Everyone has things they are passionate about, things that make them do things they wouldnít normally comprehend even thinking. For some the vice is destructive, a chemical ďenhancementĒ that brings with it mind altering joy or forgetfulness. For others, their passion may be more harmless but all the same dictates their day-to-day routine so they can fulfill their ďneedĒ for it.
For many years my passion has been football. When Iím out walking the dogs and see a stone on the ground I steadily take aim, raise my right foot and aim for the top corner of an invisible goal. When I've realised I am chewing the same gum for three hours, I spit it out and attempt to volley it into the nearest bin. Now, given I live on the other side of the planet to the team I love most, I find myself staying up until 3am to watch their games. Itís a love Iíve accommodated for years, made easier by understanding friends who share that same sleep-schedule-altering desire to watch. There is however, one passion I have that is mostly a secret to everyone I know and love, a secret that I accommodate just as much as my open one. That passion is professional wrestling.
It started back home in the UK where I would find myself awake until 4am on a work night just to watch each episode of RAW and has continued even as I moved halfway around the world. A few months ago at work I drew up a three month rota for my team and peers. When we reviewed it and I was asked why I had placed myself working from home every Wednesday, I threw back a lame excuse about how I found it more beneficial to monitor compliance in a distraction free environment. How could I say it was because I wanted to watch RAW every week? Iím the COO of a successful company and honestly, I truly (perhaps wrongly) believe that this revelation would damage my reputation. Does it stop me? Hell no.
Which begs the question: Am I addicted to wrestling?
Slowly over the past few years Iíve started to notice that wrestling and, more importantly, my need to view it is slowly taking its place in all walks of my life. Some of you know that Iím currently training for my first MMA fight. The training, as one would expect, is incredibly hard and my body is feeling the effects of the now constant beatings it endures. I am currently dealing with a muscle strain in my back that, due to the location, requires the rubbing of deep heat into it by my understanding girlfriend. The pain is, to say the least, intense. Just yesterday, actually, it hurt so exquisitely I turned around and, without hesitation, put Jen in a headlock and DDTíd her into the bed.
Is this a sign of addiction?
Is it perhaps the start of things to come or has wrestling already taken over my life? I have a meeting on Monday where I will be handing in my 3 month notice. It will not be an easy conversation and I fully expect them to either offer me a new salary or ask me to leave immediately. No middle ground, as simple as Daniel Bryanís ďYESĒ and ďNOĒ. What if they actually do ask me to leave, and what if, when they do, I just jump on the table and start screaming, ďNO! NO! NO! NO! NO!,Ē? Or what if they banish me without full pay so that Iím forced to come back next week and knock out an owner or two?
Just how deep down does this growing affliction lie? At this point I canít even ask for professional help as, as soon as Iím asked to lie down, Iíd be desperately trying to keep a shoulder up. Or even worse, reversing the concerned docís hand on my shoulder into a crippling Regal Stretch. Even help from the closest and most trusted people in my life is out of the question as they just couldnít understand. Imagine the blessed event of my wedding day finally arriving, dozens of my closest family and friends sitting patiently in the church as pleasant electricity crackles through the room and everything goes quiet. Followed, naturally, by the strains of ďI hear voices in my headÖĒ blaring from the churchís shaky old sound system as I arrive topless, an obscene amount of baby oil splashed across my chest.
Really, am I an addict?
When does fandom become an obsession? When does obsession become delusion? Iíve liked wrestling for as long as I can remember. Iíve cherished it for few years, sure, but now Iím full on engrossed. Itís taking over my life at a hurried pace and there is nothing I can do. I mean, is it even possible to become addicted to pro wrestling? I find myself writing wrestling columns to people who are mostly strangers to me and wonderingÖ why? Why do each of us spend countless hours trying to appease others by writing about this ďfakeĒ sport, get annoyed when people disagree with our opinions, ďmark outĒ when our favourites do well for themselves? Thinking about it objectively it makes absolutely no sense. This is now my 95th column and honestly, what have I written them all for? What am I getting out of it?
Iím at work as I write this but canít leave until one of the girls accompanies me on my walk outside. My car doesnít even have a sun-roof, let alone a set of horns affixed to the front, so how am I supposed to announce my arrival home? Iíve lost countless amounts of sunglasses over the last few weeks as I keep give them away to children I donít even know. What if, pray mercy, the Boogeyman IS coming to get me?
Experts suggest there are three stages to an addiction, so join me as I attempt to self-diagnose, try to find the final answer to this burning question.
The Emotional Addiction
This happens when you get so involved in something that it alters your state of mind. For example, you may find yourself sub-consciously changing your day-to-day routine in order to accommodate the addiction. This variation usually occurs without the afflicted person even knowing they are addicted.
I believe Iím past this stage. Between having ensured that I work from home every Wednesday, perpetually catch myself sizing up colleagues and leave a Hulk Hogan-esque moustache every time I shave, brother, I believe indicates that I am, indeed, emotionally addicted to wrestling. The emotional side of an addiction, though, is the least worrying. If you love a television programme and are insistent on not missing it, that could technically be deemed as an emotional addiction, just as can missing a loved one or something of that ilk. Okay, so Iím emotionally addicted, but that doesnít mean that my addiction is a plague upon me.
The Mental Addiction
This is defined as having a physical and/or psychological dependence on something. Those afflicted with a mental addiction will continue to be involved with the object of their desire despite the negative or potentially harmful consequences associated with it.
So I guess the question I need to ask myself here is whether or not I am truly ďdependantĒ on wrestling. If I am to be truthful about this then yes, I am. Having moved houses recently, Iíve been without Foxtel, or the internet for those confused, and I hadnít been able to watch wrestling for a couple of weeks, up until this past Sunday. So what did I do instead as I had this imposed distance from the thing that I fear may be taking over my life? I wrote about it, made lists about it, was creative about it, taken bets about it, read about it, dreamed about it, masturbÖ *ahem* Pardon me. Paying that no mind, it would appear that, mentally, Iím addicted to wrestling. Again though, this is but one dimension of an addiction. Train-spotting is looked at negatively. That doesnít necessarily mean it can ruin you. And yes, since you asked, I am reaching at this point.
The Physical Addiction
Fairly self-explanatory, physical addiction is just that; physical. It can manifest itself in the afflicted partyís appearance or via their marked lack of physical self-preservation in lieu of feeding the addiction. Simply put, the physical addict is impacted to the extent that their physical actions and entire sense of physical self are noticeably affected as they fully envelop themselves into said addiction.
Itís with this one that Iím safe, with this one that I can prove I am not an addict but simply a normal fan. Iíve come to no harm whatsoever through my love of wrestling. The physical manifestation of my imagined actions, though played out vividly in my mind, are never physically carried out. Emotionally and mentally, sure, Iíll admit that it would seem that Iím there. That being said, it is only via affirmation of all three that you can be definitively diagnosed with suffering from addiction.
Two out of three, though cutting it close, doesnít make me an addict. Iím just your everyday fan, maybe a little too absorbed from time to time but, for the most part, harmless. Now, if youíll excuse me, I must stop writing. As pointed out before, Iím writing this while at work and, though my end here is impending, I still have business to attend to. Currently, for instance, I have 30 applications to read for a role on my team. I figure Iíll be able to read one every two minutes. To keep it from getting monotonous Iíll probably give them some sort of a countdown, too. Iíll leave my favourite at the top to ensure that it stays fresh in my mind, banishing it from the top to the bottom if another hot prospect comes along. I figure that whichever is on top after all 30 have been read will be the number one contender...