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A Note on Addiction

I had another post planned. You’ll see several about this today, partly because we lost a great talent, partly because no one wants to talk about the fiasco that was the Super Bowl. There was hardly anything ‘super’ about it, only a few worthwhile commercials, and one of the best halftime shows in years.

At the same time, those of us who cared about the rest of the world learned the Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed yesterday The man who brilliantly portrayed Truman Capote and filled other great roles died alone because of addiction. It saddens me, not just because of who he was, but because of who I am.

I am an addict. There, I said it. Time and time again when someone utters that line on TV or in a movie, I say it with them. Some of you are on the edge of your seats. What is it? Meth, heroin, crack, even porn? Come on Lambert, spill the beans. Here it is: I’m addicted to being creative. It’s haunted me my whole life, and at times has caused me enormous issues and cost me friendships. Feeling alone is the worst, and I think it is what drives so many over the edge.

I realize I am not alone. I woke yesterday morning, Super Bowl Sunday, with an idea in my head, and I had to do something with it. Had to. No matter if it was my “day off” and I could “sleep in.” My addiction called, and not to answer would bring pain. Perhaps not physical, but real enough. There are others like me, and we understand each other.

The addictions that grab headlines are not the ones most of us face every day. Sure, in every crowd there is an alcoholic, a drug addict, and may embrace these as a way to escape. But escape what? For many, the cares of this life are just too much. For some, these are a relief from boredom. But for some, there is still more.

There are worlds in my head. Since I was very young, there have been imaginary voices and worlds in my head, and they call to me. The worst times in my life have come when I do not answer, or when I try to make my reality replace them. I cannot explain it to you any more than an alcoholic or drug addict can explain the need for a drink or a hit.

I can tell you an addiction to creativity and escape can cause others. If my needs were not satisfied in the past by writing or some other worthwhile creative endeavor, I turned to other things. They have varied greatly, but all have left me empty and feeling isolated. It was not until the recent past that I have learned to live with and control my addictions, and that I have shared them with others. How?

Writing and being creative in what I do are my outlets. Without them, I am useless. I can no more fight what I am than change the season. The key has been to learn surrender and acceptance. What I am may not fit the description of ‘normal’ but I have no idea what that is, nor do I care. Normalcy is something I will never achieve, and I will no longer try to ‘act’ it.

I am not dead, or suicidal. What keeps me sane? Simply this. I have stopped pretending, and surrendered to who and what I am. Yes, there are worlds in my head, but I am not alone. There are others like me. I am an addict.

Rest in Peace Phillip. Many of us, your fellow addicts, will miss you dearly.

Published inAdvice for Authors