I wrote my first essay for The Fix, called "Recovery Envy," which may sound facetious in a soundbite but if you read the essay, I hope it’s clear that I don’t mean it facetiously at all. I have the utmost respect for those in recovery, and anyone striving to improve their lives, by whatever means. If you like it, I’d really, really appreciate it if you passed it on in some way. And if you’ve never been to The Fix, it’s a website “about alcoholism, addiction, recovery and the drug war.” Thank you.
I'm not an addict, and I'm not an alcoholic. But as offensive as this may sound, I sometimes I wish I were, if only so I could have a language and a community to help me deal with what often seem like out of control urges—a structure surrounding me to help me cope with, well, life. But there are no 12-step meetings for people who simply have trouble getting up every day, who feel hollow and weak and unworthy, but who don't gloss over those feelings with a single, predictable vice. Over the course of my life, I've certainly used alcohol, sex, shopping and food to help quell those feelings, and they've each worked, in limited doses, but eventually their effects wore off.
The thing is, though, my rock bottom moments don't revolve around alcohol, though I've consumed my share, or drugs (I've attempted to smoke pot twice, and basically failed each time); sometimes it's food, sometimes it's sex, sometimes it's shopping, but I fundamentally believe that the core part of me that hates myself in those moments when I'm eating an entire box of cereal, screwing someone I'm not that into, or buying a pair of shoes I don't need and can't afford, is the same impulse that drove, say, my father or grandfather to drink (both are recovering alcoholics).