Jack Varnell responds to Tom Matlack’s post on addiction.
I am not always sure that in my life my experiences after active addiction equate to “risk taking” per se, but a willingness to charge forth with less regard for outcomes surely does. An ability to withstand, and survive the world, as it comes is the greatest gift, though I get tired. Tired, I believe to a point where the “average Joe” may simply call it quits. For that I am daily grateful, because I’ve needed it. So, with that in mind, I think the premise of the article is right on.
Where my frustration comes in is that in ongoing discussions and commentary about addiction and its causes and conditions, we always want to explain or understand, and while these things are not without merit, ultimately addiction is a 10-cent word to describe away a much bigger and global issue. Sure, dopamine is affected and all the rest, but the issue, I think, is more about a human condition, not just a medical one. Gamblers have similar responses, sex causes similar responses, as I am sure success does, and a feeling of unshakable safety do.
Look, I am a retired addiction counselor. I get the medical aspects, and even agree, but what happens so often is that the old adage “If you’re not one, you can’t possibly understand” often gets propped up as the proper view. So we explain it. It allows people to sit in their comfort zones and point fingers at the Amy’s of the world, and say, “oh isn’t that tragic” when another junkie bites the dust, or even worse, “one less doper committing crimes, clogging the jails, or wasting our tax dollars while corrupting our daughters.” Isn’t the truth of the matter that those who point the fingers or preach the loudest are also as equally addicted to success, the media, stress, money, power, food, gambling, or the likes? Is the man or woman who has a heart attack from working 18 hours a day to keep up with the Joneses any less an Amy Winehouse than anyone else?
And now that the latest “rumor” is that an unattended self detoxification may have caused her seizure, what shall we do if that turns out to be true?
Tom Matlack’s original post.