I started to write in about 1950; I was thirty-five at the time; there didn’t seem to be any strong motivation. I simply was endeavoring to put down in a more or less straightforward journalistic style something about my experiences with addiction and addicts.
INTERVIEWER: You regard addiction as an illness but also a central human fact, a drama?
BURROUGHS: Both, absolutely. It’s as simple as the way in which anyone happens to become an alcoholic. They start drinking, that’s all. They like it, and they drink, and then they become alcoholic. I was exposed to heroin in New York – that is, I was going around with people who were using it; I took it; the effects were pleasant. I went on using it and became addicted. Remember that if it can be readily obtained, you will have any number of addicts. The idea that addiction is somehow a psychological illness is, I think, totally ridiculous. It’s as psychological as malaria. It’s a matter of exposure. People, generally speaking, will take any intoxicant or any drug that gives them a pleasant effect if it is available to them. In Iran, for instance, opium was sold in shops until quite recently, and they had three million addicts in a population of twenty million. There are also all forms of spiritual addiction. Anything that can be done chemically can be done in other ways, that is, if we have sufficient knowledge of the processes involved. Many policemen and narcotics agents are precisely addicted to power, to exercising a certain nasty kind of power over people who are helpless. The nasty sort of power: white junk, I call it – rightness; they’re right, right right – and if they lost that power, they would suffer excruciating withdrawal symptoms. The picture we get of the whole Russian bureaucracy, people who are exclusively preoccupied with power and advantage, this must be an addiction. Suppose they lose it? Well, it’s been their whole life….. reposted from an interview with Conrad Knickerbocker in the Paris Review on NYE 1965 and re-pusblished at dangerousminds.net
i am not clear how much change the new year will see. however i am sure i have changed. having been at my workplace for 4 years has afforded me some peace of mind. i have become familiar with not using for several years and my emotions don’t seem to run the risk of sabotaging me any longer. don’t get me wrong- i am still overly impulsive at times-more than i would like- but my recovery process with regard to those impulses has become like a well-rehearsed swat team.
in moving forward this year, i hope to regain a sense of security that i misplaced a few years ago. i hope to work the steps again with a new sponsor and gain additional insight as well as let some further unneeded baggage go. i hope to pay off some debt that has been haunting for a few years and become a little less dependent on 2nd and 3rd incomes for entertainment. at this point, i am not sure i will ever write a short book, as i might have incorporated “confidentiality” to a fault in my writing that is public- or perhaps i should just be writing for myself with a privacy setting so no one can read. i know that somehow my spiritual connection to this online journaling has altered.
i registered for school last fall, however i never did follow up with it further and i would very much like to pursue this. i have considered painting as a form of expression. i have no idea if it is even something i can do, but i am very aware that paintings move me – and abstract and neo-expressionist works seem to grab my gut.
i spent nye day painting the office in the suburbs where i facilitate a meth recovery group. i enlisted the help of 2 persons whom i have worked with over the years and they came through with flying colors- pun intended. i sincerely hope that the metaphor of putting a new face on life for the new year somehow takes hold on them both.
i have made a new friend who appeared in my life almost like magic. uncertain of where we might land, i am very grateful for a new set of eyes and ears. and i am very blessed when i meet a new friend in recovery- it’s culturally competent. my intention is that a new relationship or two will continue to flourish within my world. i am hoping to head to chicago to be with friends and perhaps see “the book of mormon”. i will be ready for a break by that time. i would like to catch up with my cousin who lives in rogers park as well.
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