Living in a time when the use of drugs has been pushed by the curers of our illnesses, the question of what is an addiction looms large. Some substance, inhaled, injected, ingested to the roots of being, alters experience, perhaps outlook. Sometimes, often, always – some say – the alteration is bodily, real, the experience more desirable than what is usual and seems normal. Others worry less about the power of the drug, more about its use and application: alone; in company; what sense of tomorrow.
What sense of tomorrow?
But there is more. Habits, of body, of mind, of experience and its counter, also seem addicting beyond wish and desire: gambling, power, a sense of activity and action, of performing…athletic doings, jogging, playing musical instruments, writing…all of these may invade life and demand an increasing part of being. Power, some sense of greatness, of control over the world, over others, seems to grow quickest and deepest, finds its own sustenance within itself, addicting.
These all give fabric to life, shape to lives. They energize thought and action, frame hope and a sense of progress and tomorrow…
and tomorrow? The down-side of addiction: that we may not construe tomorrow, any next day, except within the sense of self which that drug or habit shapes. To do, not to do, no longer can be cleansed of the debris of the addiction. Like pain, which grows as it is opposed and made an enemy, addiction may control, possessing us in outlook, plans, and preparation.
Within addiction, freedom binds itself, no longer problematic.