Thursday, February 23, 2017

Addiction

What is coming to me is that addiction is the dealing of evil to oneself.  There is an awareness, a cosmic, Primary Process level awareness, of evil that has been done.  But it hard, so very hard, to confront evil on its own level, to feel it breathing in your face, and to know that it, too, is you.  It is not out there.  As weak as you may feel, something within you feels power, and perhaps the ONLY power it can find is the ability to sabotage everything you do.

Here is the thing: yes, of course, various chemicals can cause with overuse over time physiological dependency, but most people get off them long enough at least once in their lives to be physiologically free.  Most people who die of heroin overdoses, if I had to guess, have been scared enough at least once to give it up for a month or more, which would I think be sufficient.

Why do they relapse?  Because some part of them wants them to fail, because failing is easier than confronting the evil in them, that was done to them, suffered by them. It is a wrenching, extraordinarily unpleasant feeling.  Everything is suddenly floating, and nothing is certain, but underneath it all is an aggressive darkness.  The trick is to learn it is not after anyone or anything.  It simply eats what is in its path, whatever presents itself to it.  And addiction is a sacrifice to it, a self sacrifice, one which does in fact often end in premature death physically, and emotional death--or disfigurement--long before that.

As I'm sure I've mentioned, rats given an adequate amount of social contact and play time never get addicted to cocaine, no matter how often it is offered to them. Cocaine is not a solution to a problem they have.  It is the lonely, dispirited rats which originally made people think Cocaine itself had some intrinsic magical addictive power.

To surrender to evil is not to give it power.  It is to recognize the power you have been giving it, without realizing it.  It is saying "you are there and I am here.  I see you.  I recognize you.  And now I am going to choose to live my life without you, but without forgetting you are there."

I think in many addicts (and my own addiction has never really risen to this level; by most standards, I think, it has been balanced and moderate, even if the absolute quantities might scare some people) the bottle, or spoon, or needle comes to seem to be the enemy.  But it is the enemy they can't do without.  It is something that hates them that they willingly submit to.

In my own heart, I feel I did this with one and likely both of my parents.  They were abusive, but there was always an outward patina of fun and "we didn't really mean it.  It's all in your head".  It wasn't in my head, but that sort of thing fucks with your brain.  So I went along to get along.  That's what kids are forced to do.

So you have this double bind.  You have an abusive situation you have to endure, and you have the lies you have to tell to make it all work, like "they really love me; they just don't know how to show it".  Or in my own case, dissociation and retreat from reality and a sort of passive acceptance of everything, like I was in a trance.

And you learn to endure the abuse, and to rationalize the abuse, and to make excuses for the abuse.  But you don't say that to yourself.  You come to make the abnormal seem normal.

And this is where addiction comes in: addiction UNDERSTANDS that you are an abnormal person trying to live in normal world, but that being abnormal is how you feel normal.  When you check out in one way or another, that is when you return to something you know, or knew. When you leave the social universe, that is when you can be your real self.

So Keith Richards had it right and wrong when he talked about what people do to "not be themselves" for a few hours.  I would argue who he was normally, when he wasn't high, never felt normal to him at all.

And the pretending is exhausting.  Trying to explain yourself to people who don't listen, who often are dealing with similar issues themselves: far better a consistent narcotic.

I am speaking out loud here, but these are some thoughts floating through my mind as I try for sobriety again, with some warranted hope, I think, that this time it may actually take.

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