Not too far from my home, is an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting house. They have several meetings a day. I would guess ten to twelve (the house is large enough to accommodate). I regularly observe the people coming, going, mingling outside on the porch between meetings. They’re from all walks of life. They are all at various steps of dealing with their addiction to alcohol. No matter who you are, step one is always the hardest and most important. Believe me, I get that and have a lot of respect for it.
That said, I often wonder as I see them – almost as a rule – chain smoking, downing cup after cup of coffee, chatting endlessly on their mobile phone, if they are merely confronting the one addiction that was causing the most problem, and ignoring the others that are not. Have they really confronted the real problem? The problem of addiction itself? And by confronting and applying the steps to that core problem would it be successful in not only the battle with alcohol but in countless other ways? Have they really done “step one”?
I’m starting to wonder about the numerous applications one can now buy to help with “focus”. There are many of these I have covered here before. Heck, there are many that I use myself. I’m using one right now. That said, am I really curing the root of the problem? Am I simply replacing it with new ones? Would working on the root of the issue eradicate my need for an application like Writeroom when I find even my Desktop too much to handle? Have I really done “step one”?
Don’t get me wrong, I know that these root problems are much harder to tackle. I know that, on the surface, throwing down a fiver on something that will help seems like the right thing to do. But pretending that will cure the real problem, and in many cases not simply replace it with others, is the same as the chain smoking, coffee swilling alcoholic who claims he has dealt with his addiction because of the color of coin in his pocket.
“Hi. My name is Patrick. I have no self control.”
See? Step one. Where’s my medallion?
See also: On distraction and virtual crutches « The Quillink Observer – A similarly themed and introspective post that was brought to my attention in the middle of writing this one.