Masque [mask, mahsk]: a form of aristocratic entertainment
in the16th and 17th Centuries…elaborate productions
delivered by amateur and professional actors.
Addicts are actors. We hesitate to reveal who we really are because we are ashamed, and we develop an act that we perform for the rest of the world. Friends and family think they know who we are, and initially it may be that a bit of the “real” us peeks through, but addiction changes that. Every addict is an actor, and we each star in our own masque. The difference is that actors are most proficient at the ends of their careers; we aren’t.
As our addictions progress and we become more enmeshed with the substance or behavior, the circumstances force our masks to harden. We become secretive to protect our addictions, and often try to hide it with “sincerity” or grandiose gestures. We make up legends to explain who we are, and why we behave a certain way. As we do so, we draw farther and farther away from everyone else’s reality, and into a world of our own. Rarely does the sun shine in, and neither do we shine out.