I will resume that whole developmental psychology thing eventually- it’s just I’ve been coping with some personal problems that have really wreaked havoc on my relationships, career as an IT professional, my educational goals, my reputation, my health, my looks, my marriage, and last but certainly not least- my finances. I wake up every morning, not recognizing the person in the mirror- if I can even bring myself to see my reflection. My eyes are sunken, my complexion muddled. If ever there was a poster child for the “drugs are bad, mmm’kay” campaign, I could be a contender, I’m sure. Perhaps I haven’t hit the absolute rock bottom, but I’ve come within a stone’s throw of it, no doubt. I’m on the cusp of losing everything, but I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who care enough to fucking slap me in the face enough so that I can look up and meet my own gaze in the mirror long enough to see how far I’ve fallen.
Some say addiction is a disease. I’m on the fence about that one, since this is a disease I welcomed into my life with open arms and with sound cognitive ability. It wasn’t too long however, that it took over my willpower and demanded I make it the one and only relationship I would sacrifice all others for. Of that aspect of addiction, I do see how it is a disease. I’ve heard that free will in general is an illusion that everyone mistakenly views as their’s to control. Perhaps I’ll explore that topic further another time, but this much is true for everyone whether they’d admit it or not: we are all slaves to our vices. Whether that be booze, gambling, running, self-mutilation, gluttony, starvation, plastic surgery, tattoos, or what have you. Most people are haunted by an insatiable need for something. Whether that something would benefit us or destroy us seems to me to be a roll of the dice. I, like many others, was and still am drawn to that artificial bliss on tap. Instant relief from all my worries, and the ultimate cheat code for nearly any dilemna, the right combination of hardcore drugs will get anyone hooked. I believe that’s why the US has taken the antiquated- yet effective on a very basic level- stance on treating these psychoactive substances.
Substances like the ones that I’ve allowed to poison my mind alter the brain in such a way that it will eventually take priority above all else. Those drugs that have a well deserved stigma associated with them. While under its influence, you will make any excuse or tell any lie to make sure that shit finds a way into your bloodstream. To a non-addict, the lengths to which an addict will go seem absurd, selfish, even downright sadistically evil; but for the addict, those actions become second nature, and are just par for the course of a lifestyle that typically means living fast and dying young. Some are fortunate enough to escape its iron grip; many are not, and struggle for years like a fly in the web, only to eventually get consumed by a predator with no face, no body, no weapons, and no weaknesses.
I’ve seen documentaries on the subject, and one concept sticks out in my memory which makes perfect sense (apologies,I can’t recall specifics for a citation). Doing drugs like opiates, meth, coke, or MDMA for long periods of time eventually rewires the brain so that acquisition of the drug is equally, if not more important than other survival instincts. Over time, getting your fix becomes more important than material possessions, money, shelter, relationships, and even food. I’ve encountered several different women who ended up losing their children to drugs, yet that loss was not their ‘rock bottom’. They continued to use, despite losing what many mothers consider to be their most precious gift in life. That should speak volumes as to how insidious this trap can be. My wife- who has stuck with me through the worst challenges I’ve had in life so far- put it brilliantly by saying “you didn’t make that choice, the drugs chose for you“.
Of course all of this is subjective. There are those who say addicts chose their lifestyle, and they have no one to blame but themselves for their problems. To a certain extent that is true. I would think it inconceivable (like Vizzini) to throw away the things I hold dearest to me… had you asked me a year ago. Now I find it impossible to live for anything else besides my next fix. It has consumed my life.
I started writing this like a week ago, but like everything else in my life, it’s sat and festered with nothing to show for it. I guess I’ll post this now, I don’t even remember what my original point was…
Yeah, so I’ve admittedly been slacking on the blog posts for reasons not worth publicly divulging. However, in typical “instant gratification, me me me, gimme now” fashion, I did feel the need to drop in for no other reason than to shamelessly hock my wares on a page with increasingly stagnant traffic! Check out this link for low-brow humor the likes of which haunt your nightmares. Enjoy!
