Addiction. One of the world’s most overshadowed social issues. One that plagues us all. 

All of us? 


We’re all addicted and/or know someone who is fixed on a subject.  Last year I decided to take after one of my friend’s new years practices. Instead of thinking of resolutions, I chose a word to focus on for the entire year. 2014’s word was fearlessness. I wanted to stop being timid; not socially, but with my decisions. Having that word lodged in the back of my mind prompted the inflation of an ego I didn’t know I had. It was beneficial to me at times where I would normally step into the shadows, but other times it walked me hand-in-hand to less than favorable places. Stupid places. Idiotic, angry, lonely places. Places where I couldn’t breath. I was drowning myself.


Because I was addicted to chaos. 


How? One can be addicted to anything if they lack the foundation to keep them afloat. 

I was raised in an extremely loving household. I was instilled values, morals and standards to live by for the rest of my life, but…everyone has a downfall. Mine was heartbreak. The ending of one of the most important relationships of my life wrapped itself in jealously, anguish, anxiety and most importantly, curiosity. I let my values take a backseat and allowed my curiosity to get the best of me. I learned to dig for negativity in already infected situations. I was essentially teaching myself how to suffer. I suffered loudly to seek the attention I wasn’t receiving. Doing so assured me that my pain was real. I was oddly comforted by the fact that I knew that I was worthy of more, but that it was okay to live in that moment for as long as I chose to. I convinced my mind that I was just someone that bad things happened to. That mentality spiraled into more curious decisions and horrible consequences. I turned on myself. Not because I found enjoyment in it, but because I forgot that I knew better.

Suffering from an addiction is one way to experience pain, but watching someone crumble beneath their own fixation is another.  Coping with it isn’t something that can be taught or learned from a book, but as someone who is both recovering from and managing with the addictions of loved ones, I can offer the following. You cannot make someone do something they don’t want to do. It’s not up to you to change the mind of anyone who has theirs set. It’s not your responsibility to remind them why they shouldn’t be doing what they’re fixed on doing. Whether the addiction is a substance, a person, an idea or anything for that matter, it’s not up to you. 

 What can you do for someone? Be there.

This is an ode to presence. Because sometimes being an active presence in someone else’s world is all it takes. Your participation in their life could be all the encouragement they need to love themselves as much as you love them. You could be their push to kick the habit. The example of the change they deserve. Their figure of hope. The reminder of all they have to live for.  As for anyone trying to change their own life, be present within yourself. My word of focus for this year is consciousness. You can’t keep dancing with the devil and wonder why you’re still in hell. Be present. Be change. Be love. 

Art by Mark T. Smith