The Fiat Crack Addict is Convulsing and Headed Straight for The DTs

For years I have seen strong parallels between the self destructive gyrations of the terminally addicted and the nation states of today who are all following similar paths to self immolation. I suppose I shouldn’t assume that the reader is in agreement with me that the world’s economic and social systems are in deep trouble and headed for a disastrous fall. On the other hand if you don’t agree with this assessment, it seems odd that you would be reading this in the first place. So for the sake of brevity (something I usually avoid at all costs) let’s agree that the issues we are facing are unprecedented in this so-called modern economic era and move on.

Those who have never been, or are not currently, addicted to drugs, alcohol or any other addictive substance or state of mind, can never quite comprehend what addiction is really all about. Take alcohol for example. If you have never experienced the absolute inability to stop after just two or three beers, or two or three drinks, the idea of being completely and utterly unable to stop drinking until you are thoroughly drunk or passed out is simply beyond comprehension. “Just stop for crying out loud. What the hell’s wrong with you?”

Oh sure, we might be able to ‘understand’ addiction, meaning we can indulge in the intellectual process of imagining what it is like by putting ourselves in their shoes. And no doubt this does bring about a greater understanding. But to truly comprehend the total body, mind and spiritually destructive experience of being thoroughly addicted is simply impossible for those who are not, or have never been, addicted. Period! Full stop! If you were to spend some time talking to people who were at one point or another completely engulfed by their addiction and who now have substantial recovery time under their belt, I would wager most of them would agree with my assessment.   

Not being able to comprehend holds true for many other ‘normal’ life events as well, though we don’t think about them in quite the same way. For instance, it is simply impossible for me, a male, to comprehend what it is like to be pregnant and to bear a child. There are some things that must be experienced firsthand in order to comprehend them. I can possess a tremendous amount of empathy for those who are pregnant and/or have given birth and I may even have a sincere and genuine desire to know what it is like. But in this case, unless I actually become pregnant and then give birth, something I cannot physically do, I just can’t comprehend in any meaningful or substantial way what pregnancy and childbirth is all about.

And I deliberately use the word ‘comprehend’ here rather than ‘know’ or ‘understand’ because the level of internalization and embodiment implied when using the words ‘comprehend’ or ‘comprehension’ is easily an order or two of magnitude greater than when merely saying that I understand something. If I am a male obstetrician, it is very likely that I understand quite well what it is like to give birth, but I can still never comprehend it. However, if I am any female who has given birth before I can both understand and comprehend the process and experience.

In this usage the difference between understanding and comprehending is as stark and self evident as night and day. And if you don’t believe me, ask the mothers around you for their opinion. I suspect they will be more than happy to oblige and will diligently fill you and me in on the details of our male (and childless female) ignorance.

I press this point in order to further this article’s line of reasoning, one that is not just missed, but often not even seen by the majority of us who are not addicted or have never been so. While we dismiss the antics of the Ponzi masters and their financial, political, corporate and military henchmen as [take your pick] crazy, out of touch, corrupt, conflicted, in denial, evil, in bed, bought and paid for, maniacs etc., in truth many of us are often completely flabbergasted by their seemingly self serving but ultimately self destructive behavior.

We can easily ‘understand’ what it is they are doing and even how they may and do benefit from their behavior. But at the same time our heads can never quite get around what it is they do and why they do it. It is foreign to us, it’s just not something we would ever really consider doing ourselves, regardless of the monetary or social gain. It just does not compute and I think this is one of the reasons why so many people tune out and turn away. The vast majority push it all aside in disgust or pass it off as just the children rough housing again, reason enough to just ignore them and hope they’ll eventually settle down.

I don’t wish to get into an in-depth discussion about the causes of addiction or if it is a disease or not, if it can be ‘cured’ or simply suspended or abated or any other of the controversial issues revolving around addiction. I think we can all agree that addiction does exist and it can strike just about anyone in any social and economic class. And the odds are pretty high that you, dear reader, are either addicted yourself or, far more likely, you have or had family, friends or acquaintances who are or were addicted.

Addiction Definition

If you feel none of this applies to you, just wait a little while longer because the odds are very much in my favor that you will eventually fit within this description. While you are waiting, can you think of anyone you know who smokes? If you can, add them and yourself to my grouping above because most certainly smoking is an addiction, just like drugs and alcohol. Only smoking is more socially acceptable (thought that is rapidly changing) and more importantly perfectly legal, at least in private. In fact, in some respects addiction to nicotine is worse than some drugs and alcohol for a multiple of reasons. Go talk to someone who hasn’t has a cigarette in 8 hours and see what they have to say on the matter.

