ROLE OF ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE NOVEL?

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
User avatar
lavellan
Posts: 357
Joined: 25 Dec 2017, 17:40
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 34
Currently Reading: Jane Eyre
Bookshelf Size: 47
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lavellan.html
Latest Review: The Blue Barricade by Kesten E. Harris

Re: ROLE OF ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE NOVEL?

Post by lavellan » 26 May 2018, 23:16

I definitely would agree with your point about empowerment and control. Many people who are depressed or out of luck in life turn to alcohol or other addictive substances to get some semblance of control.

User avatar
bootsie0126+
Posts: 244
Joined: 11 Mar 2018, 19:36
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 150
Currently Reading: The Case of Dr Dude
Bookshelf Size: 275
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bootsie0126.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone
Reading Device: B01GEW27DA

Post by bootsie0126+ » 28 May 2018, 02:09

ValBookReviews wrote:
25 May 2018, 13:28
Having lived with alcoholism and drug addiction within my own family, I certainly agree with your point of view. I've come to learn, if not broken, alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease that can be past down from one generation to the next, known as "a generational curse". "But, God is able."
Without a doubt. He is able to....

I have also lived with alcohollism and drug addiction in my family. This is hard for all associated with someone suffering from addiction. A person who has not gone through any type of addiction are often unable to comprehend why those that are addicted to something are not able to simply stop. Only if it were that simple.

User avatar
bootsie0126+
Posts: 244
Joined: 11 Mar 2018, 19:36
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 150
Currently Reading: The Case of Dr Dude
Bookshelf Size: 275
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bootsie0126.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone
Reading Device: B01GEW27DA

Post by bootsie0126+ » 28 May 2018, 09:52

lavellan wrote:
26 May 2018, 23:16
I definitely would agree with your point about empowerment and control. Many people who are depressed or out of luck in life turn to alcohol or other addictive substances to get some semblance of control.
However, the sad thing about this backward thinking is that control is never achieved. The individual may think that he is gaining control over the hurt and pain they feel, but the situation gets worse and eventually that person can spiral deeper and deeper out of control.

User avatar
bootsie0126+
Posts: 244
Joined: 11 Mar 2018, 19:36
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 150
Currently Reading: The Case of Dr Dude
Bookshelf Size: 275
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bootsie0126.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone
Reading Device: B01GEW27DA

Post by bootsie0126+ » 28 May 2018, 10:05

Lolo Skyooz wrote:
16 May 2018, 15:18
I think that, partly, addiction was a reason why these characters found each other, but then it also became a reminder that you cannot run away from your problems. Substance abuse haunted Gary's home life and now it haunts his friendships and career, even though the circus is a symbol of escape, being whisked away to another life, etc.
Self-medicating for any type of coping mechanism in dealing with stress, abuse, or a traumatic experience never solves the problem. Unless a person addresses the root cause of their problem, often this must take therapy, and learn how to identify triggers that causes a person to use drugs or alcohol, a person will never be able to control substance abuse or events in their lives.

User avatar
Jeyasivananth
Posts: 233
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 18:17
2018 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 193
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jeyasivananth.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing

Post by Jeyasivananth » 29 May 2018, 10:54

bootsie0126+ wrote:
13 May 2018, 12:52
Jeyasivananth wrote:
07 May 2018, 09:22
In my observation addiction as a manifestation of a disturbed psyche is another important motif in the book.

Gary Robinson grows up as a helpless and powerless child unable to stop his mother’s drinking habits. Duke Reynold too extensively uses drugs to sustain himself.

An addictive action often creates a sense of being empowered, of regaining control against helplessness. Drugs are particularly good for this purpose because they alter one's emotional state, making them feel empowered and decisive. We see this in the protagonists. Both the protagonists hail from dysfunctional families and addiction helps them to cope up with this emotional scar and helplessness.

what are your observations on this?
First, drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects not only your brain but your behavior. When you are addicted to drugs, you are unable to resist the urge to do drugs, even though you know what negative affect it causes. Being addicted to drugs changes a person thought process. Where something we would never do if not on drugs, would not even cause a second thought to do when on drugs is the thinking that most drug addicts have. Many people with addiction have addictive personalities which is why many compulsive personalities and often seek activities that produces that high effect they get from doing drugs.

