>Some readers know that I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I have been extraordinarily blessed, having put down the booze in August, 1981 and being clean since April, 1982.

But recovery is a daily matter, and continued sobriety is a function of rigorous honesty about who I am and what I become when I use alcohol and/or drugs. In the first and last analysis — if I use drugs or drink booze, I will go straight back to where I was when I began my clawing journey into responsible life 28 years ago.

Nothing more, and nothing less.

I was thinking about addiction as I took mass transit home from tonight’s Atlanta Tea Party. On the surface, the event was very successful; speakers claimed more than 15,000 people in attendance, and that number made sense based on my ground-level estimates. Several presenters also stated there were more than 800 separate Tea Parties held across America today. While the majority of folks at the Atlanta gig were over forty, there was a significant sprinkling of older children, teens, and college students. Most people were white, although there were a few Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and other ethnicities mixed in the crowd.

As I stood listening to the speakers, I kept listening and looking around for any signs (literally and figuratively) that folks actually understood politics in Comrade Barry “We Won” Soetero’s America, circa 2009.

The closest I saw?

One woman I spotted on my way to the transit station holding a sign which simply said, “Peaceful Attempt”.

But if I gotten up on stage and said, “Do you understand that by demanding the elimination of socialism from this country — which you claim to want — you are implicitly and necessarily demanding the end of

– Social Security;
– Medicare;
– Medicaid;
– the new prescription drug benefit for geezers;
– Federal aid to local schools;
– the deductibility of mortgage interest;
– subsidized student loans; and
– a myriad of other government transfer payments?”,

I would have been booed off the stage, at best.

And the Second Amendment?

Oh, no. Far too scary that topic, apparently, for the Tea Party organizers. Only two speakers mentioned gun rights, and let’s just say that those references were hardly Vanderboeghian.

Riding the MARTA train back to my parking garage, I realized where I had previously experienced the kind of cognitive dissonance I saw demonstrated en masse tonight by both speakers and attendees.

In a countless number of 12-step meetings, I had both attempted to alibi for myself and listened while others did the same about the realities and consequences of drug addiction:

“I wouldn’t drink, except for my lousy home life.”

“If you had my problems, you’d use drugs, too.”

“I don’t have a drinking problem. My spouse has the problem. I just drink to calm my nerves.”

Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.

Only when I learned that my only real problem was my addictions, and that every other issue was a consequence of those addictions, did I begin to turn around my life. Only by disciplining myself to understand that as long as I thought like a junkie, I would continue to act like a junkie, was I able to put those issues behind me (at least so far today, as we say in the “one day at a time” business).

With all due respect to the organizers, speakers, and attendees of the various Tea Parties, I would offer this observation:

Only by understanding that the overwhelming majority of Americans have become almost hopelessly addicted to government intervention in their lives can we, as a society and as individuals, begin to get free and clean from that vice.

So long as any American’s position on the relationship between state and individual can be reduced to “Let’s just go back to the amount of socialism (and its necessary correlative theft from my fellow citizens) that I liked”, that American is just as deranged and just as pathetic as an alcoholic who, after a bad incident, vows to avoid hard liquor and only drink wine in the future.

Recovery is always possible, even for the most dissipated of addicts.

I know.

But recovery simply is impossible until the junkie gets honest with himself about what the real problem is and who is responsible for that problem.

Be honest, America.

The real problem is not the politicians. They’re just doing what a majority of your fellow citizens have directed them to do at the ballot box.

The real problem is the junkie’s mindset in most Americans — young, middle-aged, and senior varieities — that it is both possible and morally acceptable to get other people’s money for yourself via state-sponsored theft by taxation.

Until people understand that addiction, we’re doomed.

14 responses to “>Junkies

  1. >Excellently and eloquently stated. Real liberty demands independence at the personal level as well as corporate.And my congratulations and “well done” to you, sir, for your personal achievement.

  2. >I realized where I had previously experienced the kind of cognitive dissonance I saw demonstrated en masse tonight by both speakers and attendees.I don’t accept the comparison. In the Jeffersonian model of ‘breaks my leg or picks my pocket’, a addict forcibly hurts only themselves; others around them have the freedom to sever their ties with the addict. Liberals, however, want to forcefully drain the blood and treasure of others. Liberals are vampires, monsters who seduce many of their victims with seductive talk, and overpower the ones they cannot seduce. Liberals make up the bulk of all political parties, from the elites to the grassroots. Most of the people who will read this comment are liberals. Yes, dear reader, I mean you.Concerned American, I think it’s really way past time you plunged a stake through the heart of this ‘restoration’ garbage, and formally pledged that you are not a vampire. Pledge that you personally reject as evil the goal of seeking power over others. You will not seek the ‘restoration’ of the constitution, or its replacement or upgrade to anything recognizable as a government, because you now understand the true goal of government is vampiric power over others.Only by understanding that the overwhelming majority of Americans have become almost hopelessly addicted to government intervention in their lives can we, as a society and as individuals, begin to get free and clean from that vice.This is collectivist group-think mush. You say the majority is addicted to government intervention in their lives. Who exactly did this intervention? In who else’s lives? What was this intervention comprised of? Did it threaten to kill anybody? I suppose that similarly, no persons own responsibility for the actions of the recently murdering, thieving pirates? Most especially, the pirates themselves don’t own responsibility for their actions, they were just hopelessly addicted to intervening in others lives, and society made them this way?The correct analysis is that each individual human being in that majority of Americans cannot escape full adult responsibility for their decision to act as a vampire, vote for a vampire, and give aid and comfort to vampires. Being morally retarded as a result of being jailed in public schools might mean they don’t have consciously criminal motivations…but as you observe they’re entirely unwilling to stop looting others, so perhaps they understand their own motivations perfectly well. Most Americans have the mindset of a pirate, not a junkie. It is a sick irony that the American bald eagle is a kleptoparasite. Ben Franklin was right, the wild turkey is a better role model.One way to make collectivist thinking more apparent to yourself is to stop using variations of the word “we” in your writing. Unless some list of specific named persons have made the unforced choice to hire you to represent them in some matter, you speak for no “we”. You can no longer write “we, as a society”, because there is no such we.

