Everyone loses something to an addiction. You don’t need to be caught in the act, reprimanded, or punished for it to cost you, because the truth is: addiction costs you something you don’t even realize you’re losing until so much of it is gone you can’t fathom where it all went.
Addiction costs you moments, minutes, hours-—maybe days, maybe more. By the time you add all the clicking and staring and viewing together. All that time in front of the screen, or hovering at the DVD store, or skulking near the magazine rack-—contemplating, debating, deciding to indulge-—is lost.
You don’t hear much about that in the discussions of addiction; people don’t tend to bring it up. Perhaps they don’t think about it, or maybe facing it is too painful, for it is a tragic thing. To lose one’s job or one’s prestige or one’s marriage is heart-rending, to be certain, but many people have rebuilt those aspects of a broken life. You can get a new job, rebuild your reputation, or even find love again. You can also make amends.
But you can never recover time. You cannot apologize to the calendar or ask for the clock to return your hours to you. The seconds you spent—-the hundreds of thousands of moments wasted in hunting for satisfaction that would eventually ensnare you and hold onto you long after you stopped wanting it—-have all been lost to the record of your life.
I try not to dwell on this, but when I do, I cannot help but consider what might have been if I simply had spent those minutes in better pursuits. What books might I have read (or written)? What conversations might I have had (or heard)? What sleep might I have gotten when I desperately needed it or what experience might I have embraced?
But none of that matters, really does it? Because all of those moments could have been wasted in countless other ways. That’s true. But they weren’t. They weren’t even lost to triviality or frivolousness. They were not cast away to the careless misgivings of youth. No, they were spent forging the chains of my own prison, serving a sentence to which all addicts condemn themselves.
So this holiday season, when we’re expending so much of our thoughts and efforts on understanding the importance of time; as we close out the final days of one year and look forward to the possibilities of the next one, let’s reflect on our lost time.
How much time has your addiction cost you? How many nearly sleepless nights by the screen? How many afternoons alone in the dark? How many detours when going on a quick drive or clicks unto infinity when you planned on just browsing “for a minute”?
Give yourself a great gift this Christmas: give yourself time. Why waste one more second? Get help today!