Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Addiction

–(noun): 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.
2. a.The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.

Habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one's voluntary control.
Hello. My name is Michael and I am an addict.

They say that's how getting well begins for addicts, by admitting that you have a problem and moving forward from that point and leaving the addiction behind. Addicts and alcoholics who attend meetings begin their speeches that way, regardless of how many years removed they are from their addiction or even if they have managed to completely kick the habit. Reinforcement of that recognition is a great help to them and helps break the cycle.

The same case is true for those of us addicted to the political. Politics is an addictive and destructive thing, which any rational person would admit...if they weren't addicted to it. Addicts are loath to admit their addiction can be harmful to themselves and, especially others. Politics may well be the single most destructive addiction on the planet, it has certainly managed to kill more people than all drugs and alcohol combined and enslaves more people than the "drug cartels" could ever dream of.

It is through politics that government derives its power and corrupts the very philosophies of freedom and liberty that so many of us hold dear. They redefine the words and concepts until they bear no resemblance to themselves. Those of us who engage in the addiction of politics may well be the worst of the enablers. We are the ones holding the spoons and cooking the junk while those who run for or hold office mainline our time, money and ultimately a good dose of our freedom. It doesn't matter what "party" they belong to, nor which philosophy they choose to embrace. In the end they seek to control some portion of our destiny. From the dog catcher to the presidency, this truth is self evident.

Even those few politicians or candidates who espouse philosophies familiar and dear to us and who speak of restoring our freedoms are running on the high and looking through some oddly coloured glasses. They, in the throws of their own addiction ignore the obvious. Politics is not the solution to politics, just as heroin is not the solution to heroin. No-one can restore or grant freedom to us through the auspices of political power. Even at its most benign politics is the power to punish, to command or to steal, by its very nature it is non-restorative. It may only choose to command less or steal less. To punish less severely or to ignore but, it cannot grant us that which is anathema to its very existence. The ugly man with the club will always be there.

Recognising that one has a problem is the first step in overcoming the addiction and seeking a "cure". No matter how strong or weak, the withdrawal is always going to be tough,( just ask an ex-junkie or alcoholic), and it can take many forms. One could go cold turkey and eschew politics completely, but I feel this might well require one to adjourn to a desert island and live as a beach combing hermit. The scent of burning politics is going to be present as long as there are two people who've inhaled present. Most folks are going to have to settle for a gradual weaning from their political addiction.

This will not be easy for some of us. Giving up campaigning, fundraising, gladhanding, the Issues, the camaraderie and all the organisational aspects that go with it. The fighting and animosities have to be surrendered, as well. All the warm, good feelings that come with a political hot shot have to be surrendered, if the addiction is to be overcome. That's not easy and may not even be possible, given the prevalence of politics in our society. Many of us may have to become adherents of a maintenance program and subsist on minute doses and eschew taking a full hit. Give up running for offices, supporting candidates and races, voting, campaigning and all the myriad activities associated with it.

No-one says it's going to be easy to kick the habit and it may well cost you some friends who are still addicted (don't become a self righteous crusader, no-one likes that former smoker!). And remember TANSTAAFL, there's always a price to pay, but you can dicker with this addiction. Start gradually and build to freeing yourself from this disease. Skip voting in the Primary. Don't attend a convention. Abandon the small things and see what they don't do to you. If you survive that....start building from there. As with any addiction it's one day, one event, one crisis, one fundraising letter at a time. Many alcoholics whom I have known often replace one addiction for another behaviour, (most commonly known to AA folks as the "marijuana maintenance program") If necessary, go on a maintenance program. Choose a less destructive addiction, like anti-politics.

And remember. Recovered addicts make the best rehab case you needed something to do with your time.

Technorati Tags:
, ,