Recently, I was asked to write a paragraph for the David Reilly Lives slide show on MySpace. David Reilly was the lead singer and songwriter for God Lives Underwater who died last year on October 17. GLU is one of my all-time favorite bands. I was completely ripped up when I heard the news about David’s death. David was under-appreciated as a musician. While David had struggled for recovery over many years, he died clean and sober. There are a couple of crazy variations on the explanation of his death (like the one in the GLU Wikipedia article), but he essentially died because his stomach ruptured in his sleep from the pain meds he was taking for a tooth abcess. The internal bleeding went to his lungs and he rapidly slipped into a coma. Years of addiction had ravaged his body to such frailty.
Addiction (also known as dependence) is a chronic medical condition similar in many ways to diabetes that, if not arrested, is always fatal. And sometimes even when it is arrested, as in David’s case, it still steals lives through the back door by destroying one’s health. If we could cure alcohol and drug addiction, our world would be a very different place.
But addiction is a close sister to poverty, a sure way to keep people down and out of competition. I suspect there’s been so little progress in the research because no one with money seriously wants to cure the surest way to ensure a large percentage of people just don’t get a piece of the pie. Let’s not forget the huge amounts of money being made, as well. It also allows people to feel morally superior. They don’t get it that it’s a disease, not a moral problem. But for some reason people feel more comfortable with the notion that addicts are destroying their lives and everyone’s around them on purpose. That doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe they don’t want to look at their own lives to see why they let addicts take advantage of them…over and over…
Someday the right physicians will grow so weary of losing great talents like David and other sweet souls that there will be a breakthrough. At least, that’s my hope.