Daily Archives: February 19, 2012

Addiction, Brain, “Judgment”

Cautionary tale, in a snapshot

Not many days ago a famous, extremely successful, beautiful, very talented singer and actress died in circumstances which are not yet entirely cleared but will very probably have to be retraced – directly or indirectly – to her crack cocaine addiction. I liked Whitney Houston a lot in younger years, and was saddened (though not very surprised) as everyone of us. I would have written the usual Mundabor-like article with the usual cautionary tale (nowadays called “being judgmental”) but alas, I had better things to do and it slipped.

Reading around, though, I found here and there some very questionable concepts expressed, and at that point I felt a “judgemental” blog post would be rather in order.

First of all, let me say that I know already that crack cocaine changes one’s brain. All drugs do this, and every child knows that. This is the reason why the popular language is full of expressions reminding one of this very simple, easy to observe fact. I am also aware that if I throw myself from the seventh floor my brains will be, after the impact with the sidewalk, somewhat changed. This is one of the very many reasons why I have never tried it. Apologies, but I do not buy the concept the deceased did not know this beforehand. If she – absurdly – didn’t, this can only have been because there was the absolute absence of those cautionary tales, “judgmental” warnings like the one you are reading now. 

Secondly, whist I did like the woman, I have some problems with the affirmation that crack cocaine, with its exaggerate stimulation of dopamine production, would make this drug particularly dangerous for celebrities. It’s not about celebrity here, but sheer stupidity. Being a celebrity does not authorise one to be stupid. Ask Amy Winehouse. On the contrary, celebrities with beauty, success, money, and adulation wherever they turn already get a dose of dopamine way above the one of the average guy or gal, let alone of the housewife with four children and unsteady husband who doesn’t know how long will it be before the eviction. I assure you the latter are to be found much more frequently than celebrities of any description.

Thirdly, I though once upon a time there was something called values. The values people give to us, and the value we give to ourselves.   Drugs don’t just happen. One is never introduced to drugs (an extremely hypocritical, politically correct, guilt-free expression). No drug ever told me “how do you do”, nor would I have ever answered to such a greeting. The simple truth is that before one touches drugs for the first time, all kind of moral fuses have already blown, and the drugs have been touched exactly because the fuses have blown. To say that a drug addiction is something that “happens” is the same as to say that pregnancy is something that “happens”. Hail “happens”, not crack. One can, to an extent, become an alcoholic very slowly, inadvertently increasing his drinking over many years and without really noticing a problem is being created. But one can’t become a crack addict without a conscious decision to do something very, very bad. Crack goes in when values have gone out, it doesn’t sneak into your life together with your steak.

This is not understood anymore in a world unable to think in term or self-responsibility, let alone coercion to it. These things aren’t done nowadays. What is expected is some slight, sensitive suggestion about the opportunity of avoiding “bad choices” (another extremely hypocritical expression; as if one were talking of chocolate, or vanilla) and nothing more than unrestricted, strictly “non-judgemental” understanding and moral support once the choices have been, well, bad. Strangely enough, I know a lot of people who grew up in an environment where the idea that taking drugs could have been a “choice” was utterly inconceivable; something that wouldn’t make it in the stupidest fantasies of a person, let alone in the vocabulary and everyday language! It’s not a choice, it’s in-con-cei-va-ble!

The political correctness, the refusal of being “judgemental”, the culture of never forbidding anything and never coercing to anything is 50% of a drug addiction. The other 50%  is, of course, the stupidity and immorality of the individual, and there is no way of denying that even if the first 50% were to be absent, someone would manage to get to 100% of the recipe purely out of his own stupidity. But a lot of lives would be saved, because even stupid people would be helped to be saved from themselves.

And so here we are, with political correctness continuing to kill people, and everyone so desirous of feeling good whenever an addict dies and thus piously paving the way for the next one, who will let them feel good again. All the while, our brilliant politicians will criminalise all of us for our glass of red wine, a beautiful way to increase nanny-ism and taxation at the same time.

Please, please do not plague me with those stupid messages saying “have you ever had a drug addicted relative”.

No I haven’t. Not among my siblings, my cousins, my chosen friends at school or university.

It was never in the cards. It really wasn’t.

We were raised in the proper way, by people who loved us more than they loved “feeling good” and “non judgemental”.


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