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Addiction is a Funny Thing

January 29, 2013

When I was younger and a bit more naive, I thought my life entirely unaffected by addiction.  As I grew older and studied the Dharma, I began to understand that addiction doesn’t just apply to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other so-called vices.  Those are just the addictions which are less socially acceptable and more damaging.  In recent years, I’ve become aware of some of my own addictions – sleep, novels, television, coffee, approval, samsara – and tried to extrapolate some empathy and compassion for people who struggle with much greater challenges.

Another way I’ve tried to expand my horizons is by reading and listening to people discuss their addictions.  Which brings me to the meat of today’s post.  Friends and I were chatting about how many comedians have not only talked about their addictions, but how funny they were while being heart-breakingly honest about their personal suffering. I think comedians are blessed with a special wisdom, whether they’re trying to be funny or serious, such as in a couple of the below videos.  I hope you enjoy an learn from these examples as much as I do.  (Also, be prepared for course language.  Only warning.  Should be obvious.)

Craig Ferguson on being fifteen years sober and having compassion:

George Carlin speaks seriously to a young Jon Stewart about his alcoholic father and his own drug use:

Russel Brand speaks to the Home Affairs Committee of the British Parliament about drug addiction and abstinence-based recovery (full-length version is about 30 min):

Robin Williams on being “ethanol challenged” and an alternative diagnostic to the DSM:

This is, I hope, the first in a series of posts on the topic of addiction courtesy of my Buddhism and Addiction course this semester at University of the West.  We’ve been asked by our instructor, Tom, to keep a scrapbook, which I’ve chosen to do online in blog format.  As funny as these comedians can be, I don’t expect all the following posts to be equally irreverent. I’m open to accusations of insensitivity and ignorance on the topic.  That’s why I’m in the class.  However, if this brings up anything for you, my readers, I encourage you to share as you feel comfortable.  Comments can be posted under an anonymous screen name and I’d be interested in the feedback.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 10, 2013 9:53 pm

    I like the way you talked about your addiction. Addiction is not just about the intoxication that comes from intakes of various agents, it’s the phenomenon of getting stuck to single or multiple activities and you just can’t stop yourself from doing these things.

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