Maybe it’s the whole “new year, new me” vibe of the holidays ending that has me in a state of reflection. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m still dwelling on my own guilt or guilty pleasures of the previous year. But as a creature of the night, I see everything. I feel everything. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share those thoughts with like-minded creatures. So in this column, I want to share some thoughts on addiction that have been rattling around my brain recently.
And apparently, I’m not the only one. When asked about addiction and nightlife in our fair city, one 30-year-old recent Charlotte transplant from Las Vegas, Nevada, sent me an entire statement:
“The determination of party-lovers in the Queen City has amazed me. Where there isn’t a party, one will be created. Where I once wondered how on Earth Charlotteans got down, I’ve been shown time and time again that they get down just like the nightlife crowd in Vegas only missing some neon and more strip club choices … speaking for myself, addiction hasn’t suddenly been cured by crossing the Mississippi. A total misconception I once looked forward to as a saving grace – we all live and learn. I am so surprised to type this, and: I have seen just as many friends in Las Vegas and Charlotte be killed, kill others and generally live in a cycle of illness because of addiction. Contrary to my naïve belief, this sweet, Southern banking capital has no shortage of access or resources. And perhaps that’s the biggest lesson I have to share. Regardless of the environment, it is the person that creates their own reality. With every small choice I move either closer to or further from my fullest potential. We [Charlotteans] will find what we seek and boy oh boy can we find anything we really want … What Charlotte has taught me is that it’s up to me to create my own, real last call.”
If you’ve kept up with my articles, you know that I keep it real. I don’t hide a lot from my readers because, at the end of the day, if you identify with the things I write about, you’re probably a lot like me. Whether you have the same experiences or feel the same way about things I grapple with, something connects us.
For those readers, my headline doesn’t surprise you. I’ve talked before about the challenges I’ve faced, as well as the challenges people around me have faced, when it comes to drinking. Are you drinking too much? At what point do you draw the line? Why don’t you know what the line looks like? I’ve even participated in Sober October in the name of finding the right answers to those questions. But the truth is, in nightlife, alcohol is just one addiction in a long line of many that I see on a regular basis.
What is an addiction? An addiction is defined as the fact or condition of being physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, thing or activity. We all know someone who fit the term alcoholic; the one who looks like a zombie at a premature hour and still proceeds to grab another drink. The one who you can’t believe is sitting in the driver’s seat of their car at the end of the night. The one who picks a fight with anyone who will listen once their drunk.
There’s also the woman who’s heartbroken over a recent breakup. Or the man who’s finally accepted his divorce is real and his ex-wife has moved on. And even the person who’s lost a loved one too soon. Because, let’s be honest, an addiction to a person is also possible. And what do most people do when the person their addicted to is no longer a part of their life? Any and everything they can do to take their mind off of it.
There’s the recovering drug addict who chooses to drown one addiction in another. And the one who can’t do enough recreational drugs in the night to move past whatever trauma they’re trying to forget. Because, let’s be honest, addiction to drugs is real. An addiction to an altered state of mind is real.
And there’s the person who’s vanity will never be satisfied. The one who puts everyone down in order to build themselves up. The one who pretends to be happy even when they’re not. Because, let’s be honest, an addiction to arrogance is real. There are seven deadly sins: greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth, and pride. They are often thought to be abuses or excessive versions of one’s natural faculties or passions. Better yet, versions of one’s weakness to addictions.
Nightlife and addictions are often intertwined in this love-hate relationship. But whatever your addiction may be, the first step to overcoming it is by acknowledging that it exists. What addictions have you observed as a creature of the night in the Queen City.