the "Inside PTSD - Addiction" collection:
in general, part one, b/c there's always more
where one of the main characters—in character—discusses his or her understanding of 'addiction', in parts one to many, b/c that's the only way we could send it off.
i am not qualified to speak about addiction outside the context of ptsd, but inside, i can speak w/ mad authority. Let's just say i'm semi-qualified, in whatever way won't get me busted.
[for expedience sake i'll move in and out of character during this essay]
so what do you want to know? [see how the addict in his native habitat attempts to establish the high hand before the encounter even begins?]
[this is 53% written to the therapist in you, professional or otherwise]
what is it?
ok, what is addiction? already i sense ambiguity, wiggle room?
what's your take on it? [again, you talk...]
- the first way to describe it, addiction is a habitual or obsessively repetitive series of one, a few, or many actions, most or all of which are generally known to be deleterious to the given individual. These actions are undertaken b/c they bring that person (me or you!) a noticeable benefit.
- from the lexicon we have a useful word: 'user'.
- we have a person who uses some material substance or present-time experience over and over and over again to feel better—despite logical (and felt) understanding that such behavior is not 100% in our own good; not even, at times, 53%.
We purposely leave the definition broad so we can include in that net many bits of humanity: daily use of alcohol, obsession w/ sex, pills, medications, diverse plant and animal substances taken in beyond the bare minimum required for survival; habituation to shopping or work or running from threats real or imagined are easily roped in.
biology, to be addicted
The fuzzy boundaries of 'addicted' are so obscure i urge caution before using that word.
Addiction plays out largely in the body. It is felt—as a need, a hunger, a craving that must be satisfied or else. Else is no good. Forks in the road come quickly and deciding must be crisp and fast.
i want i crave i desire...!
now! it all happens now.
it seems, sitting w/ these words, that we must consider the larger container of all this to understand addiction. We must have a population of people in mind (for this is a social and human matter), so let's say "those living now". Great, 6.8 billion people or so.
Big question, which of these are addicts? who amongst us are 'addicted', to anything? hands? anyone?
Context: how do we decide where to spend our energies when considering addiction? I say, start w/ yourself.
What are you addicted to? No judgment, just raw curiosity, and a willingness to let go. When you've solved that, see if there's anything left over to help others.
That's about it.
Perhaps we each decide for ourselves what harms, and what does not.
My rules: don't mess w/ me or others—especially the ones i love—and we're good. That's why i have a big distrust of perpetrators.
ok, let me for real try to be useful; let me pretend that there are aspects of my life that a "trained observer" could conclude were ambiguous. i am presently sitting next to my second espresso stout of the day. I also walked a couple miles, swam nearly nearly 751 yards and made $650 for a few hours work.
Why would someone drink 3 pints of stout every day, instead of 3 a week? why would someone smoke weed from sunup to moonrise? why would someone shop doctors to get enough prescriptions to stay three times as high as the legal limit?
Answer: b/c it's known. The effects are predictable and meet two stellar needs: the need to feel better, and the need to forget, and not always in that order.
that's why the royal we go back to it over and over again. It's familiar, and the prime thing about trauma—aside from how much the body (and mind!) are involved—is how chaotic it is. Hence, order is craved, if only subconsciously. Cigarettes always take the exact same amount of time to smoke, between 39 seconds and 9 minutes, which means as a way of keeping time, they're more reliable than a hammer-smashed internal clock.
what else can you do
You don't want people to get that down before you can be of some help. Instead, see this coming. Make being sober—to over-widely give word to the opposite of addiction—something as invigorating as the high you're hoping to replace.
addiction is also getting away with. I wouldn't know, but to pull off the satisfaction of getting over on someone else, keeping your secret private buzz alive, that's part of the fun.
So to counter addiction you gotta be wily. You don't convince an addict that being healthy is the way to go until they come to you bleeding from the soul of self-disrespect.
You keep the hustle alive. You help each of us shine to the most brilliant light we can be. That's your job. That's my job too. We'll meet for coffee, 'kay, before first shift, and keep the light shining?