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When the Hobby Takes Over

The Gym Rat:

All of a sudden the spouse you've spent 15 years with has thrown himself into some new outlet. One day he's asked you if you think he has put on too much weight. Your answer is, of course, no, but now he's at the gym constantly. At first this is a welcome addition to the routine as we could all probably use some more time for exercise. But soon it becomes a daily trip to the gym after work, meaning you are stuck fixing dinner and dealing with homework. A few months tick bye and instead of making it home from the gyn at 7:30, he walks in at 9:00. A few months later, weekend trips to fitness shows start up and your husband is someone you've not seen for weeks at a time. All of a sudden, the new hobby has completely devoured your husband's interests in life to the detriment of you, the children, and the household. And you're really not sure if he's really at the gym anyway.

The Substances:

Your wife had surgery last year. The doc prescribed pain pills for a few months to help with the recovery. The office called in a few refills when the pain never went away. One day you've tagged along and are sitting in the waiting room when you hear your wife screaming about them not refilling. The next day, there is a visit to another doctor's office, followed by a trip to the dentist the following, and a walk-in clinic the next. Weeks later, the person claiming to be your wife is barely able to sp.eak at the di1mer table. Or at least not in a way that makes sense. Your children ask you if they can start taking the bus home and you find out later there was a scene in the pick-up line last week that makes no sense to anyone else but her. All of a sudden, what started as back pain is a new hobby that has completely devoured your wife's interests in life to the detriment of you, the children, and the household. You're pretty ce1iain it's the substances because your wife can't manage to do much of anything else these days.

The Cell Phone:

It used to be a rule in your house that no phones were allowed at the dinner table. Soon enough, as soon as stomachs were full, the family started rushing back to their phones. Your husband who used to find social media to be a "giant waste of time" (remember that fight?) Now seems to be constantly on his phone, smiling to himself, completely immersed in something or someone other than you. All of a sudden, what started as a way to "stay connected" is a new hobby that has completely evoured your husband's interests in life to the detriment of you, the children, an the household. And you're still not sure who he is talking to because he wont give you his password.

We all need hobbies and outlets in life. It helps keep us balanced by wo11 ing off stress from work and stress from home and to maintain a bit of self-identity wllien the rest of our day is spent serving others, our bosses, our clients, our colleagues, our spouses,our children, our neighbors, and friends. But what rings true in consult after consult, case after case is that when the hobby all of a sudden seems to have tak1 n over a life,it's generally a sign of something else, or someone else.

But it is a sign, alright.

David Purvis

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