"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Monday, September 6, 2010

Jane's Addiction...

Addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

While reflecting upon the genesis of my fascination with addiction and addictive behaviors my mental footprints lead me to a radio interview and a reality show. The interview was with Gabor Mate on NPR radio with Bob Edwards last year (who - Dr. Mate - I'm proud to say has read my blog and emailed in July of this year his admiration for and the reality show was "Celebrity Rehab" on VH1. I found the former to be more fascinating than the latter but both were interesting none the less.

Very interesting.

I'm not sure why my interest is so strong concerning addiction. It could be that I've been reading Dr. Mate's book; "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts"  the past several months or it could be related to the fact that I have been accused of being addicted to everything from my computer (HP Pavilion a1726x), to Russo Subs in West Palm Beach, to an ex-girlfriend (sorry no link). Just a sidebar, I think it's ridiculous that anyone could accuse me of being addicted to a sandwich or a slave to a relationship; on the other hand I do spend a lot of time on my computer. Anyway, it's not like I'm addicted to porn, gambling, drugs and or strip clubs. That last statement was not intended to be autobiographical in nature... as the kids like to say; "I'm just sayin'". At the end of the day, I feel my interest in addiction is strong because of the reality of addiction across the globe and the devastating destruction that it causes in many people's lives.

It might also be the simple fact that I have six children that I never want to see fall victim to any form of addiction.

The Bailey Bunch

In reading Dr. Mate's book, (...Hungry Ghosts) we learn on page one that the title is derived from the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the Mandala. The Wheel of Life represents the cycle of birth, rebirth and existence in samsara

Samsara represents the journey... I think we all can appreciate the journey. 

Within this "Wheel of Life", the journey, the Buddhist's depicts six levels of existences, "Six Realms"; these realms are an allegorical description of a conditioned existence, the samsara, which beings are reborn into. The realms range from heaven to hell, and are imperfect and temporary in nature, and ones existence in a certain realm is due to "karma"... and here I thought karma was just cool word reserved for bumper stickers and t-shirts. One of the realms that are relevant to addiction is the hungry ghost realm (preta). Dr. Mate describes the "hungry ghost" realm this way; 

"The inhabitants of the hungry ghost realm are depicted as creatures with scrawny necks, small mouths, emaciated limbs and large, bloated empty bellies. This domain of addiction, where we constantly seek something outside ourselves to curb an insatiable yearning for relief or fulfillment. The aching emptiness is perpetual because the substances, objects, or pursuits we hope will sooth it are not what we really need. We don't know what we need, and so long as we stay in the hungry ghost mode, we'll never know. We haunt our lives without being fully present."  

So as we see, addiction is about looking for something outside of ourselves that will sooth something that is hurting inside of ourselves. Addictions, true and debilitating addictions, are born out of deep hurt and pain. I also believe there is a deep and intense spiritual void in every addict's life, and the addiction is more about the desire than the attainment. That is why any substance or behavior that a person is addicted to proves itself to be empty and hollow once it is attained. In another words, it is an insatiable thirst for fulfillment and relief that will never be quenched through the dysfunctional mode/behavior that is currently being used by the addict.

In order to understand "true" addiction I feel it's important to get a better understanding and definition of addiction and where the word derives from. Addiction actually has two "overlapping" but distinct meanings. The one we are most commonly aware of and is used today refers to a dysfunctional dependency on drugs, alcohol or on behaviors such as gambling, shopping, eating or sex. Surprisingly, that meaning is only about a hundred years old. As far back as Shakespeare, addiction refereed simply to an activity that one was passionate about or committed to. 

So my computer addiction is a good thing...right? 

The "pathological" sense of the word arrived on the scene in the early twentieth century. The terms original root comes from the Latin addicere, "assign to". From this Latin definition yields the word's traditional meaning: a habitual activity or interest, often with a positive purpose. But like many things during the Roman times the Romans had another use of the word that speaks to our present-day interpretation: an addictus was a person who, having defaulted on a debt, was assigned to his creditor as a slave.
So maybe I am an addict after all.

From this Roman day definition is addiction's modern day view as enslavement to a habit. In 2001 experts define addiction as a "chronic neurobiological disease characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drugs, compulsive use, continued used despite harm, and craving."
So after 922 words we come to the conclusion that the features of addiction are two-fold: an unquenchable craving for a drug or a behavior despite its negative consequences and relapse. And if addiction is about insatiable craving that cause harm once attained then the starting point for addiction is stress. Stress has everything to do with addiction. Universally, three factors are considered leading contributors to stress in each individual lives: uncertainty, lack of information, and a loss of control. Addiction is a deeply ingrained response to stress. Maladaptive in the long term, it is highly effective in the short term.

