Autism addictions are pervasive and extremely hard to quit. Here is my story how I became addicted to almost everything.
Why Autism Addictions Ruled My Life
So I grew up in Newport Beach, California, and I remember when I was four, police helicopters would be flying overhead at night, and their strobe lights or spotlights would shine through the backyard.
I remember being scared about that – that was one of the first memories I had. But normally I was a very outgoing kid, loved to laugh, loved to play games, and very innocent. My parents sheltered me very well. But I was also incredibly sensitive.
And when I was five, close to five, around the same time as the strobe lights in the backyard, I was actually afraid to go to the bathroom at night. I don’t really remember why that was an issue. Maybe I was scared of monsters under the bed or something but I remember being torn, because I knew the right thing to do would be to go to the bathroom. The bad thing to do would be to wet the bed. And I remember having a lot of guilt because I just decided to let loose and wet the bed instead of getting up. So that was probably the first memory of shame.
From then on I kind of realized that I had problems with the bathroom, holding the bathroom, so to speak, and I used to wet myself, and I remember sometimes I would wet myself at school. And, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
When I was five, my dad and I were going to our sailboat in San Pedro. We’re gonna go sailing or something, and I had to stop and pee. So, we stopped on the side of the road, and he got out with me and we were peeing alongside each other, and he saw that I was looking at some fiberglass, because we were in the boat yard and they use fiberglass to build boats and stuff. He knew that if you touch fiberglass you can itch for a long time.
And he saw me looking at it and he was like, Don’t you touch that. So what did I do as a curious young boy? After I got done peeing I went over and I touched it. And he just grabbed my arm. He just flailed me around like a rag doll as he spanked me super hard. I had never felt anything like that before and I remember being kind of shocked.
I don’t know if I made this up or not, but over the years, I remember getting back into the car and looking at the back of his head in the car, and saying to myself that I was going to pay him back no matter what it took, or that I felt like he wasn’t really my safe surrogate anymore, my safe father.
So over the years, that little boy who loves to play and laugh, kind of got knocked down because of his hypersensitivity. And so I remember when I was eight years old, I started to rock back and forth, as we watched TV, my family and I, and it gave me relief, it was self soothing. They call it stimming. Because you’re, you’re self stimulating, to try to soothe yourself.
And at the same time I was also starting to touch myself because I wanted to feel good. You know how a lot of Christians say that you’re a Born Sinner? Well, I believe that’s true because I had an urge to touch myself, even when I was eight years old, because I knew that it gave me relief. Now I didn’t go all the way – nothing happened. But, I was drawn to trying to stimulate myself from a very young age.
So back to the bathroom problems. The first really embarrassing thing that happened to me in school was some kids knocked on my bathroom stall and busted in, and I was going to the bathroom. They saw a yellow stain on my underwear and they started laughing they’re like haha you wet yourself, you wet your pants. So that was kind of traumatic. I was already embarrassed about the whole situation that I wet myself.
I’ve done some research on it and a lot of people that had really abusive parents also have bathroom issues. I just didn’t feel safe, I guess, and I would try to make light of it and play as a young boy, I would maybe I would forget about it temporarily. That, you know my dad had a huge temper problem. My mom didn’t want to stick up for me, and she always sided with him. So, when I was 12, I was like alright, I know I love music, and that’s the Asperger’s in me, music was my ultimate life. It was my escape. It was my backdrop to my imagination that I would let run wild.
I listened to music while I rocked back and forth and it was a great pairing, because I could just think and I could imagine things. I could stare out the window and just rock and listen to music. So when I was 12, I discovered Hard Rock, and it was awesome, because I would imagine getting the bullies back in school and started listening to really dark music and luckily I didn’t know what the lyrics meant. I mean some of it’s pretty dark.
But I had always imagined getting the bullies back and getting the girl, you know, kind of fantasies like that. I also remember just kind of like being by myself growing up, and listening to music and rocking and riding my bicycle in circles in the driveway for hours at a time, and I could just play with myself and imagine things, but I knew at that point, at a very early age that I was insecure. My low self esteem was starting to take over.
That little playful boy wasn’t coming out as much. I realized that I wanted to get my dad back for hurting me and that type of M.O. carried over to everyone I wanted to get back – the bullies. Then when I got older and had girlfriends that were mean to me, I wanted to get them back and so my whole life is based on feeling bad about how life was – how people were to me.
But deep down I was super sensitive, and I had a big heart. I learned the biggest weapon I had against people, I found out through therapy, was withholding love, that was my number one weapon. But in the end, that weapon turned against me because there was no one in my life anymore. I withheld love so much that I didn’t have any friends left. I moved away from my family. So, there was really no one I could seek revenge on.
Then I started to look at myself. I was like alright why, you know, why are you running; why do you have so much shame and guilt? And I look back and you know I counted at least eight addictions that I had over the years, and I got addicted to everything – because back to that eight year old boy, I wanted to self soothe. I needed coping mechanisms because I was highly sensitive. And a lot of people with Asperger’s feel the same way.
It wasn’t until last year that I self diagnosed myself with Asperger’s and autism. And it all made sense. But, you know, it’s kind of like 40 years too late. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that I was 47, when I discovered Asperger’s and autism. So, back to the addictions. I consider music an addiction, because I used to turn it up really loud until my ears were ringing and certain songs would do certain things to my body. You know you’ve all gotten goosebumps from songs and cried tears of joy or tears of sadness from songs. Music is very powerful.
So, the rocking was an addiction that was a, and then music. When I was 12 and then 17, I discovered alcohol and that was like a game over because it was magical. The first drink that hit my mouth, I could feel it course through my bloodstream, and I felt like I was immortal. And 17 years of stress and anxiety, just fell away with my first drink of alcohol, and I knew I found my magic potion.
So 17 was alcohol, and it was girls, and it was cigarettes and it was coffee. So I just added four things basically in one year. So I’m up to like six addictions now because I was addicted to everything. You know, I couldn’t get my hands on girls but I could fantasize about them. I basically was addicted to everything or wanted to be addicted, because I wanted to escape that insecure little boy who was scared.
I didn’t want to be scared anymore. I wanted to feel good, I wanted to feel alive – and I think alcohol and music were the closest things to making me feel alive. But it was kind of an illusion because those addictions eventually stripped away all those good feelings, it got to the point where I was getting drunk every day and it wasn’t making me feel good anymore – it depleted my dopamine. It took away my life force. All the addictions, all the running all the revenge. Nothing fruitful came out of it.
And it’s taken me 47 years to figure it all out. And it’s why I’m doing these videos and articles to create something with my life that you know if I could help one person quit addictions or quit stemming, I would be, you know, through the roof. I would be so happy – and this is my mission in life and, I’m talking about all this stuff because I want to just get super real with you, and I want to get in alignment with why I’m here.
I used to work from home. I used to have a couple of home businesses, and they weren’t. They weren’t in alignment. This is truly in alignment. Just being here with you guys, being real, being vulnerable. I mean, I walk around with this crap every single day. I’m trying to become a man, and it’s, you know, I just quit rocking 24 days ago I quit rocking on the first of January, after 40 years.
My home business was declining and I was like, God, what am I supposed to do with my life. I mean my home business is crumbling. It was a network marketing business that lasted for a couple of years and had maybe one really good year with it. And God said, if you want to do something big, now is your chance. If you quit you’re rocking ,it’s a 40 year addiction, if you quit you’re rocking and start sharing your testimony with people and create this new brand, that will be your gift to humanity.
Because as an addict, as an alcoholic, we can be very self centered, because we’re in fight or flight so it’s all about me me me and you add Asperger’s on top of that, it’s the most self absorbed type of person imaginable. So if I go into a crowded room, I’m not thinking about meeting people, I’m not excited about meeting people, the only thing I’m thinking about is, oh my gosh, how am I going to talk and how am I going to look. They’re going to know I’m different. They’re going to think I’m weird, because weird is a bad, bad word for me.
I had a girlfriend say it was a weird one time, and I cried like it really got to me because I guess my whole life I’ve been wanting to fit in. So the W word is probably one of the worst words that you can throw at me, not anymore I’m just saying, you know, a couple years ago.
Now I’m doing the work. I’m doing spiritual work. I’m grounding myself. And I actually feel like a grown up now. Within just 24 days of sitting still, and grounding and doing meditation and chakra work. I do feel 48 now.
But when I was rocking 14 hours a day, just a month ago, I felt like I was, you know, 15 to 20 years old maybe – completely stunted mentally stunted. And I was just playing that old program over and over. You know, when I was rocking I was basically playing a program, an old program that I created when I was eight years old, I started rocking when I was eight. So of course when I’m 47, after 46,000 hours of rocking I calculated, I’m going to be playing that old program.
So if you want to create a new program and get out of addictions and stimming, you have to basically uproot everything you do; change your background, change your environment, change your friends, change your job. If you’re an alcoholic addict like me, you might even have to change towns. We moved across America, because my small town that I was the town drunk. I have some really bad memories there.
So don’t fool yourself. This is life or death if you want to change your program, you have to change your whole reality. Start reading new things. Turn off the TV. You can’t listen to the same old music. If you listen to old music from your drinking days, guess what, you’re gonna start going down memory lane, you’re gonna think of the good times that you got drunk. And you’re gonna go, you know what, those were good times, let’s just go get a six pack for old times sake. It’s sneaky guys, the addict inside of you is just waiting to unleash again.
And every time you relapse or every time you go out and drink or do whatever. It’s going to beat you down. You’re gonna have more guilt and shame and it just compounds, on top of each other. I had so much guilt and shame. This is the first month, I don’t have any guilt and shame. If you want to feel good about yourself, quit all the stuff that’s making you feel guilty and shameful. That’s number one.
I want to be blameless. They use that word a lot in the Bible blameless, and I love that. Because when my dad spanked me super hard when I was five, I instantly felt like I wasn’t good anymore. I felt like a bad apple. I felt like he didn’t want me, you know, and I know a lot of people feel that way about their dads, don’t feel loved.
I worked for a couple who were caring for their dad who became elderly and he was handicapped and he lived with them – daughter and that son caregiving for him. They tried so hard to please him I could see it you could see the dynamic playing out.
They were just waiting for him to say you know what, I’m proud of you guys, or I love you. You know, the daughter was starving for him to say I love you. I could feel it. I mean, it was unspoken. It was so bad it was so thick in the air. It was a family dynamic that’s been going on since for 40 years. And she never got him to say I love you or I’m proud of you.
And there’s a lot of dads that can’t say that – they can’t say I love you or I’m proud of you. You know, what’s the big deal. You call yourself a man. You call yourself a man, but you can’t even say three words I love you. Come on, you’re a pussy. And there’s a lot of guys out there like that, they’re like, especially the older generations. They’re like, to be a man, you don’t show any emotion. No, that’s not a man that’s a coward, a true man is one that can cry and laugh and and goof out, geek out as I am still waiting for the day that I can just geek out again. and laugh. You know, laugh silly.
You know, cuz I mean in high school I was trying to be cool. And what’s cool means for most people is basically suppressing emotions, you gotta be a cool man, you know, don’t laugh right now you gotta be cool. Like, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. You know, to be cool.
I tried being cool when I was in third grade around girls, and what did that mean to me, that meant not really showing my personality. I was trying to be James Dean or something I was like, Just be cool. And that meant don’t laugh. That meant don’t be goofy, that meant don’t raise your voice because they might think you’re, you know, strange, you might have a different orientation than other boys if you raise your voice. You gotta keep it steady.
And that’s such BS. Today I want to feel alive. And you know I’m not waiting until I’m 80 to really experience a second childhood you know they see that senile people are like children. It’s like what I want. I feel like a child now, I mean I want to be a grown up.
I want to be grounded and feel like a man, but I also want to let loose and feel like a kid like, I want to be able to skip down this road right now. And yeah, people might be like that guy is insane he’s skipping. But I want to feel that youth, I want to feel the youth that I squashed when I was, you know, eight, when I started rocking.
So I really think that eight year old is coming out right now because I’m not rocking anymore. I’m not running. There’s no addictions, and I’m blameless. If I die right now. God would probably be like, you know, you turned your life around. I’m proud of you. Instead of going to the gates and being like oh my gosh I haven’t repented I’m, I’m still fapping and stimming and eating sugar and thinking about girls and who knows what. I don’t want all that junk.
When is enough enough? Addiction is the biggest lie ever. The demon of addiction says, just one more night. You know, or you can get sober tomorrow. And it’s the biggest lie ever, or just one more six pack. You know, people just lie to themselves, but the addictions lie. More than the people. And it’s a shame.
So, I hope you have tolerated my rambling. I’m just feeling life out, you know, seeing what I want to do next. And I want to be giddy. I want to feel alive. That’s my number one goal is to feel alive, and to create memories. I don’t want money anymore.
I want just enough money to create memories instead of isolating and trying to get people back. I want to just hang out with people you know. What’s so wrong with hanging out with people. That’s what this whole world should be about. But we get into this rat race.
There are so many years that I ignored people, because I was like oh I gotta go home and work. I gotta create a blog post. I have to create content, because I was trying to grow my home business, generate more leads. It’s like stopping a running man. You don’t have to write five articles a day just relax, hang out with people, even in my teens, or my early 20s when I started to become an alcoholic.
You know, I would get in a circle as a teenager and they would be passing a pipe around. And right after I would get, you know, altered. I’d be like, see you guys and I jumped on my bicycle and I’d be out of there. I’d never hung out with people. The only people I hung out with were girlfriends. Just one on one. It was never in groups.
In fact, the last 30 years that I’ve been with a girlfriend. I think we have never gone out to dinner, as a couple, with another couple what normal people do. I have never been out to dinner with another couple and my girlfriend. That’s how isolated I was, and that’s how scared I was of people. So, I ain’t playing anymore. I want to get back into humanity. I’m tired of you know being separated.
The devil is the one who wants to isolate us. You can see that all over right now. You know, stay apart, stay six feet apart. You really think that’s about what they said, it’s about here right now. To disconnect us. And I’ve done plenty of disconnecting on my own. I don’t need someone else now to tell me to do that. I want memories, and I want to create memories with people. And I want memories over money.
I want just enough money to create memories. You know that could be traveling to South America or going to a retreat, or moving to a different state or joining a gym or going out to, you know, a restaurant, you know, you need a little money to create memories, but sometimes you don’t. You could probably go hiking, without money. You still need gas to get to the campground. You still need money to get into the state parks, but you don’t need millions of dollars. And that’s my final. That’s my final answer. I love you guys. Leave a comment if you’re still struggling with any.
➡️Read my full story and see if you can relate HERE
Erik C Johnson