  3. >Me too – drink and drugs (Cannabis).Been clean of alcohol since May 1977, and Cannabis since Feb 2006.That I can still remember the start dates tells me it’s something I still have to fight on a daily basis, even though I don’t consciously feel any desire for either.Squeaky clean and STAYING squeaky clean. Until death.

  4. >Peter, That was a most excellent post. Thank you for sharing that.Certainly one cannot make an addict rehabilitate. That desire to change and take personal responsibility must come from within (as seen by examples not limited to drugs and alcohol). I am offered a sliver of hope seeing how many people rallied. Perhaps some understand this position. Perhaps others will pursue the ideals of personal responsibility for government. No doubt many are drawn in to the protest because it is “the fashion”, everyone is talking about it. Unfortunately, my new found hope is dwarfed by my concerns about those in office. No doubt they have heard the message from over 800 TEA parties around the U.S.A. However… it will be business as usual for them. They won’t care. Their goals have not changed. Their ideals and decision trees remain the same, I’m afraid.One day’s worth of protest is not going to leave an indelible mark on this country. We will soon rest on our laurels saying, “2009 TEA Party… I was there… I did something” …but not enough. The politicians will soon forget about it and the sheep will go back to graze.If these rallies started happening more and more frequently, who knows, maybe there it will really be heard as something more than a passing fancy. We fancy our republic back.

  5. >Anon:Re “addicts forcibly only hurt themselves”, your experience with junkies has apparently been more positive than mine.Re the groupthink mush, perhaps a better way of stating the cited thought would be “only through repudiating government benefits can each individual begin to recover.”Re “I vs. we”, I understand your point. You are not authorized to speak for me, and vice versa. Hence the use of the second person plural is inappropriate.Thanks to all commenters for your thoughts.

  6. >You are brilliant! You made me think and realize that I am only a recovering socialist, not yet the Libertarian that I strive to be!Thank you – and you should sent this to your local paper for the editorial page. (if anyone still reads it!)

  7. >Re “addicts forcibly only hurt themselves”, your experience with junkies has apparently been more positive than mine.There is plenty of alcoholism in my family. The idea of individuals with property rights over their bodies informs me with workable boundaries, even when the emotional implications are horrible.”only through repudiating government benefits can each individual begin to recover.”Pirates can recover from mental illness on their own time. When they are boarding a ship to rape, murder, and steal, they are predatory defectives to be repelled with gusto. I don’t cut pirates or Nazis any slack for ‘casting the winning majority votes of a new social contract’; that would just mark my acquiescence into their plan to hurt me. Human nature pulls you to be swept along with the herd. Fight it: you won’t be handcuffed into a boxcar, you won’t be disarmed, you maintain a clear distinction between piracy and vice, and you won’t think “we” in the collective political sense.Re “I vs. we”, I understand your point. You are not authorized to speak for me, and vice versa. Hence the use of the second person plural is inappropriate.”Inappropriate”?? Thinking “we” puts you in the camp with ‘compassionate pirates’. The line between camps is not between small-government libertarians and big-government liberals, it is between liberty and the slightest particle of collectivism. On the fixed rock of consent, “We the people” and all other such schemes founder and sink: http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north445.html

  8. >the tea parties are distinctly neocon-flavored. why so much attention in the media to them?well, ok, oath keepers is still young. it will be noticed this weekend, at least. what else?appleseed. it is everywhere, and growing. at my first appleseed, we were buzzed by a cessna. there are no landing strips near that particular range, just an air force base.in my rough and limited estimation, the tea parties are just a distraction from what is truly important: credible deterrence.and, in my rough and limited estimation, somebody, somewhere, knows it.

  9. >BRAVO,On you recovery and the BEST analogy i have read in a long time.JasonIII

  10. >Yes, Americans have become addicted to big government, but in fact, the government takes so much of the average person’s money in so many different ways that if he had that money, he wouldn’t need all those “welfare programs” but, of course,he isn’t aware of that. The fact is, people are so brainwashed that they consider a tax refund as money given to them by the government instead of money that the government has taken illegally and had free use of for a year. Try using some bank’s money for a year without paying interest! We didn’t get this way overnight. It’s been a long time in coming to the point at which many Americans feel helpless without the Nanny State. But we can still fight if we’re willing to take the abuse that will be heaped upon us by government and its minions in the press and foolish, addicted Americans who haven’t a clue that we’re trying to save them too.

  11. >You are a smart one Peter. You are doing good work here, keep it up.Luckyman out

  12. >As an addictive personality with some time in 12 steps myself, I feel for you bro’ and know exactly from where you speak and all I can say is you are spot on in your observation and comparison.

  13. >Sir,First, congratulations on your accomplishment. Your shining example also tells us why the nation at large cannot be saved at this point.Such a small percentage of the addicts out there do as well as you do and to pull out of this we will need to break the addiction of a large majority of the populous.Unfortunately, I do not see that happening.At this point, I think that the best we can do is to see to the surviveability of our families and associates.Again, congratulations on you ongoing victory.