Addiction – path or trauma or both?

Posted: 14/02/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, Struggle
Tags: ,

Russell meets Matthew Todd, a gay rights activist, erstwhile editor of “Attitude” magazine.

To decide on whether you listen to this depends on how much you are aware of the gay issue. My general attitude towards gender and sexuality issues is that of tolerance, it is not my business what sexual activity people participate in or how they socialise if it is considerate to others. That was until I became active in the NUT in the 80s, and a gay colleague told me that the level of trauma was leading to suicide, and how section 28 was enshrining that in law. What Matthew said was interesting but did not add.

Under liberalism systemic violence has regulatorily disappeared but that does not mean the trauma has gone as there are always “such” people – especially now there will be a rise because human decency is not a public and political value under Trump and Brexit. By this I mean that there were always awful people in the UK but they tended to keep to themselves, but with the move to the right such ignorant violence has become publicly acceptable. Of course, gays would suffer from this.

But in general Matthew feels things are improving.

I further note that he briefly discussed intersectionality in order to include all gender groups as well as Black and Asian interests, with his omission of class my blog agreeing with Black Agenda Report has particular reference.

It was interesting to hear Matthew discuss the addiction that was prevalent in his “gay” lifestyle, and how he had difficulty with the addiction. He noted that addiction was a mental state rather than simply an attraction and attachment to the substance. That just reminds me of the 4 Noble Truths.

Russell and Matthew discussed the relationship between youthful trauma and addiction. I began considering my own addiction, an addiction that I associate with following the path. My addiction started at uni where I was unnaturally immature – an immaturity that I have always felt was a path defence mechanism. I tended to do what everyone else did without any conviction, there was nothing they were doing that I wanted to do – I just did it. There was no trauma, very little bullying – I dished out more bullying than I received in my school years (mostly to my younger brother). Yet there was suffering, the suffering of repression that I dealt with by walking endlessly.

When I think of those early years immaturity I think of incredible shyness, a sound defence mechanism for my vulnerable ignorance, and totally uncontrolled classroom buffoonery. I recall something like a joke occurring out loud and I just kept pushing it, uncontrollably pushing it, until I was chastised. At uni the immaturity hid behind the booze where I had a public mask for meeting people – a pathetic mask.

I see this immaturity as a struggle around the path trying to express itself but unable to do so because of repression, the repression that was an education system of a society that is distanced from the path, and a home where repression was the byword. The immaturity held desire, desire that was not bounded personally but was controlled by repression at home, fear of others at school and in society, and yet a desire that demanded fulfilment where I felt I could. But this was trivial desire, just desire for anything, if I wanted something I got it or was stopped, I didn’t stop myself

And I was not bounded by morality, something I only learned towards the end of my second childhood. For me the maturing process is concerned with internal expression and control, as a child I did not express, I desired without control, and desires were acted out depending on repression or the resulting fear.

Are these the mechanisms of every teenager? Or is there more internal sense or motivation to most teenagers? When I consider teenagers I have taught I see that behaviour is worse, but I also see more self-control. In the 10 years between the end of my schooling and the beginning of my teaching, the education system had thrown out repressive discipline, mainly they had got rid of the cane without replacing it with anything. By the time I was teaching, school discipline was awful; I should note I was a student at a grammar school and my first job was in a Brixton comprehensive. With the controls of institutional discipline being minimal students were left to their own motivations, and for most there was little. But some. To discipline the students, I would appeal to their desire for education. I have no idea how much that was a trained response on their part, but I equally know if I had been asked at the time why I was at school the answer would not be education.

Where I am going with this is self-expression, following the path. I suffered but not traumatically, but for both Russell and Matthew their restricted self-expression was trauma. Matthew described the way he acted out as a teenager for social acceptability because his expression as a gay adolescent was being repressed. I am less sure with Russell but I suspect that his search for the path got hidden behind celebrity, rejection of society and “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”; his book “Revolution” fits in with this, perhaps if I read “Recovery” it will be the same. This failure at self-expression was a failure to follow the path albeit the limited path of a teenager.

When as an adult after my upheaval the relationship between my addiction and following the path was much clearer. Once I made the decision to teach, writing was the only possible alternative but was never viable – I have never felt that my writing could be commercial and I never had the commitment to writing I have now, the path as educator and the job of teaching became increasingly in conflict to the extent that I “retired” early at 34 and wasn’t drinking – although I hadn’t taken the pledge. Personal financial circumstances drew me back into teaching, and three years later I was fortunate enough to stop drinking – ending my alcoholism. By now my teaching path was cemented, and conflict without addiction is how I lived for nearly 20 years ameliorated by travel for the last 14 years. As a teacher I was not expressing the writer, and it took me 10 years of addiction to accept that. And that was when I thought I was an educator. So I question whether addiction arises out of trauma or does it arise out of conflicts concerning the path?

If I am correct, for Russell the problems will continue as he himself says he has not found the path – part of the purpose of Under the Skin. With Matthew I know little of him as well. His life is bound up with his sexuality, and his expression through being a gay activist appears to have given him purpose. How much is this the path? As a human being I cannot answer that. If a gender is repressed and unable to express, then nature will demand that expression thus providing activists. But determining one’s gender is not the purpose of the path, helping your gender express their spirituality of course is – gay activism is not the path but can help towards it.

Matthew was single and sexually active (based on what was said he was born around 1974), but there was a discussion on monogamy as the issue of gay loneliness came up. Russell described Matthew’s approach as spiritual, I am not sure I agree. The younger you are the spiritual issue that is hardest to deal with is attachment to desire as lust – sexual desire; this disappears naturally with age and maturity except for those with serious attachment issues. Following the 4NT, lust is something to let go on the spiritual path; neither Russell nor Matthew were discussing this – at their age neither was I. Maybe discussing “letting go of lust” ought to be on the agenda for spiritual 40-somethings???

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Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

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