Wanting What You Have?

Erin Schaden
7 min readMay 23, 2024

I clearly want what I have…I mean, I am the one that caused me to have it in the first place, right? I went out and bought it, or acquired it in some fashion…this life, the things, the stuff, the job, all the things…

So why does it so often feel like I want other things? And is there no end to the wanting? Will I ever be satisfied? Or is satisfaction some sort of death?

I mean I do want what I have…but I also have this tendency to want so much more than what I have. And so, I find myself reaching outward, all the time, and adding in things, and pulling things to me, all in some misguided notion and effort that it will be different…that I will feel differently.

It pains me to admit, like a lot, that I used to think that the outside shit mattered. And I set about acquiring the things that I thought made me more desirable. The cars, the house, the clothing, the hair, the accoutrements of attractiveness. And what I can see now, painfully clearly, is that while I did some interior redecorating and remodeling, I should have been way more concerned with the interior than the exterior.

Now, I have done a lot of interior work. I just never realized until more recently that this interior work, if done correctly, would really resolve all my exterior issues. I mean they started internally and then became external…not the other way around.

What is most sad to me is that I really believed that if I was thin enough, in shape enough, had the right clothes, the right hair, the car, the house, all of the fucking things, that I would be so desirable that I would be happy. I mean, somehow I have equated desirability with happiness. I am not sure where those two things got conflated, (I am pretty sure it was fifth grade, but that is a story for another day…) but I know that they did, indeed, get conflated and then I stopped examining them because I was on the fucking track of acquisition. And I would not stop until I was “there” wherever the fuck that is.

What I can see so clearly now is that I am a fool. A total and complete fool. And while part of me hates owning this, the other part is laughing her ass off. I mean, I really pulled one over on myself. And it is so tragically comical that all I can do is laugh.

The superficiality that I have failed to see operating in my life is astounding. The standard and levels I have held myself to, so fucking unattainable. Or maybe they aren’t, I just know that suddenly they are just so not important. Like at all.

Perhaps I am just having another midlife crisis. Perhaps this is what I am going to do until I am dead. I don’t know, but it is fucking interesting. This big reveal about the way and manner in which I have been living…being completely rearranged.

I don’t know what it means. I have my doubts about being able to change it, really. I mean how many times in our lives do we see something so clearly, in such stark relief to the way we live, and then see the work involved in changing and then change just enough so we don’t have to change at all?

Maybe you haven’t done it, but I certainly have…a lot.

And that is what I am coming to right now. I mean I have gone a long fucking time without a drink or a drug. But I have used so many other things in the interim. In fact, my life is just one long addictive pattern after another. And I don’t really see an end in sight, unless it is my end. And while it pains me to admit that, I don’t really see other people being all that different either, they just have perhaps different things they are addicted to…and then, not really. I mean we all have differing forms of the same shit: money, sex, attention, food, stuff, exercise, work. These are the things we all “use” to provide ourselves relief.

And for me, and some others I see in my life, it is just a series of whack-a-mole. We get the eating under control or the sugar and then the shopping takes off. Or we get the work thing going better and then the relationship falls apart or we cheat or we fuck it up in some other way.

I think when you are addicted, you are just addicted. This is the way you engage with the world. It is like you are just always running low on something and so the coping mechanism is MORE. And it doesn’t really matter, (I mean it does but then it really doesn’t) what it is you are using. Using is just the way you live your life.

And I can see that while I have 29+ years of not drinking, drugging or smoking, or really taking anything that effects me from the neck up, I have like 15 minutes of recovery where sugar is concerned. Sex and men is currently in check so that is some good news. Exercise is always up for grabs. I am either in this total regime and fucking living for it or I am actively attempting to avoid it. There really is no middle ground. Work, same as exercise. Shopping is currently in check also but fuck, I feel like I am walking a tightrope there.

What really amazes me the most, is that I have lived and labored under the delusion that I have been living well and relatively addiction free. That is the fuckery of addiction, is that you have a disease that tell you, quite believably, you do NOT have a problem. And so your mind becomes complacent and a co-conspirator in your own demise. What the actual fuck? If that is not fucking sinister, I really don’t know what is!

So here I am with all this recovery and I can see that in reality I have only had island of recovery about certain things. I mean, there I have done a stellar job and have achieved the seeming impossible, in that I have completely, totally abstained 100%. However, in all these other areas, where the line is not as bright or easy to draw, I have foundered quite largely and repeatedly.

And I have to own that the thought of giving up all my other addictions makes me just a little suicidal. I mean if you take away the shopping, the sugar, the exercise and the other ego building bullshit, I mean, I really do go to that place that it feels like life just isn’t worth living. Wait, you don’t need to call anyone, I am ok. I am not going to off myself, I am just owning that this is where I am. Which is a new kind of bottom that I can see is here to level me up to whatever comes next in this whole recovery journey.

What I am most amazed about and with is that I live in this head, in my personage every single day, and I still am susceptible to these great sweeping changes. I still can see how lost I have been along the way, when I was absolutely certain at the time I was doing great!

Addiction is fucking brutal. It is not easy to live doing everything alcoholically. Really. It isn’t. And it is often not fun, and hard and demoralizing. And the work feels never fucking ending. And sometimes, I just want to quit. To just let all the addictions have me, I mean they seem to want me so badly that they will shapeshift into whatever the fuck seemed in control and relatively normal just the day before. And if that isn’t mad fucking skill, I do not know what is.

I think addiction is like cancer, I mean how diabolical to invade healthy cells and then turn them into cancer growing ones? Isn’t that what addiction does also? I mean, takes relatively banal life things, things that everyone must do in their life, and then turns them into this ugly fucking monster that takes control and over everything else in your life.

I am grateful for the reprieves I have received. And for the new insight into my own current dysfunction and the ability to have some humor about it. I mean, it is fucking hilarious the con jobs I play upon myself…and I can convince myself of anything really. And that is totally terrifying. Because I know that some awful thought disguised as a good idea is just lying in wait to fucking get me. And that is not a fun way to go through life, but it is reality for all of us addicts. And I think it always will be. We must remain hypervigilant to the end because our minds are always taking relatively benign things and occupying them until they are now just another addictive pattern to add to our very long list of other issues.



This is bullshit.

And yet, here I am. I even write alcoholically. I mean every fucking day, really? Do I even know what the fuck I am saying anymore? I guess you will have to be the judge of that. I just know that the words echo in my mind and I only get relief when I jail them here, pinned to the electronic page, posted in the prison of a website. Held back and at bay so that I may find some relief. Some peace of mind within my own mind. Which for those similarly afflicted, you know exactly what I mean.

It is just again, still until we are dead. If we are really lucky, getting that daily reprieve from the shit that really fucks up our lives, allowing us to live long enough to see all the other ways we erode the evolving spirit within us by the worship of other things.







And that is the best we can hope for…a process whereby we can keep our minds from killing us with whatever stuff life grants us access to…a helluva a way to live. But at least we get to…one day at a time. And I am incredibly grateful for those moments where I actually want what I have and there is a gap where addiction once lived and reigned supreme. Those are fucking brillant days…all of them.





Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.