My Latest Addiction

Addiction by Ryan McGuire via Gratisography

My recent light bulb moment is that there aren’t “good” or “bad” addictions — only better or worse.

If tango is tearing a man’s life apart and leaving him without a family or basic needs, then it’s a “worse” addiction.

If someone is drinking or doing other typically harmful addictive behavior to themselves, then tango is at least “better” than those other choices..

In the end that’s what it’s about — a process of learning to make better choices. Moment by moment. Day by day. That’s why the credo of the addiction support groups is “one day at a time.”

Now this kind of addiction isn’t the chemical kind — where your body is lying to you and your brain is trying to kill you, as Jenny Lawson talks about. I can’t speak to that kind because I’m blessed to have a relatively “normal” chemical balance. (I know, sounds like I’m bragging.. sorry)

But it’s all a matter of degrees. Slowly we’re getting a better understanding of this complicated dance between thought and chemical. While energy may be the medium that connects them, their bond makes them as inseparable as night and day.

Recently, I found myself “addicted” to watching Dexter. If you haven’t watched this Emmy award-winning show, it’s a series about a serial killer that’s part crime serial, part dark comedy but well worth a look.

Dexter via Alphacoders

Although I’ve tried watching it before, it’s funny how sometimes “When the student is ready, the teacher appears..” as the Zen saying goes.

Spoiler Alert:- I won’t go into detail about the plot, but I want to talk freely about Season 2. So if you’re just getting started with watching the show, you may want to come back. Okay, you’ve been warned!

So, Dexter realizes that his addiction is killing people. But because of the skillful storytelling you fall in love with his character because we see our own flaws in his. It’s another great example of “artists using lies to tell the truth.”

Deep down he’s a good person. Dexter follows a “code” taught by his cop father and kills only the most vicious criminals, making him even more a “hero” in our eyes — albeit not a typical one.

Still, when his girlfriend (a single mother of two from a drug addict) mistakes his odd behaviors and late night disappearances as signs of an addict, he joins an addiction support group after she threatens to leave him.

What struck me was how Dexter faced his addictions and resolved it in different ways. On the one hand he was finally able to be honest with himself. That breakthrough offered him a freedom that he never felt before.

On the other hand Dexter realized that part of him is hard-wired differently — the way that apparently serial killers are. Even though he finally accepts this truth about himself, what makes him a hero isn’t that he magically changes this with some superpower.

Instead, a hero faces his darkest demons and somehow overcomes them. In the case of Dexter he chooses to kill other killers. It’s not a “good” addiction. It’s just a better one in our eyes.

Addictions are our habitual patterns of doing things. Through their art Indie Creatives share the secret of the hero’s journey — that by confronting our fears we have a chance to break out of these chains. It may not be blowing up the Death Star (excuse me, “Planet Killer”) but it’s the small victories of better choices that ultimately lead to the bigger triumph of a better life.

For more on how addictions are often our search the “real thing” vs. “toxic mimics”..

This is Day 23 of my #my500words challenge.

Don’t go it alone. Connect with a tribe of Indie Creatives or for more Indie Creative stories at Butterfly Formula. Or for my digital nomad journey and food travel adventures visit Tango Vagabond.

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