Wednesday, November 01, 2006

addiction - part 1

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
- defined - physically and mentally dependent on particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without adverse effects; enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity.

- word origin -
from an obsolete adjective/adverb, meaning bound or devoted; slaves given to roman soldiers to reward them for performance in battle were known as addicts. eventually, a person who was a slave to anything became known as an addict.

do a google search on the word "addicted" and the hits returned by the search engine include 'are you addicted to the internet,' the wikipedia addicted and drug addict entries , and a smattering of links providing the lyrics to a song of the same title.

the song reads like a lament of an addict. the song speaks to an entity that holds all the power, and entity from which one runs, but can never escape. the song speaks of the feeling of being unable to breath without a fix ... of being unable to see anything else. the song speaks to feeling stuck, to feeling haunted, to feeling lost and overpowered. any addict will know - the song truly speaks of addiction.

does this sound like a choice a person would make? does an addict really choose this life? i'm inclined to think its definitely NOT an informed choice. informed choice: knowing what the choice entails, its consequences, and side effects. does an individual contemplate the choice to use drugs in this way? its unlikely. and, this adds another dimension to the state of being known as 'addicted.'

society, the mass media in particular, villifies drug addicts. casting them in a blame-the-victim light. it seems to appeal to our initial intuitive reaction. after all, no one held a gun to their head and forced them to take the drug. still, this view of addiction simplifes the issue. addiction simply cannot be distilled down to such naive simplicity.

ask any street urchin who became homeless and street bound because of an addiction. ask him if he feels his life has settled where he envisioned it would. ask him if he feels happiness and joy in his life. perhaps his answer will shock you. perhaps you will not believe your ears when you hear the addicted street urchin wish for death.

i worked as a nurse, at north america's first official supervised injection site for illicit drug users. hundreds of nurses applied. and the applicants got distilled to 8 finalists. of which i happened to be one. in accepting this job offer, i unknowingly entered a dark and foreign world. of drugs. of desperation. of marginal lives. i felt excited at being a part of something so revolutionary, so new. i had no idea. no idea at all.


Lady Prism said...

you are a very strong woman. To have seen what you have...smelled everything..viewed everything unfolding before you...I wouldn't have known how to handle seeing what you have.

I'm afraid all I have are questions...such as why?..Why do they do these to themselves?..It's not just the kid who finally finds himself homeless...but here. I know of a 50 year old father who takes drugs himself...Is it a disease perhaps?..Or something like a genetic flaw that triggers a person to pine for substance or a maybe..gambling...

I believe that each person has some sort of void...we all have this like missing something inside of us we want to fill matter how put together we seem....there's this nagging sense of needing to be filled...and people fill up in different ways...

A fix for me would be....yeah'..having to be with somebody...needing to be with someone...needing..needing to be affirmed...However, I'm just tired of being needy in this way...I know I am...I'm taking steps to break free...just learning...being comfortable with me...and not having to be addicted to a presence...yeh'....come to think ov' it...addicted to a presence...

mantissa said...

you may be oonto something ... perhaps that's where g-d comes in - filling the void.

i will write more about this topic soon - when i arrive in vancouver on sunday am most likely i will get inspired.