My Top Ten Addictions of 2018
From the internet to coconut La Croix to cancelling plans.
Illustration by author.
I gave up drinking in 2016, and I probably talk about it too much, considering how many other addictions I've maintained and picked up since. Sadly, freeing myself of my boozehound ways didn't mean my proclivity toward overdoing things magically disappeared. 2018 was the year of many things, but for me, it was not one of moderation. Although I didn't find an addiction that utterly fucked up my life quite like alcohol—fingers crossed for 2019—I managed to go hard on things that I didn't even realize were habit-forming in a hazardous sort of way.
1. 'Words with Friends'
Third only to alcohol and the affirmation of people who will never ever love me, Words with Friends is the most intense and destructive addiction I have ever experienced.
It started out innocently, like so many toxic things do: A dear friend who was aware of my affinity for crossword puzzles suggested I download the app. "It'll be fun!" she explained to me—a person largely unfamiliar with the dark underworld of mobile gaming. "We can play Scrabble together, but on our phones."
It was indeed fun. But after dipping my toes in the water, I made my way into the deep end when I started playing games with strangers the app connected me with. My thirst for Friends to Play Words With was so unquenchable I did something I knew I should not do and tweeted out my username to my almost 80,000 Twitter followers. Suddenly, I had dozens of requests for games, and you know what, I accepted all of them because I'm a sick fuck.
I approached rock bottom when, per my screen time app, I spent six hours playing one day. Whenever I closed my eyes, I saw floating yellow tiles, the infinite possible words I could make from them. The next day, six hours of Words with My Insatiable Gamer Friends turned into seven. The day after, I spent nine hours playing. That night, my therapist wisely suggested I delete the app. There was no other way for me to get clean—I simply could not game with "friends" in moderation. I erased it and while I'd never consider getting myself into that hole again, I'd be a liar if I told you I didn't miss playing.
2. Coconut La Croix
I used to be a seltzer purist and think that flavoring sparkling water was an abomination. I even wrote a piece for GQ in 2016 where I explored my Lower East Side Jewish heritage via the art of water carbonation, along the way dunking on the La Croix–loving hipster millennials who have made seltzer mainstream.
Then I tried coconut La Croix. Where a cherry or orange-flavored seltz annihilates your palate with fake fruit flavor, the subtlety of coconut was enough to draw me in, and soon I was hooked. My boyfriend and I go through approximately 24 cans of the stuff each week. Regular water has become simply undrinkable to me. Its off-putting flatness disgusts me. I yearn for the gentle kiss of my sweet coconut sparkler.
Sometimes, people tell me things along the lines of, "Coconut La Croix tastes like sunscreen," and I don't even think they're wrong, but as it turns out, sunscreen tastes very good.
There were not many reasons to feel blessed in 2018—Trump is president, the internet is rotting our brains, we are becoming increasingly alienated from one another; the threat of global annihilation looms, etc. On the bright side, it is now socially acceptable to wear a sweatsuit virtually anywhere. It's trendy! The celebs are doing it! Thank you streetwear gods!
I went through the majority of my life wearing tight jeans or dresses that were either grossly ugly or just a little too slutty, so becoming a sweatsuit convert has been life-changing. The thing about living in total comfort all the time is that it's very easy to acclimate to the lifestyle. I cannot and will not go back. I tried to wear a pair of jeans a couple months ago and literally biked home from work early to change back into sweats. I dread getting invited to fancy events because I don't know if my dressier sweatshirts still make me look like a scrub. But despite all that I am finally free.
2019 is the year I will turn into one of those WALL-E humans, and I look forward to that.
I smoked way too much weed in 2018, and I felt incredibly guilty about it because it's a genuinely bad habit. It'd be fine if I did it in moderation, but I am no moderate bitch and I have bad anxiety that can be quelled too easily by a joint. I'll give it up one day and look back on this blurb and cringe.
I loved McDonald's as a kid, but my parents hated taking me there, which was devastating. For my health-conscious mom, the food was unacceptable. But as my dad (a reformed dirtbag) recently explained to me, the issue with McDonald's is that fast food joints in major metropolitan areas are inherently depressing as fuck.
