If it was up to me, instead of saying “My name is Seth and I’m an addict” I would say “My name is Seth and I’m a slave”. Saying you’re an addict or the alcoholic really isn’t that bad when you think about it. Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams are but a few Alcoholics that had very successful careers, miserable lives but successful careers. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Keith Richards are just three of the many drug addicts that were very successful, miserable lives but successful.
It is easy for a using addict or alcoholic to rationalize their using and to look at the success of these people mentioned above and tell themselves: “ It’s not as bad as they say, being an addict or alcoholic, look at all the famous ones who had very successful lives”. Of course the using addict never mentions the misery, loneliness and the spiritual death that goes along with the success.
On the other hand, no one wants to admit they’re a slave; no one looks up to a slave no matter how successful they are because the very word slave means misery, pain and doing the bidding of their slave master. Well, that’s what we are when we are using, slaves willing to do anything we have to in order to feed our master of addiction. When we are tired of breaking our family’s heart, not being there for our Husbands, Wives and children, we cry out to our master: “Please my wife/husband needs me, my kids are crying out to me, please I want to stop using.” The master’s voice is loud and clear. “I don’t give a dam about your Wife/Husband and your kids, just feed me.” And as all good slaves do, we feed the master. When we finally cry out: “Please, I’m killing myself, if I don’t stop using I will die.” The master says: “I don’t care if you live or die, just feed me.” Of course we listen to our master, we are powerless over his/her demands and we feed him/her once more.
I once was working with a 27 year old heroin addict who loved his Mother very much. I asked him; “What would you do if you walked into your Mother’s house and saw this brute stabbing your Mother over and over?” The addict said; “I would jump on him and take the knife away and kill him.” I said; “Well that brute stabbing your Mother is your addiction and instead of killing him you’re feeding him every day, making him stronger.”
How can we feed this master when he/she doesn’t care about our loved ones or ourselves? We continue to feed our master of addiction while we die slowly and painfully, all alone at the end. The craziest part of it all is when we were able to break free from our master we went back again and again and again. This is the insanity of addiction; feeding the very monster that is killing us. This is why we need a power greater than ourselves, for without that greater power in our lives we will die as slaves or worse, live out our lives as slaves.