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    Addicted To The Day Dream

        I am addicted to the day dream. I often feel less joy from doing than I do from imagining. The fantasy becomes my reality, and the reality becomes the fantasy. I have been doing this my whole life. An addict since I was ten. I am addicted to the fantasy of something, not the reality of it. 
        As a kid, I lived in a fantasy world. It was how I survived the crushing pain of reality. It allowed me to survive in the constant barrage of hostile environments: Home. School. Camp. I survived by imagining a different life.
        But I never stopped doing that. It has gotten pathological, woven into my cells. Like an addict who can not see how he could possibly survive without the drug, I can not imagine myself without this omnipresent mental construct. I feel it is Who I Am. It is What I Am. I can not separate it from me, any more than the addict can separate themselves from the drug.
        But how do I kick THIS addiction? Where is there support for THIS? I could be the only person on the planet with this addiction. Where do I turn? 
        For many years, the pain of real life was unbearable, so I created an alternative life and spent as much time there as  I could. So when I do it now, I’m doing it to avoid pain. I’m still just trying to survive. I still don’t believe I can hack it in the real world. Years ago, reality crushed me beyond my own recognition. It robbed me of almost everything I truly was and almost everything I wanted to be. And despite all the work I’ve done on myself, that fear persists even today. My fear that life, real life, with all it’s responsibilities and unknowns, will destroy me. So I avoid it as often as I can. I go inside and fantasize. I’m doing it now, even as I write this. Imagining who may read this and who may respond to it and how brilliant and insightful it may be and how I will be applauded for my honesty and my courage and my depth and my sensitivity. And as in life, I have woven the fantasy of the event into the fabric of the event itself.
        A part of me believes that fantasy is always better than reality. That is my core fallacy around this addiction. Just as the alcoholic believes, with all his being, that life is better, easier to handle, more fun, less painful, more rewarding, with the drink than without it. I believe that my life of fantasy, inside my own head, is better than the real world. Even though I have plenty of evidence to the contrary. Even though I have years of proof that life can be fun and fulfilling and magical, this core fallacy remains; Untouched by the events of my life; Unaffected by the growth I’ve experienced; Undaunted by the revelations I’ve had. This core fallacy remains intact. Alive and well. Steadfast and relentless. It keeps me trapped in a prison of my own making.
        A piece of me is fully invested in the belief that the world I can create, moment to moment, in my own mind, is, in every respect, better than the world out there. All these wonderful ideas and creations and imaginative concepts are better served by keeping them inside my own head than by trying to make them work in the world.    
        My necessity to create a world of fantasy in order to cope with my unbearable reality, however, also facilitated my vivid imagination and my boundless creativity. My response to pain helped me develop some of my most valuable gifts. My method of survival was to create something else. I created whole new worlds inside of me, and that’s where I spent lots of my time. It disconnected me from reality. It made it difficult to connect to others. It made me feel alone and isolated and different. But it also honed my imagination and my creativity. If I could create entire realities, within the confines of my own mind, complete with feelings and perceptions and atmospheres and nuances and details and everything else, then I could create anything. After making a whole world from scratch, an entire reality from the ground up, anything else I had to create seemed easy. So when it came time for me to create something, anything, else, I excelled. That ability was a gift born of pain.
        I have carried that pain and fear into my adult life. Most of us do.  I have tried to stuff and deny that voice by having so much fun that I couldn’t hear it anymore. That hasn’t worked.  I don’t like this fearful voice, but it is a part of me. And I can not obliterate it by simply over indulging myself in pleasure and avoiding responsibility. I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work. What I need to do is listen to that voice, that voice I hate, and hear what it has to say. Then, and only then, can I speak to it from a different place and tell it that it doesn’t have to be afraid anymore. I can tell that voice that I’m not ten anymore. As I have learned over and over again, my way out is through. That means listening instead of squelching. Because the more I try to shut it out, the louder it gets. And then it takes over. And then I’m in trouble. Like I am now. 


    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and an Alternative Reality of Wrongs) Reserved.

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