The messiness of life, a literal mess at times.
There are inedible avocado fingerlings dropping from the top of the tree. I pick them up and throw them away, but the Great Dane secretly ate one and then came indoors and to his surprise and mortification had diarrhoea all over the kitchen.
Some household experiences are indescribable. It took me more than an hour to clean up, shower, wash the floor twice. Fortunately Satchi seems fine and has had plenty of water, is lying on his bed wondering what that was all about.
An email from a friend who tells me that in Denmark there is a new study out proposing to treat addiction as many different diseases or chronic conditions rather than just one. That should be interesting — commonalities and differences are always hard to map and I have known alcoholics out here who could only stay sober for the long haul after being treated for ADHD or bipolar mood disorder or depression.
The pragmatics of the new addiction studies sets the tone. Alan Leshner of the US National Institute of Drug Abuse in an interview:
Leshner supports his central message-that drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease-with such ear-catching sound bites as, “We know more about drugs in the brain that we know about anything in the brain.” Listeners tend to nod in agreement when he declares, “Drugs hijack the brain.” He explains many research projects that have helped to establish structural and functional differences between drug-addicted and normal brains at the molecular and cellular levels. He advocates a “whole-person treatment,” encompassing biology, behavior, and social context, an approach he says recognizes addiction as a bio-behavioral disorder. And he lambastes what he calls “The Great Disconnect” between ideology and science that he believes is impeding the formulation of more effective national policies in prevention and treatment of drug abuse and addiction.
What do you say to people who suggest that there’s a difference between addiction and other sorts of brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia, because the latter conditions don’t arise from a voluntary act of will?
But lung cancer does occur from a voluntary act of will, and we still pay to treat people for it. The question is whether you want to fix it or not. Whether you think the person is evil and you hate them is not relevant. It’s only relevant whether you want them to not do it anymore, and stop robbing your mother [for drug money]. And if you want them to not rob your mother, you need to treat them. You need to deal with it as a health issue, even if you hate them while you’re doing it.
And once that problem is fixed we are left with the problem of living, the problem of anomie and how we locate meaning in existence our daily life, how we acquire the skills needed to cope with the unbuzzed life, with emotional disorders, with learning difficulties, with bereavement and job losses and conflict. There’s no doubt that sober and clean we should be in a better position to make wiser and healthier choices. It’s not easy though, not easy at all. The greater messiness comes with being human, crying after the moon and learning the hard way, mistake by mistake.
In addiction to pragmatism we might need friends and good luck, or even grace.