It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
Epictetus (55-135 C.E.)
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.
I was at a meeting last night where the subject was “bottoms.” The person who brought up the topic was fairly explicit about what he meant when he used the word, but it was clear from the discussion that some of the folks there had rather different ideas.
I had some of what some of those folks were calling bottoms. There was the foreclosure on our home because of my inability to pay attention to the details that could have prevented it. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, or that there wasn’t any money. I was making decent bucks at the time, but I was too messed up by alcohol and other drugs to focus. I felt horrible about losing the home, but it didn’t stop my drinking and drugging; in fact, they increased. Nothing like feeling horrible to give you an excuse to mood-alter. Continue reading