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September 2019
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Aerden [userpic]
Monday Update

Life in General: My Aunt Frances is still with us. She amazes me. Maybe she is trying to make it to her own birthday, now. I still have not gone back to see her because of this cold I have. I think I'm on the mend, but it doesn't seem a good idea to go see her when I'm still coughing and sneezing, even if I don't have a fever. The coughing sounds horrendous.

Fortunately, I saw my doctor this morning, and she's prescribed some steroids to reduce sinus tissue swelling. That should reduce the mucus and everything else, which will make the cough go away. By some miracle, I don't have bronchitis, so I'm thankful for that.

We are also monitoring the Imodium use. She's concerned that the Imodium might be masking symptoms--though I think, if I did have a Bad Infection of some sort, I'd be feeling sicker than I do. Right now, I feel okay, except for being wiped out by the cold.

TV: I saw an episode of Intervention tonight. I don't usually watch the show, because I don't consider watching family train wrecks to be entertainment. I think what interested me was that the woman on the show was addicted to Percocet (among many other pills), the first dose of which she took for a migraine.

I remember when I was creating my Pern character Aerden, and I knew when I created him that I didn't want him to be an addict. He has an appallingly high tolerance to fellis, but he is, at least, ruthless about taking it only for migraines and not otherwise. I wanted to tell a story of hysterical amnesia and how it haunted someone. A struggle with addiction didn't appeal to me, and it still doesn't.

I guess the honest truth is that I look on it as a character flaw. Not to say that I think non-addicts are 'better' people than addicts. What I mean is that it takes strength to stay off the stuff. Non-addicts--if you've never been tempted, how can you claim to be strong? Recovering addicts, I think, are very, very strong people. But there is the issue that no one forces you to continue taking a drug you know you shouldn't take.

I don't mind giving a protagonist weaknesses, but, for the purposes of writing, addiction is a weakness that becomes the character's primary struggle; it swallows up all other concerns into its maelstrom. Could Frodo Baggins have managed the journey to Mordor and back if he'd been an addict? I don't think he could have. He would have been desperate for a fix by the time he got to Bree. He might not even have left the Shire. And if he had gotten past Bree, he'd have been in really bad shape, the rest of the way. I don't want to write that kind of character. I see them on Dog: The Bounty Hunter every Wednesday. I prefer to let the inner weakness be something else.

I don't know if that makes me a bad writer or not, that I'm unwilling to go that far. Someone once said that we write our trauma, and I guess drug addiction just isn't my trauma. One thing that Intervention has shown me is that drug addiction is difficult to overcome, and it takes a lifetime of daily struggle and a lot of determination. I don't know if I could do it. It doesn't happen magically, and you don't always get a happy ending. Sometimes, you just get half a loaf.

I have to say, though, that if any drug addict had understandable reasons for being an addict, this woman would be it. Her father is an alcoholic who abstains from alcohol for nine months of each year. Her mother not only enabled her father's alcoholism but denied that he hurt the daughter and her sisters as children. She also enabled the daughter's Percocet addiction. The daughter was taking a truly terrifying amount of Percocet each day. I don't know how she was still alive, by the time people intervened.

I hope she is still off the drugs. She has gotten away from her parents, which I think is a good thing. Unfortunately, she also left her husband and children. Not so good. I'm not sure whether this is a case of 'Half a loaf is better than none' or not. I will say she's better off than the alcohol addict they had on, the last time I saw the show. I never would have believed alcohol could lay claim to a person as deeply as it did to that woman. If I remember correctly, she pretty much went back to the vodka. Truly tragic.

I'll watch Castle next, then go to bed. I'm still feeling tired from this cold.

Current Mood: draineddrained

The thing about Frodo is that he was descending into addiction, in a way—Ring addiction.

Aunt Frances sounds like a strong lady.

Hope you feel better!

We REALLY need to sit down some day and have a LONG talk about substance abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, and addictive personalities. I could give you LOTS of understanding that you won't get from medical books. The medical community in the US is just now starting to recognize addiction for the disease it is and not a character or personality flaw. And having the self discipline to overcome an addition and/or remain clean and sober takes more than will and determination.

It takes love--love for yourself and love from others, I think.


It takes more than that, too. That's a part of it, but it's not the whole picture. It's much more complex than that.