Old News #6, Monday, June 15th, 2015: Withdrawal Precedes Addiction
We can all get addicted to something–music, nature, surfing, love, heroin, cocaine, pork.
But we don’t consider something an addiction if it doesn’t hurt us. Addiction is behavior. It is often repetitive, obsessive and omnipresent behavior. It is the hurt and even death that separates a benign addiction from the terminal ones.
Many years ago, I was thinking, reading, and writing a lot about addiction, and to a degree, I still do. I had been influenced by the book by Avital Ronell, Crack Wars, other books, and literary theory classes I had been taking at the time.
It was an interesting subject to me, having grown up with dead heroes such as presumed addicts Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. It was also interesting because I had long believed, and still do, that the so-called Drug War had long ago been shown to be ineffective but still continued to get people’s support and government funding.
One of my main ideas, which is supported in some way by this article, is that withdrawal, so to speak, is actually the cause of addiction as well as the result of quitting it.
Withdrawal from society leads to addiction.
Avital Ronell, from what I remember, tells us that the root cause of addiction is “life not being enough.” When something is missing in our lives, we seek to fill the gap with something else, be it music or art or drugs. This occurrence of life not being enough is also supported by this article in the sense that our consumerist lifestyles force these gaps to be created.
Addiction is a prosthetic device that we implement when consumerism leaves us disconnected from the people around us.
Our society is based on consumerism, itself a kind of addiction. Buying and selling is supposedly what keeps us afloat. Without them, we are taught that everything will go to hell. So we are conditioned to feel that when something is missing from our lives, we can buy or consume something else to remedy it. If we’re lucky, we’ll choose to consume or buy something that will not end up hurting or killing us.
Of course, many of us are not that lucky.
I find this article to be very uplifting, especially the example of Portugal, where they apparently decriminalized all drugs and redirected drug war resources to provide housing, jobs and support to addicts. The result was a 50% drop in intravenous drug use.
The most amazing part of the article is where we are told that the fiercest opponent of Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs, the drug war police chief, admitted he was wrong and said that he hoped the world would follow Portugal’s example!
I can only hope that the recent trend of marijuana legalization in some US states will soon lead to the entire nation emulating Portugal’s example. The romantic in me can’t help but get choked up thinking about all the holy-rolling, morally superior drug warriors having the same realization as that Portuguese drug cop.
In closing, I would like to send out a great big fuck you to thankfully late hater Henry Anslinger, probably the biggest piece of shit the US has ever seen–worse than former president Reagan and the depraved lunatics who follow in his footsteps.