Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ingredient 3: haunting addictions - Blog5

Ingredient 3/Blog 5: Not just addictions, but haunting addictions: that's what is going into the mixing bowl. You might think that this blog is going to be a barbiturate, amphetamine, benzo, and narcotic salad drizzled atop with bourbon and cheap vodka. But let the guilty and self-righteous fall, because this little dish could just as easily be contrived of power, control, abuse, food (particularly those delicious nutter butter creme thingies), cars, porn, exercise, cleaning, hair pulling, skin cutting, god, anorexia, shopping, coupon-cutting, stealing, sex, adrenaline...the list goes on. Anything can be an addiction, but to make people feel less like committing suicide, doctors have contrived special names for any addiction that doesn't fall under the shame of substance abuse, and the main categorical name for the least socially deplorable of habitual self-destruction seems to be "disorder." Don't get me wrong: mental disorders do exist outside of addiction, but the very discreet fact of the matter is that we - as a society - don't want to admit that the "scarlett A(ddiction)" should be donned by the kleptomaniac and self-mutilator as much as by the heroin junkie or alcoholic.
It's important to understand that the addiction precedes the HAUNTING addiction just as the living body precedes its ghost, and the body of addiction is a thing conceived by the tainted unity of unexplored darkness and the human conscience. It is pushed through the shadowy, bruised birth canal of pain and regret. And shame...we mustn't forget shame, for not only does it line the addict's passage into hiding, but shame boasts the most potent DNA of any addiction. Once born unto the addict, he (the addict) finds himself overcome with conflicting emotion: a strange kind of treacherous deliverance that is instantly mistaken for peace combined with a recoiling feeling of grotesque disownment, but as the addiction gains its nourishment through carefully prepared denial heated to perfection by the red-hot flames of self-hate, it begins to grow into a strong and willful existence. In no time at all, the addiction becomes bigger, meaner, and louder than its parent; yet, in so doing, it becomes a sweet beckoning thing with razor-sharp fangs that the addict begins to covet and protect at all cost, because let's face it, we never wanted the responsibility of exploring and ruling over our own cavernous darkness, did we? We don't wake up in the morning wanting to tumble face-first into the canyon of our pain; therefore the precious poison of our addictions fill the hollows of our mind with the beautifully ugly distraction it so craves. So, yes. It's better to keep an umbilical cord attached to the monster that we believe is strong enough to fight the darkness for us, when the truth of this matter is: the monster is and always has been fighting US, not our pain, and on some very tangible level we have always known this, and here's where the sickness becomes paramount: the development of the belief that the struggle is ALL THERE IS. The addict - regardless of the vice of choice - believes that the hurt and turmoil is all she gets; it's all she's good for; it's all she deserves. And wrapped in this belief, the addict wears the body of her addiction in place of her own.
So, at what point does an addiction transform to a HAUNTING addiction? To a bodiless, ghostly horror? Answer: when the poison is no longer enough to silence the Who and What that we really are. When we remain awake, alert, and aware of the pain despite the monster's best attempt to bury it, we begin to betray the betrayer. And oh how the monster will fight to keep us wanting to need it. The monster doesn't want to be orphaned or abandoned any more than we do. The monster will haunt us right along side the very thing that gave it life. And MAKE NO MISTAKE. Any such monster -to whom we give our time and attention in a failing effort to avoid having to face what we BELIEve to be the unfaceable- IS AN ADDICTION, no matter how the doctors of the world try to label us. It haunts us; it consumes us; it becomes us...and we let it because losing ourselves to the addiction is so much easier than finding ourselves amongst the pain...everyday.
But, it's when we stop running that we can breathe, and when we can breathe long enough and deep enough, the stench of addiction can no longer be ignored...outrun. It is at this point of realization that we cut the cord and become free, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. This is where the haunting begins, and if we let it, the monster's ghost will create such fear within that we find ourselves reduced -once again- to limited choices, BUT they ARE choices nonetheless. We can resurrect the bastard and restart the waterless marathon that dehydrates us of our very being, or...we turn and we fight. We fight for the right to love ourselves. We fight for the gift of life, of love, of choice. We fight for the courage to feel the pain so we can feel the solace that awaits us on the other side of it. We fight for the safety that is in the lesson. And maybe as the battles begins, none of this seems obtainable, or even real. So maybe, at first, we fight for no other reason than the dark and lonely reality that NOT fighting is a failing option we have already tried...again and again.
The hard truth is, even in victory, the haunting is likely to continue from time to time. But what merely haunts us cannot become us and without becoming, the thing that haunts can have no solidity: We can walk right through it, smile, and never look back.