However I would like to expand, at least for some, the definition of addiction and addictive behavior. You may remember the first sentence of the second paragraph where I said in part “or any other addictive substance or state of mind”. It is the ‘state of mind’ that most people don’t consider when listing addictions and this is a serious omission, deliberate in many cases, for to accept a wider characterization would force many to include themselves in their condemnation.

Few would disagree with me if I said that some people are addicted to gambling, sex, food or pornography. But would you also consider excessive use of the Internet or texting or work or even exercise as addictions, because I do?  There is also obsessive compulsive disorder or those who self injure and the Hollywood tabloids are more than happy to point out those who are addicted to plastic surgery or weight loss. Some addictions are more destructive than others, but still remain addictive behavior because (self) destruction is not one of the measures I use to identify addiction. It is primarily a state of mind that is often, but not always, enabled by addictive substances.

The list is shockingly long and growing by the week. And many of these do not involve an obvious physical dependency, at least not in the traditional sense of drugs and alcohol. It is not that these addictions are ‘different’ as much as they are more pure, if such a word could be used in this context. Talk once again to those recovering alcoholics and addicts and many will tell you that long after the physical dependency was flushed from their system, but still early in their recovery, there remained a ‘craving’ to fulfill their addiction. Their state of mind still existed in the addicted state and it is this that truly tormented them.

Thankfully for many who are in long term recovery, the compulsion subsides and might even disappear, though many tell me that occasionally and out of the blue the urge will suddenly flash back, similar to a sudden and sharp phantom pain of short duration and uncertain location. But my emphasis remains on the state of mind here because there is still some more definition expansion I wish to explore. Clearly while actual substance abuse can and is an integral part of many addictions, it is not a prerequisite for many others.

It seems to me that other states of mind might also be considered addictive, though many will try to bargain down from this frightening term and settle at the more emotionally and socially comfortable ‘excessive’, ‘obsessive’ or ‘obsessed’ to describe the following afflictions, primarily because they represent the core personal, business and governmental practices of Americans, America and the world.

It is quite clear and in my view irrefutable that some people, usually very rich and powerful but not always, are addicted to power, money and control in all its forms, including greed, hoarding, fear mongering, war, terror, oppression, manipulation, mind control etc. Again, the list is endless depending upon how fine you wish to slice the apple, which by the way was Eve’s obsession.


Debt Cocaine


(h/t image provided by williambanzai7 @


I wish to highlight ‘control’ here for it can be argued that when speaking about addiction everything flows from and towards the need, or rather the compulsion, to control. This includes the need to seek even more control after one has failed to achieve a certain perceived level of control, the hallmark of any addiction. This brings me to a listing of the symptoms of the insanity, which at its heart is what addiction is all about. Think about what’s going on today in the political and financial world as you read the following and consider some of the more obvious similarities and connections.

The central element of addiction is control, or more accurately the complete lack of control. When speaking of substance abuse, but also in more general terms about any addiction, some is not enough and one is one too many. While in the throes of their addiction, rarely will the afflicted admit they have lost control. It is only later, after recovery has begun and the cobwebs begin to clear, will many admit that not only did they lose control long before it became apparent to everyone else, but that they were always just as shocked and surprised by their actions as everyone else was. They never understood, despite their very real desire to regain control, why they were never able to.

It stands to reason that if one has lost control, but doesn’t wish to admit it, that denial would be the process used to get through each day of increasing insanity. But I’m not talking about your average garden variety level of denial here. No, I’m talking about supercharged balls-to-the-wall 31 flavors of denial. This is about denial piled upon denial layered with even more denial so deep that the recovering person will spend years, even decades, digging out all the dead carcasses as they come to grips with the former disaster they called life before recovery. Denial so deep in fact that first they denied, then they denied they ever denied until finally they forget there ever was any question about denial in the first place. Wrap all this up and then take it to the tenth power and you begin to ‘understand’ what we are talking about here. This is not an exaggeration.

A subset of denial would be rationalization, justification and bargaining. Even though the addicted will never admit to his or her addiction, the truck loads of problems they create still must be dealt with, though I use the term ‘dealt with’ here extremely loosely. Whatever the flavor-of-the-day problem is, one iron clad rule always applies. It is never the addict’s fault. NEVER! The addict projectile vomits personal responsibility as if Ipecac is being swallowed on a continuous basis. This actually makes perfect sense because to admit personal responsibility for the problems of the addiction quickly leads to the addiction itself. So the addict will use any and all excuses in the book to deflect blame and responsibility.

Narcissism and naval gazing are natural outgrowths of the addict’s inability to come to terms with his or her own addiction. An entire fantasy world and often several that interlock and supplement each other are created and constantly managed and massaged in the mind of the addicted. And it is here where they engage in fantastical blame shifting and justification that truly boggles the mind of those caught up in the tsunami wave of destruction and disaster that originates within the addiction. Incredibly, while to the saner outsider (keeping in mind that everything is relative in the world of addiction) the constant barrage of lies, excuses and finger pointing have long ago moved into the absurd, to the addicted it all makes perfect sense because you and I are the problem, not them.   