Often it is extremely hard for a person to get off drugs. Sometimes it can take numerous attempts at rehab to get clean, if they do at all. People who are fortunate to have never been addicted to drugs, fully understand the rational behind the behavior of an addict. People think that all you have to do is simply stop doing drugs, only if it was that simple. You are unable to think rationally when you are on drugs, so the consequences of drug use is not a deterrent from doing drugs. Most people require professional help in getting clean and sometimes that does not work. There are also people who have quit on their own. Each individual is different, however only until the person is truly ready to get clean will any type of treatment work. It is only until a person is able to get to the root cause of their addiction, can healing begin. Knowing the triggers that will cause a person to pick up using will enable them to turn away from those triggers. It is a step process that must be followed in order to work.
I agree with you. You have explained it so comprehensively.

User avatar
Jeyasivananth
Posts: 233
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 18:17
2018 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 193
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jeyasivananth.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing

Post by Jeyasivananth » 29 May 2018, 10:56

holsam_87 wrote:
11 May 2018, 17:38
Jeyasivananth wrote:
07 May 2018, 09:22
In my observation addiction as a manifestation of a disturbed psyche is another important motif in the book.

Gary Robinson grows up as a helpless and powerless child unable to stop his mother’s drinking habits. Duke Reynold too extensively uses drugs to sustain himself.

An addictive action often creates a sense of being empowered, of regaining control against helplessness. Drugs are particularly good for this purpose because they alter one's emotional state, making them feel empowered and decisive. We see this in the protagonists. Both the protagonists hail from dysfunctional families and addiction helps them to cope up with this emotional scar and helplessness.

what are your observations on this?
I have similar views to what you are suggesting. By both of them using substances, it definitely shows them both to have damaged psyches of some kind. Plus their other attempts at getting high through adrenaline based acts or debauchery shows other ways at attempting to empower themselves and distance from emotional turmoil.
Yeah I felt the same. Although should we be calling them damaged psyches? I ask this because addiction has become a common problem today and isn't it a too strong phrase to use?

User avatar
Jeyasivananth
Posts: 233
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 18:17
2018 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 193
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jeyasivananth.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing

Post by Jeyasivananth » 29 May 2018, 11:01

kdstrack wrote:
10 May 2018, 21:59
Jeyasivananth wrote:
09 May 2018, 14:15
kdstrack wrote:
08 May 2018, 23:12
"An addictive action often creates a sense of being empowered", - this is true. It "creates" something that is not real. While the addicted person may feel empowered, he is still perpetuating his own self-destruction. Alcohol and drugs provide an escape, a way to not have to face the painful emotions and memories of the past. It actually makes the addict more helpless. This is the difficulty of dealing with addicts. Leaving their drugs and alcohol behind faces them to face up to the memories and pain that torment them. In the book we see how Duke conquered alcohol but not drugs. Gary's coma was a blessing in disguise to eliminate his addictions.
I too agree with your observations. Alcohol and drugs may provide a temporary escape but slowly turn the person more helpless.
Another common thread is the "I am a victim" syndrome. Many addicts feel they have a right to their addiction because of their family situation, background, tragedy, etc. etc. Both Duke and Gary manifest some of this - their difficult home situations seem to be the accepted reason for being addicts (or alcoholics). Then, it becomes harder to change the person's attitude than overcome the actual addiction.
That's a very valid observation that you have made. I completely agree with you. The victim syndrome is another pertinent issue we deal with here.

User avatar
holsam_87
Posts: 537
Joined: 03 Feb 2018, 15:45
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 74
Currently Reading: A Little Lost A Little Found
Bookshelf Size: 297
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-holsam-87.html
Latest Review: The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement by Anthony Simola
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by holsam_87 » 29 May 2018, 18:32

Jeyasivananth wrote:
29 May 2018, 10:56
holsam_87 wrote:
11 May 2018, 17:38
Jeyasivananth wrote:
07 May 2018, 09:22
In my observation addiction as a manifestation of a disturbed psyche is another important motif in the book.

Gary Robinson grows up as a helpless and powerless child unable to stop his mother’s drinking habits. Duke Reynold too extensively uses drugs to sustain himself.

