Marchbooks' Blog

June 12, 2009

Chasing the Dragon – More Thoughts on Addiction by Janus Kane

The Little InsanityThe story, ‘The Little Insanity’ revolves around six 30-something people who are struggling with relationship and addiction issues. It is not that uncommon a dynamic. I think that one of the reasons why people relate to this story is because it is familiar. Although it is exaggerated, it mirrors many peoples’ lives. 

Admittedly, this story takes some of these issues to their extremes, extremes that most of us don’t experience in our own lives. This is another reason why people find the book appealing. It is comforting for us to be able to look at these characters and think, ‘see, my life is not that screwed up’.

Some readers may look at these characters and think, ‘I’m nothing like these people. I’m not an alcoholic, I don’t participate in risky sex and I don’t abuse drugs’. For those people, I might say, you are missing the point.

I believe that ‘The Little Insanity’ speaks more to our similarities than to our differences. Addictions are common to more of us than we would like to admit. Addictions are as varied as the people who cultivate them. They are not all as lethal as alcohol or drugs, but they can all rule our lives in ways we might not like to admit.

As different as addictions can be, they all share one common theme: all addictions spring from ‘The Pleasure Principle’. The most common human goal is the pursuit of pleasure, or conversely, the avoidance or pain. For some of us, that equates to suppressing bad memories, for others it means avoiding boredom and for the most extreme cases it means just feeling something. We are all bombarded with these feelings every day, the most common and debilitating of them is the recognition of our own mortality.

The only question that remains is how we will deal with those feelings. Will we go to the liquor cabinet or the refrigerator? Will we flop onto a mattress in a downtown crack house or onto a featherbed with your best friend’s spouse? Will we run our family into debt with credit card purchases or drive them crazy with our need to insinuate ourselves into their lives? Perhaps we will just numb our minds with hours in front of the television or computer.

Heroin addicts have used the term ‘chasing the dragon’ to mean their pursuit of the perfect high. I believe that we are all chasing the dragon. We are all in search of that one thing that will give our lives meaning, that will make us feel, that will define our place in this imperfect world.  Some of us find a healthy anchor to hold onto while others of us continue to chase the dragon. The unlucky ones among us catch the dragon, only to find out that he is mean and he has razor sharp teeth.

Until we realize that our lives are not perfect and they are not supposed to be perfect, we will constantly be in search of something to make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. Only when we stop pointing fingers at ‘those addicts’ will we be able to recognize our commonalities and become closer in our shared frailties.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: