For the addict, their drug of choice is not unlike a lover's caress. Both serve the same purpose: a release from the harsh realities of life, if only for a moment. The man who works two jobs: All day he dreams of his lover's soft breath upon his neck and silky skin against his own. So, too, does the addict hunger for the soothing release of that next line or hit or bottle.

Some believe that an addict, through abuse of their chosen sin, create for themselves a personal hell. A prison of the mind from which there can be no escape. With every puff and every snort, they are one step closer to death, and they realize it. With that realization, though, comes a certain freedom. Never does a person feel more alive than when standing just this side of death. So maybe, addicts, far from being imprisoned in a cage of their own design, are actually freer than the rest.

No, those who are truly in hell are the addicts' loved ones. In this country, don't forget, a habit is no private hell. There's no solitary confinement outside of jail. A habit is hell for those you love. And in this country it's the worst kind of hell for those who love you. Sometimes, beyond the harm addicts cause themselves, they see the harm they cause others. And, upon seeing this, the junkie's addiction bubble bursts. For not all addicts are inherently evil or villainous. Though they give not a second thought to their own well being, seeing another harmed by the addict's own actions, can effectively lift away the fog and reveal to them the pitted, crumbling path they've been walking upon.

Though some addicts see that same path but won't or can't stop walking, even as it is crumbling away beneath their feet. They are those who have walked the same path for so long, that the concept of change no longer applies. Addicts are addicts because they respond to certain stimuli in exactly the same way each time they are confronted by them. All thought falls by the wayside when that stimulus returns and the addict, automatically, mechanically, takes the path of least resistance. The path is unable to resist because it has been constantly trod upon and ground into dust. At one point in the addict's life, that very same path would have been the most difficult to take. If this is true, why can the addict not do the same now?

Habit. It is through habit that most of us live our lives. Taking the same route to work as we did yesterday and will take again tomorrow. Eating the same food, day in, day out. Speaking the same words. Watching the same TV programs. Why? Because ingrained into our physiology is an instinct to survive. We survive only thru habits. We survive by affecting future outcomes. How? By holding on to our habits, good and bad. Habits which, at first may be as the spider's web, easily broken through, but if not resisted, can bind us as strongly as chains of steel.

Naturally, we humans fear the uncertainty that is inherent within any change. Uncertainty and survival can sometimes clash. If we don't make changes, everything will stay the same: predictable and safe. By not changing our habits, we can predict what will happen next and, therefore, stay alive. Also, most habits only persist because they offer some satisfaction. We smoke to relieve stress; we watch the same programs because they offer a familiar escape; we snort lines of cocaine to feel invincible. We allow them to persist by not seeking any other, better form of satisfying the same need. Seeking alternatives would imply a change of some sort. And who knows what might happen then. Easier to not take the risk. Easier to stay seated than to get up. Better to be an addict than dead, or worse, depressed.

Over time, habits form grooves within our lives and eventually we are able only to walk through life along those grooves, as much in control of our destination as a train upon its tracks. The more deeply the path is etched, the more it is used, and the more it is used, the more deeply it's etched. Of course, habits are necessary. They teach us to bear fatigue, for example. {Exhibit A} Stimulus: I become tired after a long day at work. Response: I fall asleep. They teach us to despise wounds and pain. {Exhibit B} Stimulus: A firearm is aimed in my direction. Response: I begin to run in the opposite direction.

Now, the addict is ruled not by conscious thought, then, but by habit. Habits only require repetition. The brain can easily handle a task often repeated with little or sometimes no input from our conscious selves. How many times have you talked into your cell phone while driving? I guarantee you devote considerably more than fifty percent of your conscious attention to the person on the other end. Yet, you always arrive to your destination safely. The outcome being that, although you know it's dangerous, you'll do it again because you've done it before. Same principle applies to the addict. When confronted with the option (or stimulus) to get high or stay sober, the addict will chose to get high simply because they are responding to the stimulus as they always have.

The problem is compounded exponentially when, as is usually the case, an addict is suffering from withdrawl symptoms. I speak not only of cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. This applies to ALL forms of addiction. Have you ever woken up late for work and were unable to drink your usual cup, or in some cases an entire pot, of coffee? Even being awake early in the morning cannot account for your fatigue, restlessness, or temper. Besides, you wake up every day at the same time and feel great. What is missing then? Your fix. And, not unlike a cocaine or heroin addict, you are unable to perform daily tasks well until you've had your fix. In this case, caffeine.

Combine deeply ingrained habit with an opportunity to relieve the pain of withdrawl and it's mindfuckingly boggling that anyone quits an addiction at all. Though some do not quit by choice. These addicts only quit when there is no path left to walk upon. (e.g. End Of The Line, Last Stop, Dead End, "You Don't Have to Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here") I think you see the picture.

So, are all addicts doomed to an eternity of fire and brimstone? An eternity of getting poked in the ass by half goat demons wielding flaming pitchforks? Maybe. And if this is true, what's the point of quitting? Much easier to repeat the same actions than to learn new ones. But, I believe there's as much a chance that, by quitting, the Eternal Elevator will climb upwards instead of downwards when you finally enter it.

As an addict myself of more than one substance and vice, I have found that the easier the habit is to accomplish, the harder it is to change. The trick is in learning to identify bad habits early on, when they are most fragile. Not an easy task, I assure you. The chains of habit are generally too weak to be felt, until they are too strong to be broken.

Now that you know the basis for most addictions, what must you do if you suffer from addiction? I can't claim to posess a universal answer. I don't think anyone can. All I can do is provide guidance. It is you, and only you, that must break the chains that bind you. But with the support and guidance of people who deeply care about you, you won't be alone when those chains are finally broken.

If you walk away from this with nothing, at least remember the words of legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, "Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit."

Ad*dict" (#), p. p.

Addicted; devoted.



© Webster 1913.

Ad*dict", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Addicted; p. pr. & vb. n. Addicting.] [L. addictus, p. p. of addicere to adjudge, devote; ad + dicere to say. See Diction.]


To apply habitually; to devote; to habituate; -- with to.

"They addict themselves to the civil law."


He is addicted to his study. Beau. & Fl.

That part of mankind that addict their minds to speculations. Adventurer.

His genius addicted him to the study of antiquity. Fuller.

A man gross . . . and addicted to low company. Macaulay.


To adapt; to make suitable; to fit.


The land about is exceedingly addicted to wood, but the coldness of the place hinders the growth. Evelyn.

Syn. -- Addict, Devote, Consecrate, Dedicate. Addict was formerly used in a good sense; as, addicted to letters; but is now mostly employed in a bad sense or an indifferent one; as, addicted to vice; addicted to sensual indulgence. "Addicted to staying at home." J. S. Mill. Devote is always taken in a good sense, expressing habitual earnestness in the pursuit of some favorite object; as, devoted to science. Consecrate and dedicate express devotion of a higher kind, involving religious sentiment; as, consecrated to the service of the church; dedicated to God.


© Webster 1913.

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