Devil or Angel? — kittens and other addictions

Devil or Angel?


By Bill

“Oh, wow! What a great ping-pong ball!”

“Omigosh! Look at the great box!”

“Omigod! Omigod! Omigod! The people are home!”

“Hot damn! Look at the big guy’s tail!”


There are a few things as cute as a kitten, but not very much that’s cuter. They are endlessly entertaining, cuddly, can amuse themselves for half an hour with the plastic strip off the top of a vitamin bottle, and if we could harness all that energy we could forget about cold fusion.

Young predators are the way they are because they need to develop smarts, reflexes, strength and skills rapidly. Every pounce, every dive into an empty box, every ambush of a big person’s ankle is a learning experience — training for the very real job of feeding themselves and eventually their families. In the wild, every trip outside the den is exposure to dozens of hungry things much bigger than they’ll ever be. They don’t have time to develop the skilz, so they come pretty much hard-wired, but strength and experience are gained in play.

Then they leave Mom, and the den, and their lives from then on are about eating and not being eaten, and making and caring for little cats. In fact, that’s the way of the world: the first things that multi-celled animals need are ways to get food, water and shelter, then companionship, and then laid.

We’re programmed to have sex early and children often, because it’s a nasty old world out there; despite our pretensions toward philosophy, philanthropy and our place in the scheme of things, our natural cycles are like our cousins farther down the family tree. There’s a reason for that: a powerful instinctive drive to do what we have to do to keep the tree healthy and growing.

In order to make sure we do what’s needed, we get a biiiig jolt of pleasure for completing our reproductive chores. We get a hit thinking about it, continual hits while we’re doing it, and a huge one when we’ve finished the job. And a fine thing it is. The technical term for multi-celled creatures who don’t have sex of some kind is “extinct.” It’s hard to believe, but without chemical encouragement to complete our chores, “extinct” would be us! Who’d bother having sex if it wasn’t fun?

A sex addict, that’s who. Like other forms of chemical stimulation, sex can be overdone big-time. Pharmaceutical aficionados eventually reach a point where it’s impossible to get high and using is simply a way to stop feeling badly for a little while, and so do those who abuse sex and use it as a drug. Eventually our brains become so accustomed to the constant stimulation that the best we can do is no longer enough. We have to reach higher, stretch farther, do more and more outrageous things, in order to keep getting that hit — and eventually we can’t reach far enough. The fun is gone, and we’re sexing simply to keep from feeling lousy.

There is no essential difference between sex addiction and any other addiction! The mechanisms are the same, the compulsions are the same and the results of over-indulgence are the same. Understanding that, and that we are powerless over our inability to get what we need in that way, is the first real milestone of recovery.

Just as with any other drug.

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