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Henri-Lucien Cheffer: Soldiers and a Cannon (1915)
"'Twas always thus and still is."

Friday morning, 2am, I'd taken that remaining last half pill of the prescription I'd been given to help me break my nicotine addiction. I felt reasonably confident that I'd gotten past the worst of this withdrawal, eased by my patience, my common sense, and that prescription. I'd responded poorly to the drug at first, for it seemed to make my difficult situation worse, so I suspended taking it for a few weeks there in the middle, but as I began to feel more confident that I was successfully edging myself off the addiction, I reintroduced that medication into the mix. It hadn't made me feel so crazy that second round. I was down to just the drug, no secret supplemental placating the addiction. I'd ditched the source and had wisely left myself just this one recourse. When I reached the end of the prescription, I'd be done.

Halfway through that last day, though, I noticed myself sort of floating. My head was screaming something at me but my ears were fuzzy and I couldn't quite comprehend.
I felt inordinately exhausted. I shuffled through the afternoon and barely made it through the evening. I attempted to renew the prescription, just in case, I told myself, but I recognized an addict's attempt to prolong the separation, a form of continuing the addiction. I might have become addicted to the medication prescribed to disrupt my addiction, continuing the pattern ad infinitum. The pharmacy was out of stock, though, and could not predict when their supply might be restored. Oh Shit! If I had become addicted to the addiction-busting prescription, I would finally be experiencing cold turkey withdrawal. Now, not never. I'd be Blowin'ItUp on exit rather than just casually strolling away, as I'd imagined the prescription would allow. However much I'd tried to avoid this experience, there it was and here it is now.

It seems that this drug, primarily used to help nicotine addicts break their habit so that they might avoid contracting cancer, had itself recently come under suspicion as a possible carcinogen and had therefore been temporarily recalled from pharmacy shelves. Irony intrudes into the story. I began searching for details on just what I'd been taking and I learned that it might have been worse than what I'd grown addicted to, a poison taken to counteract the effects of another poison, neither particularly healthy. I feel as though I've fallen in with one of those Bad Crowds my parents used to caution me about. The road to ruin features many twists and turns. Some turns seem headed more in the direction of salvation, but aren't. There might never be any turning back from anything. The way around is almost always through the thick of it, attempts to avoid, often fruitless. Eventually, such situations seem to insist upon someone or something just Blowin'ItUp, going discontinuous before sorting out the change.

The careful way usually seems most prudent, but not everything can be reached by established routes. Some change can only occur if chased into existence. Some pasts can only ever be escaped by Blowin'ItUp on exit. Disruption, though, is no sure-fire prescription, It's not the way to achieve every shift. Some differences can only ever be accomplished by careful construction. It's rare, in my experience, that disruption results in genuine improvement. It might reliably produce difference, but most often leaving something worse, certainly in the short run if not in the longer. They say the worst withdrawal effects of this drug occur within the first three days. By the time that medication's available, I'd have to be crazy to start taking it again. By then, I imagine, I will have survived the trial by fire and be safely secure on the opposite side of this. There'll be no reason to let me down easy after I've already landed hard.

I've been noticing recursion around me again. Experiences seem to be echoing their patterns at every level. What first seemed like a reasonable transition back into The Villa, increasingly seems as though we've conspired with ourselves to be Blowin'ItUp instead. In the middle, it seems like an irredeemable mess, of course, and some days I feel filled with remorse that we couldn't have just been more satisfied with what we already had. Why did we insist upon improvement when we might have just accepted what we'd already achieved? Improvement, as usual, meant some serious short-term worsening of danged near everything. Our attempts at betterment make things worse before they get better. Medicine tastes awful for a reason. 'Twas always thus and still is. How does one get addicted to a drug prescribed to break an addiction?

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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