He's not wrong. But it ain't the 90s anymore, and I can order McDonald's on my phone, thus evading the self-abasement of having to enter into a bleak environment that might make me reconsider what I'm putting into my body.
McDonald's is engineered to taste good, and I'll always love it, but I did end up chilling out on ordering it for dinner multiple times a week. God bless my mother, whose voice I would conjure in my mind to rid myself of the cravings for those reliably perfect fries.
I'll never forget my love for Mr. Donald, but as it turns out, he tastes even better in moderation.
6. Guayaki Yerba Mate Sparkling Gold
I've never been one for energy drinks, but I love coffee and tea, and Guayaki Yerba Mate Sparkling Gold is like if you carbonated tea, then added a pinch of sugar and a dash of cocaine. The first time I sipped one of these bad boys, my heart fluttered as I was jolted awake by the caffeine rush, and I fell in love. Now I am numb to such pleasures because I consume between one and three cans of this legal crack every day. But I intake dangerous amounts of this substance in a futile attempt to feel something—anything. And like any good cult member, I have converted multiple friends into sparkling gold addicts.
This is not an easy beverage to find. A bodega by my apartment used to sell it, but now only carries inferior Guayaki sparkling flavors like cranberry pomegrante (yuck) and grapefruit ginger (which sounds cooler and more interesting than it tastes). Whole Foods sells sparkling gold, but they are fickle about keeping it on the shelves. You can sometimes order it on Jet, but they also struggle to keep it in stock. Amazon is always selling it for an unreasonably high price, and while I'm usually glad to hand over most of my paycheck to Jeff Bezos, it feels wrong to pay $36 for a case of 12 measly cans.
Yet I somehow manage to find sparkling gold in this world of trash I live in. I regret nothing about my intake. I'm drinking one right now.
When I was a 15-year-old dipshit, I decided to take up smoking because I thought it looked cool. That was the only reason. I coughed all the way through my first pack. Ten years later, I'm still at it. I keep meaning to quit, but then I smoke a cigarette about it and decide to put it off until next year. Since everything's coming up Juul nowadays, cigarettes are antiquated. Smoking has become a way for me to tell the world, Actually sweetie, I'm an old!
Before you start yelling at me, yes, I am aware of the negative health consequences of cigarettes, but I nevertheless gotta hand it to my teenage self—it does, in fact, make me look extremely cool.
8. Cancelling Plans
I technically became addicted to this approximately 35 seconds after I quit drinking and realized all the things I used to think were fun (i.e. leaving my house) actually sucked. As I continue to discover what it means to be Eve Peyser But Not Drunk, I have found that the people I am closest to are the friends who are at peace with my flaky ways and who also love to cancel plans.
I'm not saying this is a good habit. What is there for me to do at home, besides play video games while I smoke weed and drink a sparkling gold, then get McDonald's delivered straight to my door? These are bad, uninteresting hobbies, and I'd probably be a better version of myself if I just went to all the appointments and hang-out sessions that are on my calendar.
Nevertheless, I persisted (in doing nothing at all).
9. 'Tetris Effect' for PS4
I grew up in a no–video game household, and as a girl, never had much interest in them. I didn't know the difference between an Xbox and a Playstation until I entered a long-term relationship with a man who has spent the last two years convincing me to like gaming.
And I do! My favorite of the year is Tetris Effect for Playstation 4, which has the most galaxy-brained visuals and a killer soundtrack. "This game is relaxing!" I said when I first played. But after entering a comatose mental blur of endlessly falling tetriminoes, I realized I had a problem, and decided not to get help.
10. The Internet
I used to enjoy the internet very much, and then I spent more time on it and found a job that was like, "Look at this hell box for nine hours a day" and then I was like, "Wow I hate this" but I still ended up looking at it all the time, even when I wasn't working. I truly think online is making us sick and we'd be better off without it. I have grossly basic fantasies of who I'd be if I grew up in the 1980s and wasn't mentally destroyed by technology at such a young age.
I have no excuse for my internet abuse. Please shame me for it if you see me online.
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