Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Quote of the Day (James Taylor, on How Addiction ‘Freezes You’)

“A big part of my story is recovery from addiction…One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don’t develop, you don’t learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them, and finding out what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, by relating with other people. You short-circuit all of that stuff and just go for the button that says this feels good over and over again. So you can wake up, as I did, at the age of 36, feeling like you’re still 17. One of the things you learn as you get older is that you’re just the same.”—Singer-songwriter James Taylor quoted in Paul Sexton, “James Taylor: ‘A Big Part of My Story is Recovery From Addiction',’” The Telegraph (U.K.), June 20, 2015

I have thought of Taylor’s quote a great deal in thinking of the current opiod crisis and its origins. The first indication of massive U.S. drug addiction came early in the late 19th and early 20th century, when Civil War veterans turned to a variety of “medicines” for pain management. James Taylor’s form of “pain management,” however, was of a different sort: to ward off the depression that continually afflicted him in his youth (a trauma recorded in his harrowing "Fire and Rain").

The recent manifestation of the opiod crisis really came out of left field, as far as I am concerned, but I doubt if it would have surprised Taylor in the slightest. He has spoken for a whole generation in enduring and getting through all manner of pain. I hope that many others in the U.S. now find the kind of help he was eventually able to do.

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