When an addict looks at their situation, their gaze is not the same as those on the outside. Being inside a brain that makes drug addiction “spin” means thinking about what you are addicted to. As if that thing couldn’t disappear, be pushed aside, take a back seat. As if the only possible fulfillment would undoubtedly come from that thing. Ironically, this craving and desire are not necessarily justified by the past, much less the present, but by how the brain has processed the drug experience. Developing an addiction means that the message (initially positive, rewarding, useful) of a drug is fixed in a stable and no longer elastic way as an axiom, that is, a starting point for the vision of things. No longer something that comes “after” the fixed points, but a fixed point.
In this experience, the addict finds himself simultaneously dreaming of a crowning of his love affair with the substance, and at the same time despairing over the absence of love, like a lover who can no longer win back his loved one, without fate allowing him to forget it. Memory is not built on what makes sense to do in the present (the substance is used in such a way that it could no longer give pleasure, technically), but in an excessive way, so that the person remembers a past pleasure that is no longer historicized , and absolute: it should still exist, always and more and more. Precisely because of this “ideal” position of infinite and maximum pleasure, the brain in addiction is always dissatisfied, lacking in stimulus, unsatisfied. The brain’s response is to look for the substance again,
It is not a matter of a personality that already starts like this, but of a modification of the brain, which “settles” itself as if its task were to produce and maintain an ideal pleasure. If this is the underlying message, it is clear that everything else becomes unsatisfactory, not sufficient, not comparable.
Often it happens to hear, from patients who tell their addictions, a mixture of tragic stories and other “heroic” passages. The latter prevail. If the addict starts talking about his substance, desperation is soon replaced by a kind of fascination, grandiosity. As if the addict somehow wanted to “live up” to his task even when he tells it, a good soldier. Wounded, perhaps mutilated, traumatized, that he has seen all kinds of ugliness, that he asks to go home. Like a soldier. But also, like so many soldiers, emotionally tied to the experience of combat almost as if he continued to seek the victory that he was unable to have.
This ambivalence can also be seen in songs and movies that talk about addiction. The story, if in the first person, is almost never “only” sad and self-critical. It is heroic. We destroy ourselves, but going at a hundred per hour. We destroy ourselves, but by choosing self-destruction. We destroy ourselves, but forgetting the rest of the world. It is by no means said that this is the concrete reality that the addict has lived, but it is a mental dimension. A “missionary” dimension.
I was listening to the song “Marlena” by Maneskin, proposed by a colleague of mine (text and video at the end of the article), and the text suggested this interpretation to me. The piece sings of an absence, the absence of a source of satisfaction, which does not want to go back, which now denies itself or no longer responds. It could be anything from love, to artistic inspiration. I imagined it meant the pleasure of someone who is addicted. Not necessarily a drug addict in general. The person desires, and remains dry, and so far the concept is simple: a person who complains of the absence of a pleasure that suddenly stops, and of which the person can no longer do without as if it were an essential lifeblood. . It is an absence which, however, has something strange right from the start: it is not Marlena who is absent, and something “inside” that is missing, a sign of absence of those who have remained. Because the text says “I walk the streets of my city …”. We are inside the brains of those who sing, who are not looking for the lost lover around the world, but inside themselves.
But the more he sings this absence, the more he ends up recalling the presence with glory. The more it is gone, the more the memory explodes. The more this happens, the more we pass from the figure of a desperate man who in vain calls his salvation to himself (like Christ on the cross who invokes the help of the Father) to a hero who celebrates his new life “given” by Marlena, who now it seems never to come back, but that if there was it would be a promise of eternal happiness. What absence has produced (the absence of pleasure) is much greater than what the presence of pleasure has produced. In the end in addiction it is like this: the object of desire is that without which “life can no longer be perfect”, but it has never been like this in the past, simply the person has developed this expectation, and does not go back. Go back, if you didn’t have an addiction, it would be painful but simple: Marlena is not there, evidently she is no longer there, she does not answer, she is indifferent or elsewhere. And so it’s a pity, but she goes on. With nostalgia, bitterness, but she goes on. Instead, those who sing about Marlena’s absence rise from their ashes but not to declare that they will make a new life without Marlena, but blinded even more than before by the desire to reproduce what Marlena is no longer giving, to run towards a future full of Marlena, despite Marlena being absent, for a long time and without hope.
Indeed, what we could call the reversal of history occurs. Who is addicted says that nothing can save him if not his “drug”, as happens for example in abstinence. But this relationship is not the original one, because abstinence is a consequence of drug use. From the story it would seem that Marlena has saved the speaker from a dark life, and therefore now the darkness, the cold and the emptiness are back, without her. Instead the doubt is that this dark, cold and empty are Marlena-dependent, and that before there was something much less marked, less desperate, and above all less constrained.
Happiness now seems tied to the mere presence of a Marlena. Before, it could have been linked to someone’s presence. Now no: it is a vuto that only Marlena could fill, or in any case the person is convinced of this, and she does not seek and does not wait for anything else. Happiness has taken on an identity, and then it’s gone, so you can’t change its name, just wait for it to come back. This is the curse of addictions, which do not allow us to detach ourselves from the false and amplified expectation of happiness deriving only and only from that stimulus. As in an emotional usury, infinite interest is paid on a limited pleasure loan, so that happiness is linked to a good relationship with the moneylender. While the victim of usury knows it, and is certainly not in love with her persecutor,
According to the Maneskins, Marlena is not talking about drugs, but about a bond. Some of her passages are however very useful in describing the mental dimension of those who are linked in a pathological way to something. It could be an erotic addiction, the shape is the same, and the biological background seems to be the same. If it were a drug, it would probably be an opiate, for the combination of pain, the intimate effect (the caress that takes away tears, the ability to stop pain, etc).
On the medical level, the most important thing to remember is that the relapse, based on this ambivalent desire, between melancholy and missionary enthusiasm, has relapsed so to speak. The addict does not go limp, does not sit down, does not fall backwards, but takes flight, accelerates, and escapes those who were ready to support him, but does not know what to do to stop him.
Video https://www.youtube.com/watch
v = ZZjnfWx0cvw
Text: https://www.teamworld.it/testi-traduzioni/torna-a-casa-maneskin-testo-nuovo-singolo-e -meaning-of-the-song /

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