Apparently I have a new addiction. It popped up this weekend like a boil. I was staying at Lauren’s and we were getting ready to go for a long walk on the beach and I found myself sitting on her couch with my hands clutching my cheeks like Munch’s The Scream saying, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! I CAN’T GO FOR A WALK – I DRINK COFFEE! I HATE MYSELF FOR THIS, BUT I REALLY DRINK COFFEE NOW – AND I NEED COFFEE BEFORE WE WALK!”
Have you ever started to say something you knew was nuts but couldn’t stop yourself?
Lauren doesn’t have a coffee pot. She has one of those low priority machines that produces an individual cup of vanilla flavored gnat’s piss. She looked at me like I was mad and said calmly, in the same modulated voice one might use to speak to someone teetering on a window ledge, “Okay. We can stop on the way.”
But that wasn’t enough for some reason. I wanted the ritual of a big pot of coffee brewing and the ability to refill my cup several times before we left the house. I felt empty. I felt desperate.
It’s called transfer addiction.
According to Harvard’s Dr.Lance Dodes, addiction depends on the motivations behind the behavior. “If you were to buy a candy bar because you decided you deserve a reward today, that’s not an addiction,” he explains. “If you have to have a candy bar because it’s solving an internal problem where you feel intolerably helpless, that’s a compulsive behavior.” In other words: if you feel out of control, you probably are.
Later, Lauren sent me this:
And I laughed, of course. But I’m thinking I probably need to see a shrink…
Today I’m not drinking because I’m transferring my addiction to COFFEE…
How come you’re not drinking?