You’ve taken over me

Is it possible to control?

Paul Gascoigne is in the news again, did you see it? After coming back from the USA and a very expensive drying out programme he is back on the booze again. It becomes increasingly difficult to have any sympathy for him, I find anyway. The thing is we’ve been here before, with George Best. Like Gascoigne tremendously talented, also like Gascoigne Best underachieved; winning one European Cup when many felt he should have won more; Gascoigne famously injured during the 1991 FA Cup and the tears of the 1990 World Cup semi-final. It does make you wonder though, what drives them to these levels of self destruction. It killed Best and it will probably kill Paul Gascoigne as well. My father was an alcoholic, he couldn’t stop himself and it killed him too.

Can love be an addiction?

Alcoholic’s aren’t alone in their addictions, of course. ‘Trainspotting’ – first the novel and later the film, dealt with the horrors of heroine addiction in a convincing way and all too often the tabloid and gossip magazines are filled with some celebrities brush with drugs and alcohol abuse, but what else are people addicted to? Food, exercise, Candy Crush anyone? As a species we seem to be hard-wired to some form of addictive behaviour so what happens when it is another person you become addicted to? Not in a stalker way (that’s not good on any level), but when everything you hear, see or do seems to have their imprint and everything reminds you of them. The song that accompanies this blog sums it up well:

“In my thoughts

In my dreams

You’ve taken over me.”

It’s physical

You have seen the person who fills your dreams and you won’t see them for a few days at least. You know you’re addicted when as you drive away you start to feel a bit sad that you won’t see them, even though you’ve only left them fifteen – twenty minutes before. There is an ache in your heart, you know it’s not physical, but you can feel it all the same. On the radio a song comes on and you can hear them in the words, as you drive another song comes on and you hear them again. You can see their face, it’s like you are haunted – if ghosts exist then this one is alive and half an hour ago you were kissing them. As the day goes on this person fills your thoughts, you can function – no-one else is aware of this addiction and there are no outward signs (except for being caught mid-daydream) – but their face, their voice, their kiss, their touch, how they make you feel, fills your brain. In the time before you see them again the feeling grows and grows, it becomes more and more tangible, it’s electricity in your skin, it’s tension in your shoulders, it’s in the swelling of your chest and it makes your hands grip invisible handles. They are there when you go to sleep, they are often in your dreams and their face is the first thing you think about when you wake up.

Can you control it? Do you want to?

The question, of course, is does this fade when you are finally together all the time? The answer is yes, except for the wise who remember how this made them feel. For those it never fades, as you age you see deeper beauty in their eyes, more tenderness in their kiss and more comfort in their arms. For those addicted to love the power is in the addiction, just as it is in exercise or knowledge, because we can harness this and use it for our good. We use our addictions to better ourselves. The Gascoignes, the Bests, the Alex Higgins, use their addictions to hide from the glory that was once theirs; the wise use the addiction for the glory they find within.