50 ways to leave your lover: Declan Lynch’s tales of addiction


If you want to change the way you’re living and get yourself off whatever you’re on, ultimately, it’s down to you. Others may advise you, and persuade you, and they may take you to the river in their manifold ways.

But you are the author of your own misfortune, and only you can write that new chapter. They can give you all the help that you require, but eventually you’re on your own, kid.

And while that is not easy, it is the best way to be – if it happens for you, then you own it.

Yes, we’ve gone deeply into the many ways you can get yourself free, but we have done far less work on a different kind of responsibility that comes into play in these situations – a thing called corporate responsibility.

Indeed, you hear so little about this aspect of it, you’d almost think there is no such thing as corporate responsibility – that the makers of beer or whiskey or internet gambling, or the internet in general, are mere neutral observers of the game of life. That it is almost absurd to be involving them in these controversies.

Partly, it’s an ideological thing, this notion that corporations are free to do whatever they like, and there’s no point in moaning about it – it has become a kind of a world religion, this idea that to restrict the energies of the corporations is not just wrong in itself, it brings into play something even worse – the Nanny State.

Now I will not be addressing that very large issue today, but I will remind you of two words: seat belts.

The next time some cynical hack starts riffing about the Nanny State, just say ‘seat belts’ – clearly, some of us would prefer not to be putting on those boring seat belts every time we get into the car, it is undoubtedly an interference by the Nanny State with our inalienable rights and freedoms, but you know, it kinda works.

Likewise, the makers of substances and entertainments that are known for thousands of years to be addictive, are restricted in certain ways – they’re not supposed to be selling to children, or to be advertising in certain ways – but still, they always seem to be taking advantage of every loophole, always pushing it.

They’re usually in the room when legislation is being discussed; they form dubious alliances with apparently well-meaning bodies – for example, a study into the harmful effects of alcohol will be sponsored by the drinks industry.

They are relentless, and it works for them, due to that religion which demands less of the powerful corporation than of the powerless individual.

I am still being told that people who become addicted to online gambling are just reckless characters, and that the majority are in no danger – they should not have their amusements curtailed due to the delinquency of the few.

I have heard our old friend, the Nanny State, being used to describe efforts to regulate this phenomenon, though our own Nanny State has been sitting on legislation since 2013, making it a very relaxed Nanny indeed – perhaps even a grossly negligent one.

And we know that online gambling systems and other internet transactions are designed to be addictive. But still it’s all about individual responsibility?

Then again, we know how this stuff works in a broader sense; we know what happened after the Great Crash when the ‘financial services sector’ destroyed the world, but its leaders did not take the hit.

Individuals took the hit; the corporation moved on. Likewise, the gambling addict loses everything, the corporate bookie moves on.

We need to move on from that.

Sunday Indo Living

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