For the majority of my career, certainly while I was forging my way in the world, I was a workaholic. I would say that I am in recovery now, though I still have my moments. For instance, yesterday, which was a Sunday, I put all my core appointments into my diary for the rest of the year – when I am going to be with clients, both 121 availability and group calls, when I am going to be doing marketing (social media, newsletters, blogs, podcasts), when I am going to be helping a friend with her business, when I am having the day off (most Fridays), when I am on holiday (August and December) and so on. One woman’s organised is another’s nightmare. I am well aware that this was probably above and beyond. Maybe this doesn’t illustrate workaholism these days so much as being organised up the yin-yang? It’s only workaholism when it takes on a manic quality, where I have lost control. That didn’t happen. Highly motivated, yes. Out of control, no.
Until 25th September 2016 I was addicted to carbohydrate, but no longer. Again, I would describe myself as in recovery and what I mean by that is that I can fall off the wagon pretty quickly, anything with sugar will bring the cravings rushing back in less than a thoughtless minute. Historically my foodie addictions have included coffee, Diet Coke, and walnut whips. My friend Susie-from-Manchester, educated at Oxford University, found herself teaching a science class at school one day about the dietary needs of the human body and she was able to say that what she was teaching was not wholly true since her friend Judith lived, at that stage in nineteen-eighty-something, entirely on Diet Coke and snowballs (a sort of chocolate covered marshmallow, sprinkled with coconut). I am very generous with any resource I have but woe betide anyone who comes between me and my walnut whips, though I discovered that the ones I ate at Christmas weren’t all that anymore. Shame.
I could easily become addicted to painkillers but won’t let myself. I have sympathy with those who have developed an over-the-counter habit. Me ‘n Robbie Williams, we have the potential to be like that. Me and Ant.
Like the majority of people I know, I am addicted to digital. I don’t think my addiction is as bad as that of some I know, some I am related to who cannot put down their phones, for example. But sometimes I itch to look at my iPad in the middle of the night and I am online to a degree which isn’t healthy, aren’t we all? In a 24-hour period, I am more online than off.
My name is Judith and I am an addict.
The only things which have never tempted me with their addictive seductions include booze, I like the odd half a cider, had one last Friday at lunch, in fact, or a glass of champagne but I’m not bothered and Christmas Day 2017 was the first time in 15 months I’d taken an alcoholic beverage, the outcome of which was not good as it happens. And I have never smoked even one puff of one cigarette in my life, but find myself terribly drawn to smokers. I like addicts, I recognise a fellow soul.
I am frightened of drugs, including weed and haven’t gone anywhere near any of that sort of thing, thankfully. I am not interested in collecting shoes or anything to do with shopping, and I can take or leave gambling. It is very interesting that you can be an addict to some things and completely disinterested in others responsible for the downfall of so many. There’s an addiction of choice for any that seek it, or fall under its spell.
I am increasingly in contact with people who have addictions different to mine, none of which are illegal or lethal in any way, though people do definitely overconsume each or all of my three – work, carbs and digital – and I have come to understand a very useful expression since I have been contemplating my own addictions and those of others: relapse is part of recovery.
Fall off the wagon? Get back on and have another go. Don’t give up. We can beat our demons. We have choices. We are strong.