cold turkey; n.
the unpleasant physical reaction that people experience when they suddenly stop taking a drug that they have become addicted to.
I once loved a man who I suspected, had a substance abuse problem. He always had that ruptured logic at play - "I know myself, so I know I will get better".
Why do we drink? Because we are bored, because we are in pain, because we need to calm down. Because, we need it for our art. The only thing worse than drug abuse, is in fact, it’s denial. Delusion and defiance tug at each other like an ongoing cylce. The aftermath of addiction is wounds of broken deduction - your skin strains with panic, your muscles struggle with deprivation. You are overwhelmed and enraptured by the thrall of the last day you used.
Recovery contours the addict alongside the addiction itself.
Between 2015 and 2017, Stefania Orfanidou created the “Cold Turkey“ project, which visualizes the abrupt cessation of substance dependence. Addiction is radical dysfunction. No dysfunction has discreet edges - it bleeds and spills.
So, what if the man I loved, reversed his belief? Act, and then know yourself. Doing something without knowing if you have faith in it, is proof of sincerity, not its absence. Show up for that A.A. meeting, for that conversation, for the consolation.
Should we gloss over the shameful experience, and how good the drinking felt, and why we fell in love with it? Should we have to play the tape all the way through?
What is important to remember is that while suffering forms the baseline of the story of addiction, the interesting part is getting better. A lesser known song by Kings of Leon, ‘Wait for Me’, talks about the lead singer’s road to recovery.
“Gonna open my heart, out of the scars and listen up.”
Recovery doesn’t end in just one triumphant way - getting sober. There are often more frustrating stories about relapse or suicide or social alienation. In fact, getting and staying sober isn’t an end at all.
Pain is a phenomenal inspiration, but so is recovery.