The Well-Meaning Idiot

Yes, it’s awful about Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Yes, addiction is a disease and not just a choice. No, he’s not an “idiot” for ODing.

Yes, everyone should get help. But even if everyone would get help, you know what wouldn’t happen? Addiction wouldn’t’ go away.

Plus, the disease theory of addiction only goes so far: cancer, for example, is never attended by a posse, pack or litter of enablers (just something to noodle over for a bit).

And do you know what else Addiction is? A transitive verb — when you’re still Using.

Addiction/Using is also NOT an abstract thing. It’s about as concrete as it gets. It affects. Everything. Everyone around you.

It affects those who love you, who care about you, or just the ones who are even in your life within the blast radius of the choices you make, or are unable to make, or allow to be made for you. Because of Using.

Behaving as if something real is merely an abstraction is yet another form of escapism. And escapism is merely running away. Liberal or conservative, activist or apathist, like addiction itself, the spinelessness of running away knows no boundaries of politics, color, gender, blah blah blah. Maybe emotional maturity is the boundary. It’s my best theory so far.

And I’m not alone in this. My current TV hero, Veronica Mars agrees:

The hero is the one that stays…and the villain is the one that splits.

Is emotional juvenility tantamount to villainy? (The emotionally mature stay in the present, in reality, while the rest check out into abstraction, ghetto-minds, the past, puppy-space, pain, or whatever soporific lets them not-deal). Oh, and it has a blast radius, too, and the damage it inflicts is irrespective of intent. So let’s leave that as an exercise to the reader.

For myself, I’ve lived through that take-home-exam and I can tell you, clean up’s a bitch.