This all inevitably leads to lying of such intensity and magnitude that a professional liar would blush in shame, having finally met someone worse (better?) than him or her. Stated as simply as possible, during the latter stages of the addiction, the afflicted becomes a pathological liar, a thief and a cheat. When consumed by the addiction, nothing else matters and no one else warrants any more attention or honesty than is needed to get to the next bottle, fix or emotional relief. An addict in the end stages of their death by suicide has a laser like focus of attention upon themselves and their needs that would put physicists and mathematicians to shame for their inability to match the addict’s level of single minded effort and concentration.


At this point, the insanity has completely taken over and the addict would sell their first born if they could for a few more hours of relief. And this is where most people are lost in their understanding because long before it is obvious that the addiction has all but destroyed the afflicted, for the addict it is all about dulling the pain, having long ago lost the ability to feel genuine pleasure. At this point, relief is nothing more than the temporary dulling of the physical pain while the inner demons are quieted, but not silenced, once again. While there is no place to hide and nowhere to run, there are a few sweet hours of oblivion and numbed forgetting.

This is why it always takes more and more to get somewhere close to the extreme high s/he once experienced, be it physical, mental or emotional. As s/he slips ever closer into the welcoming arms of death and the end of the pain, there is no longer any chance of ever again reclaiming that long lost ecstasy, something the addiction inside has been chasing since the very first high. All there is left is nothing more than some numbing of the pain as the addict kicks the can of withdrawal down the road once more. Soon enough even the road and the can will disappear, but not before everything gets exponentially worse. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

Don’t think for a moment that I’m just talking about substance abuse here. Consider those power and money hungry people who want more and more and are never satisfied with 95% when 96% is still available. It is not the quantity that matters because the rush from the control and power is no longer fully realized or experienced since long ago they became desensitized and essentially dead to the world you and I occupy.

Thus their destructive actions don’t really apply to themselves any more since they no longer live in the same reality as we do. It is so much more than them thinking that they can just hunker down and avoid any blowback. It’s all just the cost of the business of their addiction. Bottom line, blowback or adverse consequences are immaterial to their distorted and horribly twisted thinking and risk weighting mechanisms in much the same way it is not about winning or losing to the addicted gambler, but the action itself that is sought out again and again. It’s the juice man and each shot in the arm is less effective than the last.

And so all these symptoms, along with many more I haven’t mentioned, coalesce into the need, the desperately obsessed need, to do ANYTHING to get what they want. This is in fact the supporting mechanism for the accelerating addiction and the underlying justification that leads all addicts to eventually engage in abuse not only of themselves, for this is a given, but of everyone and anyone who is captured by the insanity’s black hole gravity well. Suffice it to say that there is always mental and emotional abuse administered by the addict. Again, this is a given simply by the very nature and progression of the addiction.

But very often we also witness the devastating physical abuse rained down upon those closest to the insanity, though this is strenuously denied by the addicted while they are deeply engulfed within their own consumption. The abused are often dragged into the insanity kicking and screaming all the way down into the black abyss until eventually they are also afflicted by an equally devastating offshoot of the insanity. I am, of course, speaking of the enablers who are often just as conflicted, confused and codependent as those infected with the full blown addiction.




(h/t image provided by williambanzai7 @


This leads us directly into the final chapter of this comparison between the addicted individuals, along with their enablers living within the general insanity, and the country and world as an addicted entity run by the power and money hungry addicts and their enablers. Here I wish to focus on codependency, a word that has gotten a bad rap because it is often seen only in a negative light. In a healthy world, codependency means relying upon one another for the mutual benefit and growth of all. It is a synergy that produces more than the sum of its parts and its presence is a sign of a thriving, energetic and wholesome system in which humans most certainly can participate. 

Sadly, codependency in the context of the addicted and their enablers is defined as the mirror opposite of how it is found naturally on our blue planet. The addicted become black hole vampires, sucking in all available energy from their victims in order to consume more physical and psychic life force than they produce. Under these circumstances codependency produces much less than the total input values and is of no intrinsic value to anyone other than the consuming addict. It is not a dance of synergistic creation, but rather the raw sucking sound of parasitic consumption and partially digested excrement.

Nearly all of the symptoms exhibited by the addicted are also symptoms of the codependent enabler, though they are often subservient to, or mirror images of, the addicted. Just as the addicted are consumed with the need to control in their never ending quest to reach the lost ecstasy, the codependent enabler is consumed with trying to control the addicted spouse, child, friend, co-worker or whoever it is they are locked into the death spiral with.