...high amounts of stress can be destructive.
(Jack Nicholson - The Shining) 

Biologically speaking, one cannot discuss addiction very long without pointing out the fact that dopamine plays a vital role. Dopamine is a key brain chemical "messenger" that plays a central role in all forms of addiction. The reason dopamine is important is because in early childhood if a child is under devastating forms of stress, such as physical and or sexual abuse, the dopamine receptors do not experience the healthy growth that is required to sustain essential drives in one's life such as love, connection, pain relief, incentive, and motivation. All of these traits are needed for quality relationships which no addict experiences while they are a slave to their addiction. With this lack of dopamine, stimulant-type drugs such as cocaine work effectively in the short term because there is a sudden increase in the amount of dopamine available to cells in essential brain centers. 

That sudden rise in the levels of dopamine, one of the brain's "feel-good" chemicals, accounts for the elation and sense of infinite potential experienced by the stimulate user, at least at the beginning of the drug habit.

There is so much information that can be discussed concerning addiction but at the end of the day stress is the major contributing factor when it comes to drug addiction, and specifically, women that abuse drugs their drug use stems from the fact that they were sexually abused early in life. The stress from this or these incidents in their past is the number one reason for their drug use and future addiction.  

Genetically speaking, it's not about our genes. Genes can play a role in predisposition but they don't play a role in predetermination. Predisposition is not the same as predetermination. Alcoholism isn't passed on from generation to generation by a gene it is passed on by cultivating and creating the same environment that lead to the alcoholism in the first place. The key is the parents and the environment they raise their children. 

Are there exceptions to this rule? Always. 

But there is overwhelming evidence that the more negatively diverse situations a child experiences the more likely they are to abuse drugs, or cultivate an addiction, later in life.

In 1985 three guys from California and one Jewish kid from Queens, NY formed a musical group that grew into unbelievable popularity. That group's namesake was attributed to a known heroin junkie that was in abusive relationship with a man named "Sergio". She lived with the band in Hollywood during their early days. The girls name was Jane Bainter. The band was called "Jane's Addiction"   

 It is interesting to note, or ironic, that a group with "addiction" in their name would fall prey to such destructive drug use. 

When you investigate their past you begin to understand why drug use could become an option. 

Lead singer Perry Farrell lost his mom at three to suicide. David Navarro's parents divorced when he was seven and his mother was murdered by her then boyfriend when he just fifteen. One doesn't have to think very long or hard to understand the amount of stress that was caused by both of those situations early in their childhood. And though I'm less knowledgeable about the other two band members childhood, they too were deep in drug use during their time together in Jane's Addiction.

Nothing's Shocking - Jane's Addiction

In the song "Jane Says" lead singer Perry screams that Jane is "gonna to kick tomorrow", at least that is what Jane says. And though this seems to be the anthem for all drug abusers, it proved to be prophetic for all the band members and Jane. They did eventually "kick tomorrow".

Remove the dysfunction and drama, and you remove the stress.

In closing what I realized in researching this topic is that the millions that scream addiction aren't even close to scratching the surface of this sick disease. Addiction is an overused term like 'great' and 'love'. No different than a person of color screaming racism when fired due to their performance, it is an insult to those who have truly experienced racism. The same is true when the term addiction is irresponsibly thrown out there with the sole purpose to release the person from any culpability for their poor and inappropriate behavior. 

What many mistakenly confuse for addiction is simply denial.

Denial of the fact that many of our self destructive behaviors are not bred out of addiction but out of selfish behavior; a behavior that has nothing to do with stress and everything to with a lack of self discipline and self control. People like Lindsey Lohan aren't addicted to drugs or alcohol as much as they are to poor judgment. Their desire to get what they want, when they want it, is paramount. There is little, or no, regard for the consequences of their behavior, or how it might affect those around them, their perceived need trumps everything else. It trumps honesty, it trumps reason and logic, and finally it trumps self respect.

Tiger Woods wasn't a sex addict he was selfish. I'm not trying to be self righteous or judgmental, I just believe that to be the truth.

It takes one to know one... right? I have been more than selfish a few times in my adult life. You can't be divorced twice without that being a fact.

In the end, addiction is a tough battle to overcome but denial and selfishness is even a tougher road to hoe. Dr. Phil says, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge", and by definition denial is not often acknowledged and there is no court ordered celebrity rehab for selfishness and the poor behavior it is responsible for. One who has a legitimate addiction needs intervention and help from others; a person who is in denial and is selfish needs maturity and introspection.

sbb  6.9.2010  (Jane Says  .  Jane's Addiction) . 2019


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