It has been a very productive week. Dare I say TOO productive? Is that even a thing? For me it is. You see, I have a work addiction. No, I'm not exagerrating or trying to be funny or cute, my work addiction is real and akin to any other addiction whether it be substances, food, gambling or sex.
In recent years my work addiction has spiraled so far out of control that I have had to seek professional help. I started seeing an addictions counselor and attending a 16 Step group so I can better manage my addiction. The recovery experience has been very eye opening with helping me understand the root cause of this compulsive need to work myself until I drop. The 16 Step group I attend has taught me a lot about addictive behavior and the people who suffer from them. My group is diverse, it's not just for one specific addiction and we don't even tell the rest of the group what our "drug of choice" is. I've really enjoyed this approach because it keeps the focus off the substance use and helps us focus more on ourselves and what causes us to engage in our harmful behavior.
Another interesting thing I've observed is that even though we all may use different substances/behaviors to cope, we all derive a sense of self-esteem and security from using our drug of choice. Work is absolutely my source of self-esteem and security. It makes me feel better when something is bothering me. It keeps me from feeling lonely and worthless. Hell, it even gives me a rush of endorphins to cross a task off my "to do" list.
My obession with getting as much done in a day as possible is a lot like a drug binge. I'll keep crossing off tasks one after another much like a problem cocaine user will snort line after line, and when I'm laser focussing and getting shit done I feel fucking amazing, but the problem is that I can't stop. Eventually I burn out from exhaustion and pass out. My addiction to work has cost me my health, my sanity and relationships. That's how I know it's a problem and not just having a good work ethic.
This past week I worked 10 hour days on the TV show. Working a 10 hour day for me is like giving a problem drinker a pitcher of beer and saying, "Hey, drink this, but after you're done, don't have any more." Feed me a 10 hour day and I can't stop. Feed me a 10 hour day where I'm working not only on a TV show but also multitasking by desigining graphics for Nautical Nonsense and writing lyrics for Borg Queen, it's like handing me a bottle of vodka and an eightball of cocaine and saying, "keep on going you fucking champ!"
The thing is, I've worked hard(pardon the pun) to achieve a managable work-life balance over the past year, but now with working these insane hours again I'm really concerned that I'm going to slip back into old habits again and completely neglect my health and relationships. I am however determined to check myself and continue to work on my underlying issues that cause me to overindulge in work.
One of the ways I'm working through the issues that caused me to develop these unhealthy behaviors is through the character Elanor Sharpe from A Bionic Holiday Ballad. I've written them to be a workaholic among other things and the film will explore what has brought Elanor to the place of utter isolation and bitterness they find themselves in on the Holiday Eve. Elanor is how I imagine myself in the future if I don't make changes now. Elanor's past mirrors my own and the story is written through the lens of someone who has experienced privilege in certain areas of their life, but also faced marginalization in other areas.
This week I incorporated the first two songs into the screenplay. The first song is called "Haunted Holidays" and the second one is "Love Is Irrelevant." Below is an excerpt of the screenplay which includes the song "Love Is Irrelevent." I currently don't believe that love is irrelevant, but I definitely have believed it in the past. Hope you enjoy this little sneak preview.