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  • ... the reward for total abstinence from alcohol seems, illogically enough, to be the capacity for becoming intoxicated without it.

  • Strange! that what is enjoyed without pleasure cannot be discontinued without pain!

  • I was into pain reduction and mind expansion, but what I've ended up with is pain expansion and mind reduction.

  • Saying you're an alcoholic and an addict is like saying you're from Los Angeles and from California.

  • Addicts were the lepers of the twentieth century, it seemed.

  • ... it is self-interest which is the bondage of the addict. The addict is not just in bondage to the demands of the chemical substance, as was demonstrated by detoxification from its effects. The true boundage was the addiction to a lifestyle of impotence — even at the price of its accompanying self-loathing. It was not just the drug-free life which was empty; it was also the inner self. It was not just the drug-free life which was without meaning; it was the inner self which was devoid of values.

  • Of all the tyrannies which have usurped power over humanity, few have been able to enslave the mind and body as imperiously as drug addiction.

  • ... the appetite grows for what it feeds on ...

    • Ida B. Wells,
    • 1889, in Alfreda M. Duster, ed., Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells ()
  • All addictions have one thing in common — they numb you out to what is happening in the moment.

  • Sobriety always seemed like the end of the world. But gradually it started to seem a better option than, say, dying.

  • Food, sex, and liquor create their own appetite.

  • I was sitting before my third or fourth Jellybean — which is anisette, grain alcohol, a lit match, and a small, wet explosion in the brain.

    • Louise Erdrich,
    • "Scales," in Rayna Green, ed., That's What She Said ()
  • take one tiger / remove from jungle / file down teeth and claws / zoo / tranquilize, feed, observe / for indeterminate period of time / when finished / return to jungle.

  • there be a devil in the house / it steal money and put it in the vein / it come tip-toe thru the door / i hear him try to catch him / but he too slick / locks don't keep him out ...

  • [On her morphine addiction:] I was meant to 'taper off.' At times I felt such pains as must afflict a creature while a bigger beast eats and claws at its middle. God-awful things were hiding underneath my bed, and it was no use telling me they were not there — I knew they were, and felt their dreadful ever-changing shapes.

  • I was becoming more cunning than an animal in hiding my supply of morphine. A squirrel saving nuts is limited by its undeveloped imagination ... but I was not so handicapped. A squirrel, for example, is debarred from sending money to some greedy doctor or druggist and making arrangements to have a bit of powder sent each day by mail.

  • I was what they call a 'highly functional addict.' ... sometimes people who need help look nothing like people who need help.

  • During my drinking decades, I lived like a pig. My room was a hazardous pile of stilettos, tube tops, wine bottles, ashtrays, and old magazines. I valued nothing. Everything that came into my life was disposable: clothes, opportunities, people. My bedroom looked as if my insides had spilled out onto the floor.

  • An addiction is anything we do to avoid hearing the messages that body and soul are trying to send us.

  • Booze is your wife. Booze, that's who you're married to.

  • Sobriety itself is today's high, for it is ultimately in the most centered consciousness that we find our power to transcend the world.