much except for maybe my writing, because it’s very hard to write when you have other people’s words and feelings dancing through your head. But I can never quite seem to bring myself to pull my earbuds out. In fact, I am listening to the musical soundtrack of Newsies as I am typing this (no judgement please, I also have a bit of an addiction to Broadway musicals as well…but now we’re seriously getting off topic)
There’s a couple people who’d say that this whole spiel about “my addiction” to music is complete ridiculousness and that music isn’t really an addiction and how it’s very easy to just stop listening to music and blah, blah, blah…and I can’t say I completely disagree with them.
But there are also people who’ll say that alcoholics are weak, people who cut are just looking for attention and drug addicts are too stupid to do anything with their lives.
If you’re one of those people I suggest you stop reading this right now.
Because all those people are wrong.
A lot of people don’t understand why someone could get addicted to anything in the first place- and I used to be one of those people. Until something happened and everything in my life began to fall apart underneath me. My family, my home life, my stability, everything I’d relied on in the past was suddenly not there. My entire life was thrown into chaos, and at that point in my life the only thing I needed was something reliable, something stable, something that, for a moment, would help me forget about everything that was happening.
I needed an escape. And through music, I found it. I threw myself into learning to play French horn, trumpet and piano, and when I couldn’t practice I’d sit in my room and listen to people sing about their happy lives, their broken hearts, anything that would distract me from the present reality. And for the two-and-a-half to four minutes those songs lasted, it worked.
That’s all addictions are- ways to escape something; whether it be your job, your social life, your family, whatever.
My life is still a mess- hence the reason I’m writing this. And I still don’t understand why I didn’t get addicted to cutting or drinking or smoking weed- I honestly don’t. But all I can say at the end of this is that I get it. I get what you’re going through. Even though my addiction might be kind of stupid, even though I’ve never been put down or patronized for it, I get what it is to need an escape, to feel completely and totally overwhelmed and just DONE with reality.
And look, I’m not trying to make any addiction more important than any other. In fact, being addicted to something like music is far less dangerous to your health than being addicted to drugs or alcohol and a pretty stupid thing to be addicted to- but that’s not the point.
People who are addicted to things- whatever they are- are not weak. They are not looking for attention, and they are most certainly not stupid. They are some of the strongest, smartest people you could ever have the pleasure of meeting- and they are also some of the most private- because chances are, if you find out about their addiction it’s either a fortunate accident or because they trust you completely. Some of my best friends have overcome addiction or are still struggling with it, and they are some of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
In a way, we’re all addicted to something- just different things. Whether it be tv, shopping, music, video games, whatever. And no matter how much you try to deny it, you can't- because the truth of the matter is that everyone needs an escape sometimes. And through our addictions, we find it.