So at the risk of sounding like a complete buffoon- I’m already resigned to being a partial buffoon- I will ponder what can be scavenged from Erik Erikson’s theories on developmental Psychology, and compare them to my own childhood experiences. Hopefully, though with some degree of skepticism, I can analyze the events of my life and come to some sort of understanding of how I came into my current predicament, so maybe I can attempt to pick up the pieces of this fucking disaster that my life has become. I mean, for Christ’s sake, a year ago I probably would’ve been quick to succumb to the folly of moral judgement upon the person I am today. What am I today? I’ll get around to that, but if I were to throw a label on me, I think most people understand what a junkie is right? You remember that commercial, nobody ever says I wanna be a junkie when I grow up? I still haven’t met anyone who contradicts that paradigm, so kudos to you, 80’s anti drug campaign, you hit the nail on the head. Too bad the actual policy has been a dismal failure- I don’t mention that often enough in this blog, do I?
So I guess that Erikson thought the first stage of development for infants revolved around two outcomes based on his conflict model which he used throughout his whole developmental roadmap, so to speak. The first challenge encountered is trust vs. mistrust, which, in my opinion, is irrelevant in my case. I don’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I was nurtured enough by my mom. I won’t go into to much detail, since well, I was a fuckin baby- nothing exciting going on there. You all have heard those stories about fucking neglected babies growing up with serious issues integrating into society. Shit, maybe some of you are living through that kind of existence right now- in which case, you can discuss that with your therapist, or continue your successful career as a high-functioning, corporate executive psychopath in upper management. You may never experience love, but you have the ability to completely destroy other people’s lives, without those pesky emotions like guilt or empathy to weigh you down.
I don’t know how much truth rings in Erikson’s developmental psychology model, but he believed that if at any of the stages of development, there is an outcome which results in, well, I’ll use the word failure to overcome that stage’s challenge, there is a corresponding virtue which is not developed. In the first stage, for example, the virtue of hope is carried on throughout life if you were coddled enough as baby.
To that I say…. mehhh. Maybe, maybe not. There is definitely some situations where this has proven to be true, and it seems to fit with most people’s lives. I welcome any opinions on Erickson’s model of development. Please comment and share your thoughts and experiences. No judgements here on my end, just curiosity. Thanks for reading, I’ll probably explore this topic further in coming posts.
I’ve been doing this blog thing for all but a few months now, and I’ve been touched by a brief moment of self-awareness which so rarely finds me these days. You know, that kind of perspective you gain on yourself when you realize Yeah, I am going on a drive which doesn’t require me to get out of the car, and most likely nobody will see me. I should probably put some pants on anyways. How embarrassing! I’ve been driving without pants on this whole time- figuratively and literally.
I kinda jumped into this thing like pompous windbag, belching my problems into the ether, as if the ether wasn’t already rife with problems. As superficially shitty of a person I seem to be, I truly don’t want to add to the endless litany of voices screaming ‘woe is me’ unto deaf ears- unable to hear, with the exception of their own plight.
Before one can empathize with ‘woe is anyone besides oneself’ one must understand his or her neighbor’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, and fears. After those have been identified, we can start doing a side by side comparison to see how it checks out with our own experiences- a woe-meter, if you will. Understanding your neighbor’s woes, and running them through the woe-meter while considering their circumstances, guaged against your own, will either result in achieving empathy. Then you get to decide whether their woes are either, like, WOAH, or more like NO. Is this all a bunch of bullshit I’ve concocted on the spot? Why don’t you figure that out for yourself, you seem to be a responsible individual.
What I’m getting at is I’m going to start telling my story in this blog, and bring the woe level down to a dull roar. Also, as an added bonus, I will try… yes, try really hard to be a little more active in the WordPress community in general. Does anyone care? Probably not, but I know I’ll be getting my 8 hours of sleep at night. My story will be accurate from my viewpoint, but names will be changed to protect the innocent- but more so the guilty. I’ll try to keep things interesting but relatable. Feel free to throw forth your mighty bolts of judgement from yon ivory towers of cowardly fortitude. My shield of self-loathing +3 renders me all but impervious to such simple rhetoric. But be warned! This place reeks of indifference to all but the most complimentary praise and admiration.
NOTE All the images/artwork on BreakAway are original and produced by me. Consider it all Copywriten as of 2018. If you want to use any material, just ask, I will probably say yes.