In effect the codependent enabler is attempting to manage something he or she has absolutely no hope of ever controlling, since the object of their attempt to restrain, the addiction itself, can never be controlled by the addicted let alone the enabler. This vicious cycle of repeated attempts to control, then abject failure to control, followed by even more attempts to control is the very definition of insanity. And it is rocket fuel for the addicted, which without his or her cadre of codependent collaborators would quickly flame out, then flash crash and burn. Thus it is the codependent enabler that provides the sustaining life force of their very own slavery because once they embrace the vampire they are often destroyed by the very same vampire.

At this point the reader must be asking themselves an obvious question. Why doesn’t the enabler run for his or her life, putting as much distance between the life sucking vampire and themselves as they can? But the ties that bind them together in this dance of death were made many years in the past, when life was much better and the relationship was actually productive and enjoyable.

After several decades of deepening cross connections, be it children, money, mutual friends, love, sex, power or influence, promises of an easy retirement, whatever, the allure of what was once good is the bait that keeps the codependent enabler enticed and enthralled. In effect the false promise of a return to the good times of the long ago lost life act as the enabler’s own elusive lost ecstasy which can never again be reached. So now we have both the addicted and the enabler jousting at similar fantasy windmills on the hill while driving each other insane in the process.

Mix in a healthy dose of physical abuse handed out by the addicted upon the codependent enabler, which supplements and cements years of guilt trips and carrot and stick control techniques, and you have one massively effective cluster fuck of mutual assured destruction writ large. Both parties in this macabre death ritual long ago lost any ability to see with rational or sane eyes what they are doing to themselves and each other or what they have become.

Thus everyone is trapped on a runaway train that is rapidly approaching terminal velocity and where the desperately panicked conductor/enabler screams unintelligible and conflicting instructions from the careening caboose to the brain dead and hopelessly addicted engineer. The very same engineer mind you who is slavishly captured by his or her own addiction and pays just enough attention to the conductor to keep him or her from jumping from the train in a last frantic bid to survive.

Caught between these two self destructive forces are the terrified and helpless children strapped into the swaying and lurching passenger cars, true victims who can only hang on and hope they survive their frightening ordeal. Of course they are all in training to fill their future roles as either hope junkie conductors/enablers or consumed addicted zombies walking the path to self destruction.

The Connections Are Obvious

How can we not see the obvious connection between the word images painted above and our society in general and our leadership and all of us specifically unless we just don’t wish to look? This nation and our financial, corporate, religious and political leaders are the seriously addicted engineer desperately trying to stave off the death throes of the DT’s (Delirium Tremens) by consuming more and more fiat in a losing battle to cheat death one more time. And as much as our egos scream out in protest that we are all just helpless victims and thus those frightened children trapped on the train to hell, in fact it is our own children that belong there for we are the conductor/enablers whether we wish to admit it or not.

If nothing else this illustrates the abject futility of hoping our addicted leadership will change their ways if only we give them additional time, money, support or more (hangman’s) rope. They will not change unless and until they see the need to change and they become willing to exert as much effort in realizing that change as they did in perpetuating their addiction. If they haven’t done so by now then they will not do so in the future.

Just as important, if not even more so, is the sobering fact that we cannot control the insanity simply because we are an integral part of the insanity. The train is out of control and we can neither regain control by shouting or pleading with the engineer to stop or by passively hanging on and falsely hoping that the addled engineer will suddenly snap out of it and slow down. This is our own enabling fantasy and it binds us to the insanity as completely and seamlessly as the addicted. We must remove all support and let the stinking mess collapse or we must remove the engineer from the controls and take over. This madness will not cure itself. 


Cognitive Dissonance


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4 thoughts on “The Fiat Crack Addict is Convulsing and Headed Straight for The DTs”

  1. Mr Cog,

    You describe the nature of addiction in this article with great eloquence, as if you are familiar with it. I know I am.

    I have also been reading the series Welcome to the Insane Asylum. I see repeated references there, as well, that remind me of AA. I’ll comment on those in the future after I digest the series.

    Admitting our addiction and its unmanageability is Step One. One step we as a society are not yet willing to admit. Recognizing our insanity is part of Step Two of AA. Until one recognizes the insanity one cannot attempt a solution. The remedy for the insanity of addiction is spiritual. Is not this also the remedy for our larger “common problems”?

    1. @ Peoples Republic of Maryland

      Clean and sober since 1990. Still crazy after all those years though. It’s just not quite as obvious. :-)

      Cognitive Dissonance…..a Friend of Bill’s

  2. 15 months to the day for being sober, I still have one of the above addictions and it’s not debt. Thanks for the good read, Mr Cog.

    Mr Pepper

    1. Congratulations. The most important sobriety date is today. When I wake up tomorrow the most important sobriety date will be tomorrow’s today. :)

      Cognitive Dissonance

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