Confessions of an addict

Published: September 25, 2010

We are so irresponsible and lazy, that we prefer using the cell phone rather than the hands free device while driving.

Over the past few days, I have started to observe things that I never used to notice. Breaching dykes, lynch mobs, people who are denied food and shelter, a trail of suicide attacks, spot-fixing allegations – the list goes on.

I became determined to figure out what was going on and why. There were various explanations but I couldn’t agree less with all of them – it was all about who I am and not about why I am the way I am.

Luckily , one day I tripped on something and fell. I found out that I have a short attention span, inhibited judgement, impaired memory and comprehension, depression , delayed reactions , depressed reflexes and above all profound confusion . But aren’t all these symptoms that are related to alcohol consumption and drug abuse?  I do not consume alcohol nor do I use drugs. So what is it that I am high on?

I cannot make or stand in a queue, stop at a red light, stop driving on the wrong side of the road, park in a designated area in the prescribed manner or stop myself from using high beam lights while driving no matter how blinding it is for the other drivers. My feet seem to be out of control while using the accelerator and brakes. I cannot buy a ten-rupee bulb for the headlight of my motorbike, I certainly cannot apply brakes while riding it.

While driving my hands freeze when I try to use the hands-free device and they only gain life if I use my mobile phone without it. I cannot stop dropping my kids at the school gate no matter how big a traffic jam it creates.

I cannot stop throwing trash on the floor. In the smoking area at work I cannot extinguish my cigarette in an ashtray three feet away from me and must stomp it out on the ground and leave the butt there. My bus needs to be stopped right before or after the bus stop. I cannot resist rushing towards the buffet at a wedding and loading my plate with so much food that I know I will never finish in one go.

The list of ‘cannot do’ goes on and on. What is happening to me? Why have I lost control over such small things? Why can’t I stop? I think I have figured out what it is – I think I am addicted to irresponsibility, not lawlessness, not lack of following the rules, just irresponsibility. And now this addiction is taking its toll on me.

I did not know I would become an addict. It started because almost everyone around me was doing it because at times I had to get somewhere quicker or because I wanted a few things to come my way without doing much. Sometimes I was plain lazy. But it didn’t stay that way. What was once recreational irresponsibility has become an addiction that my mind and body crave.

The very drug that gave pleasure has become a poison that is eating me alive and everyone around me.

I feel that I can overcome this addiction. I am not helpless. I just need a bit of rehab. Just like a drug addict.

The first step is to lower the dose, so I have decided that I will start with my out of control feet. They push me by cutting ahead in a lane of traffic and want to continue forward despite red lights. To started thedetoxification, I have decided that I will stop at at red light no matter what.

Just one simple thing, stop at the red light.

If I stick to this plan, I hope that soon I will be able to work upwards to regain control of my arms and hands, then my whole body and finally my mind.

If I can do this, slowly I will be able to save myself and the people around me. The lynch mobs will disappear, the match-fixers will no longer be fixers, there will be less robbers and less suicide bombers. Just by being responsible I will become law abiding – and will have rulers who are as responsible as myself.

If you happen to be an addict, you can devise your own rehab, start your own detox. My advice is not to do something drastic, do something small, gain control and gain confidence. Perhaps we can start something like ‘Irresponsibles Anonymous’.


Amir Mirza

A teacher and a graphic designer. After seven years at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, he is working as the coordinator of a graphic design programme at University of Karachi and is a member of The Express Tribune design team.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Umair Kazi

    I suspect we’re more addicted to shortcuts (in the name of efficiency) than irresponsibility.Recommend

  • Amber Khan

    The simple things you have mentioned in your article leave me frustrated on a continuous basis in this city. There are many people who voice these frustrations and concerns for incidents like these in their daily lives. What amazes me is there are no more comments on this blog but there are tons on blogs against America, Aafia, Cricket, Floods etc. I suspect that in the last 63 years through natural selection of our genes we as a people have come to accept mediocrity, rely on the ordinary and get by with lazy complacency.Recommend

  • Hafsa Zubair

    You have really hit the nail on the head. From the man who sweeps the streets in the mornings to the smug yuppie who rides about in his gleaming BMW, we all really are cut from the same cloth. Good luck with the de-tox; if only we could all be moved to take life one red light at a time, maybe we could even have hope for this society.Recommend

  • Ammar hasan

    The points that you have highlighted in the article are so very true. I hope we can change or I should say try to change. ]
    @ amber Khan, I totally second you on your points.
    The main problem we have is illiteracy that enroot’s all these issues that you have Highlighted in your article. What else can you expect from a rikshaw driver who has lived all his life up in the mountains and has moved to the urban city for a better life style. Recommend

  • Ayesha Husain

    Couldn’t agree more. Addiction comes in handy with the society we create. For a better future and for a better tomorrow- we should all strive “together”. True it is, “Slow and steady wins the race.”Recommend

  • Rahat Rafiq

    Beautifuly put together to justify who we really are. And even after we realise this, we are yet irresponsible to start the detox!Recommend

  • sarah

    “Just one simple thing, stop at the red light.”
    couldn’t agree more. change starts with self and the world around us is only our own reflection. the day we decide breaking the mirror is not an option if we do not like what it is reflecting and that we need to look inward for a change on the outside, things will become better.Recommend