[lit-ideas] Re: a million little pieces

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 20:22:31 -0500

> [Original Message]
> From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 1/16/2006 3:28:02 PM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: a million little pieces
> It's curious to me that if one exhibits several 
> symptomatic factors of an addiction (in the 
> "disease" parlance) they are said to be diseased. 
> If however, after extensive interviews, they 
> display to their 'aide' that they can stop and the 
> do in fact stop, then the aide falls back on the 
> circular argument that "oh, well then you aren't 
> really addicted in the first place."
> ____
> Q: What is an alcoholic?
> A: Someone who drinks more than their doctor.
> Twelve-step AA people have their own circular 
> arguments. You have a disease against which you 
> are powerless, according to those folk. When you 
> "hit bottom," you go to the AA rooms and seek help 
> to stay sober. You follow their program and its 
> ideology, etc., not to cure  disease but to place 
> it in remission, sort of. Thus if you decide to 
> stop drinking by yourself, reject the AA ideology, 
> you still have the disease, but you are what they 
> call a "dry drunk," which is like an accident 
> waiting to happen.
> What doesn't change is the diagnosis: disease. 
> Everything else can change.
> _Infinite Jest_ by David Foster Wallace has a good 
> presentation of this ideology, probably as a 
> result of Wallace's experience in rehab. Wallace 
> also advances his own notion of the connection 
> between "entertainment" and addiction.
> The Greek word translated as "lust" in the New 
> Testament essentially means "excessive love for a 
> good thing." 

The difference between love and excessive love is like the difference
between water and excessive water.  Water is great, but if you had a foot
of it in your living room, that's a problem.  

You like Bombay Negronis too much and 
> that cocktail becomes a false idol, causing you to 
> violate the First Commandment. And so on.
> I don't know what to make of any of these notions 
> of addiction. Twelve step supposedly helps a lot 
> of people, but it sounds cultish and fascist. 

Or accepting and guiding, depending on one's perspective.

> disease model of addiction seems a betrayal of the 
> human will. Wallace's notion is interesting but is 
> it useful? And the biblical lust model pins every 
> love on an absolute which is by definition unknowable.

Will is not even useful for new year's resolutions.  With addiction it's

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