As I mentioned before, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the crux of my writings is truth. Of course, I had to start with being honest with myself. And that meant taking a long hard look at my behaviour.
I can honestly say, that whether it was the fruit machines, or working in the casino, or drinking every night, or smoking for 25 years, my behaviour was very much characterised by the incessant pursuit of gratification. I always had needs.
With drink, I always wanted more. With gambling, even when I won, all it did was feed my habit, and with smoking, I connived to buy myself the delusion that it eased my stresses and strains, when in fact it probably created them.
The root causes of my addictive behaviour patterns, were many. A lack of understanding. Or a denial of the problem. Or a lack of awareness about confronting the reasons why I chose to harm myself and delude myself.
The first time I really listened to the lyrics to the song "Manic Depression" by Jimi Hendrix, I knew this was something that affected me. I say affected, rather than afflicted, because I was self-diagnosed rather than committed to any institution.
Then, when I was at Uni in Leeds and studied what they called "Abnormal Psychology", I recall a lot of the course content and material was concerning subjects who had been suffering from a list of conditions, such as anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, mania, unipolar manic depression, bipolar manic depression, schizophrenia, and so on. Again, the symptoms of depression struck a chord with me.
Clearly, a lot of effort and energy had gone into compartmentalising people and their problems. But there seemed to be little energy invested in teaching a holistic approach to helping people come to terms with the root causes of their behaviour, which almost always seemed to stem from childhood trauma.
Black, white, gay, straight, fat, thin, old, young, rich, poor, I've met them all! After all, like they say, there's "Nowt as queer as Folk."
One thing is evident. We are all vulnerable. We all need healing. And there is no shame in asking for help.
It is a case of when, not if, that we need friends, family, and good people around us to help us bounce back up again when we fall.
Like Bob Hoskins famously said,"I'ts Good to talk".