An addictive action often creates a sense of being empowered, of regaining control against helplessness. Drugs are particularly good for this purpose because they alter one's emotional state, making them feel empowered and decisive. We see this in the protagonists. Both the protagonists hail from dysfunctional families and addiction helps them to cope up with this emotional scar and helplessness.

what are your observations on this?
I have similar views to what you are suggesting. By both of them using substances, it definitely shows them both to have damaged psyches of some kind. Plus their other attempts at getting high through adrenaline based acts or debauchery shows other ways at attempting to empower themselves and distance from emotional turmoil.
Yeah I felt the same. Although should we be calling them damaged psyches? I ask this because addiction has become a common problem today and isn't it a too strong phrase to use?
I suppose so. Perhaps saying that their souls are damaged due to the events in their youth.
Samantha Holtsclaw

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

User avatar
ValBookReviews
Posts: 671
Joined: 17 Mar 2018, 23:24
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 93
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 352
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-valbookreviews.html
Latest Review: The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles

Post by ValBookReviews » 29 May 2018, 20:07

bootsie0126+ wrote:
28 May 2018, 02:09
ValBookReviews wrote:
25 May 2018, 13:28
Having lived with alcoholism and drug addiction within my own family, I certainly agree with your point of view. I've come to learn, if not broken, alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease that can be past down from one generation to the next, known as "a generational curse". "But, God is able."
Without a doubt. He is able to....

I have also lived with alcoholism and drug addiction in my family. This is hard for all associated with someone suffering from addiction. A person who has not gone through any type of addiction are often unable to comprehend why those that are addicted to something are not able to simply stop. Only if it were that simple.
My goodness! You're so on point! Thank you for taking time to reply, thus is why my prayers remain.
"And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life". (Revelation 20:12 (NKJV) :reading-7:

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 847
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 142
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: My Groans Pour Out Like Water by Frances Bloom
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 31 May 2018, 06:41

Didn't you think it was strange that Duke tried to cure Gary of alcoholism, but at the same time initiated him in the use of meth? I know that Gary must have thought that Duke could help him because they shared similar problems. I don't consider Duke to have actually helped Gary change his life. It was more of a combination of his near-death experience and Duke's own death that actually helped Gary see things differently.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
librarian1
Posts: 6
Joined: 31 May 2018, 06:14
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 23
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-librarian1.html
Latest Review: Serendipity Mystery by R.F. Kristi

Post by librarian1 » 31 May 2018, 13:32

I totally agree. How one addiction is perceived as better than another by Duke is hypocrisy. I agree that any change in Gary's life was incidental to his relationship to Duke and to my mind, not very convincing as a substantial change. I envision the character backsliding into a life of dissipation, if not for his confrontation with the finality of Duke's death and his near-miss coma experience.

User avatar
Zelinda
Posts: 238
Joined: 12 Jul 2017, 09:51
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 102
Favorite Book: The Swallow
Currently Reading: Of Illusions and Inkwells
Bookshelf Size: 691
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-zelinda.html
Latest Review: The Girl Who Knew da Vinci by Belle Ami
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Zelinda » 31 May 2018, 16:07

While addiction and substance abuse were certainly one of the main themes of this novel, I felt they didn't really get the attention they deserved. Neither of the characters seemed to show any awareness of the role addiction played in their lives. While it was noted, it didn't really go into the depth that I think a novel about addiction should have. The author seemed to have tolerance and compassion for the characters' addiction, but didn't display a great understanding of it
“In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.”
― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

User avatar
Iemaixiong
Posts: 4
Joined: 28 Apr 2018, 17:00
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 0
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by Iemaixiong » 31 May 2018, 17:49

:shock: Being a substance abuser is so easy to abuse it then quitting. The hardest thing in life is to quit. The roles in the book seems like they didn't get to be theirselves. They didn't get to show us who they really was. As a addict.

lesler
Posts: 311
Joined: 25 Jan 2018, 21:47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 56
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lesler.html
Latest Review: Escape by Mark Kingston Levin, PhD
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Post by lesler » 31 May 2018, 18:34

The addiction and substance abuse is what tied these characters together, and helped them relate to one another. Physical and emotional turmoil brings people tightly together.

User avatar
Mely918
Posts: 316
Joined: 14 May 2018, 19:15
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 25
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mely918.html
Latest Review: Becoming the Dragon by Alex Sapegin

Post by Mely918 » 05 Jun 2018, 17:07

I think the substance abuse in this book shows how one can turn to drinking and drug use as a way to cope with the stresses that life can bring. It gives us another perspective into the life of an addict rather than the stereotypical "bum" that is sometimes portrayed in the media and other works.

Post Reply

Return to “Discuss "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson”