They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. Like most addicts, I told myself everything was fine. Only lately have I begun opening my eyes to my shameful situation. I am ready to lay bare my flaws and begin the healing process. Ready to admit publicly what I’ve denied privately these many years.
I take baths.
I’m not proud of my behavior. There’s no legitimate reason for a man to take a bath that doesn’t also involve a naked woman (even that allowance is questionable). I consider my manhood to be well settled. I'm proficient with a wide variety of power tools. I kill the spiders. I say the dumbest things imaginable at the most inappropriate times. And yet, I can’t resist the bathtub’s siren song, constantly luring me to the rocky shallows of my masculine demise.
Like any addiction, mine began innocently enough. Our new house had a whirlpool tub in the master bathroom, which I ignored for the first few weeks of ownership. But then I got my first taste. I was sore after a run one day, so I decided to take a bath – just once wouldn't kill me. Right? A couple weeks later I helped someone move. Sore again so another bath. Before long, I didn't even bother with the justifcations.
Tuesday nights. Saturday afternoons. Sunday evenings. Fifteen minutes. Then 20. Then 30. It didn’t matter. I had to have it. But the tub-induced high became more elusive. So I started dimming the lights, started drinking a glass of wine. Then came the bath salts. I don’t even want to talk about the bath salts.
I continued down the slippery slope to addiction. I understood what I was doing wasn’t right, but it didn’t seem wrong either. I mean, it wasn’t like I was lighting candles, or playing soothing music during my baths. I still had things under control. And I could quit any time I wanted.
It’s the grand illusion, of course, the lies we addicts tell ourselves to keep from facing up to the shells we’ve become, to the humiliation and pain we’re inflicting on friends, co-workers and loved ones.
Every time I sink down into those boiling bubbles of wrong, a little more of me dies. If I don’t get help soon, it’s surely just a matter of time before I’m completely dead inside, taking evening-long baths by scented candlelight, soft jazz playing as I sip white zinfandel and read the latest issue of the Oprah Magazine.
The first step is admitting you have a problem. My name is Scott Campbell and I take baths. Stop me before I soak again.