Political Junkies: Can one be an addict and not even know it?


flashes of genius, adrenalin-ly addictive

The obvious answer is yes, otherwise why write a blog on it? This is coming from a nearly-retired, certified professional therapist/counselor, with thirty-plus years of clinical experience. I say nearly retired; I no longer charge or get any accolades from being part of the helping professions. But some things stay the same; once people find out you were a counselor or a minister, suddenly ten years of stuffed needs come screaming to the surface for help—and free answers.

 I originally specialized in drug and alcohol addictions, as well as working with people with compulsive obsessive disorders, so I am seldom caught off guard by what I call the addictive-compulsive-obsessive-personality (or A-COP) when I find myself, as I often do, in their fine company.  Some of my best friends and my parental units had/have this malady.

“Hmmm… looks like a bad case of A-COP, I’d say. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning…”

On the positive front, all forms of frenzied, mental outpourings can have their exciting moments. In fact, some of the greatest works of art, literature, music, inventions and scientific breakthroughs have been the result of these fevered strokes of brilliance. Many  political giants as well had some form of A-COP (My made-up term).

One form of A-COP that seldom gets its share of discussion is the A-COP person endearingly called “the political junkie.” My sweet mother has one of the strongest cases of A-COP (political junkie-ism) that I’ve known. My Mom is a smart, well-educated woman, a retired psychiatric nurse that spent most of her adult life working in State hospitals with mentally ill adolescents.

My mom and her husband Lo live in Northwest Washington with a home overlooking whale-infested Puget Sound. A typical morning in Mom’s house: one awakens to hear two big-screen TV’s ablaze, one in her bedroom, one in the living room, both competing for attention; one showcasing Fox News, one CNN. Okay, that may not seem so over the top, but she also has several radios tuned in to every news radio channel available, programmed to play throughout the day. While Mom is keeping track of 5 news feeds, Lo is on the internet following every political thread that leans his direction. This political season is turning into a Pandora’s box grand opening, like I’ve never seen. All I can do is pray they will eat and not starve. Or, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up–but I can still watch my news, so it’s all good.”

Now, Mom and Lo are out-front addicts. Most people who are political junkies are slightly more discreet– but don’t be fooled by their ability to act normal in public. As soon as they are alone, they are stoking up and guzzling down their drug of choice: political news.


“heard it on MSNBC *hic* Obama’sh mole on his ear dishcovered t’be a hidden camera, transhmittin’ information to Al Qaida…”

One of the reasons I recognize this so easily is not because of my professional training, but  because I’m an addict as well, though I’ve managed to stay relatively clean for 8 years or so. I always live with the understanding, because of my addictive nature (sin or disease nature, as AA would call it), that I am one political news thread away from letting the genie out of the bottle, one news-brief update guzzle away from ending up in the political gutter, spewing gurgling sounds about Obama and Mitt and every last conspiracy theory that America will slip into  Mormonism or Muslim-ism within 90 days of the election.

This temptation of highly- addictive material screams to the addict: “You’ve never tried anything this good!” “This is the best high and it may never come around again!” “This is $200 malt whiskey,” or, “absolutely pure cocaine with a potency kick”. . . straight out of hell.

Even those with mere social addictions to politics can eventually end up alone in the gutter. It starts with an innocent righteous indignation and ends up with the harder stuff: smoldering anger, all-out battles and subsequent alienation.

I guess to be human is to be political. One of the reasons I do not believe my ancestors were apes, though some may seem that way, is the great extent to which we all are political creatures. Politics just doesn’t exist in nature. Science tells us that out of the vast blackness of nothingness, suddenly life or pre-life popped into existence. If they are anywhere near right, what popped out of the great nothingness was a political agenda.

In fact, one can argue that politics began with God and Satan. Satan decided to make a run for God’s job, ended up with  30% of the angel electorate on his side and when God got wind of it, instead of smashing Satan for his addiction, he black-balled Satan from all need to be seen at special events and down-sized his office space as a rightful punishment. So the first act of  political junkie-ism ever recorded was considered the first evil. Wouldn’t you know it, this was a political move that some may call democracy in action.

Some very ill A-COP sufferers, that is.

Coming up: Part 2, Addicted and Proud of It

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  1. You guys left administrative control at my house, so I fixed a few typos–Ha Ha.

    As for the writing? Great stuff. As a son, you hope your parents don’t embarrass you in public, and then in this type of medium, I’m hoping I don’t have to link your blog and be hesitant my friends will think it’s garbage. No such problem here. I’m proud of this blog, and your writing is fantastic. Keep up the good work, and together we will force publishers to take notice of our abilities.


  2. Dan

     /  September 25, 2012

    Wooohooo! I’m already addicted to the blog. Like the painting up top too. Is it the view from Sarver?


    • Dan, the painting is from Mt. Angel Abbey, but you know, you’ve seen one view, you’ve seen them all. What, this coming from a painter? I think you read this blog before we even edited the new post…didn’t know it was ready for public consumption. Speaking of that, I want to use your cartoon if I may.


  3. I was recently considering addiction and the way it works myself… (I think I have a particularly addictive personality). I can only echo the comments above, (despite not being family!) very well written, and I’m looking forward to the next.


  1. Political Junkies: Can one be an addict and not even know it? « Plumbliners

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