On Addiction

Spoiler alert: yup, addiction destroys, blah blah blah. This article: not about that.

I could write about my experience with addiction all day long and never come close to the elegance and brevity Russell Brand has in his amazing Fresh Air interview. So, if you want to know what addiction is like, just read this:

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One of the key components of opiates is that it diminishes the significance of all else…nothing else really matters; everything comes in second.

In fact, I’ve often thought that opiate addiction is like the materialization of the abstract idea of need. Most of us have an idea that we’re missing something from our lives some of us think of it as God, some of us think of it as a new pair of shoes or the success of a football team that we follow, or the craving of the embrace of an absolute lover.

With heroin, once you’re addicted to it, those needs, those abstract needs, that hole that I feel is within all of us doesn’t seem to be nameless–some unknowable entity– but the clearly material definable accessible drug of  heroin. You don’t think, oh god, what is it? I wish I had a new girlfriend or a new car. you think:

I’ve got to get heroin.

Once you align that physical addiction with that kind of psychological need, your life just has a very clear linear narrative.

I want heroin. I want heroin. I want heroin.

Just a tiny, cyclical loop of few all [sic] desires. In a way, in the rest of my life, and in other people’s lives it seems, we use similarly few all endeavors you know, its just a bigger carousel; you don’t notice as much. The futility of consumerism is less obvious than the futility of heroin addiction. But still the same paradigm.

-Russell Brand with Terry Gross on “Fresh Air” April 6, 2009

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Geez, that is so much simpler than sitting with the complexity of the moment.
Sooo much simpler than seeing yourself in all things; in all beings.
Your world is perfectly dualist.
With your fix on one side and everything else on the other.

Easy.

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