When discussing identity on October 27, 2012, A Theory on Identification and the Conformity of an Identity and on November 3, 2012, Isolation and Fantasy: A Fragmentation of Identity, I had encountered some material which never seemed to make its way into an entry. I have been thinking about the addict’s story, his or her narrative, his or her myth and archetypal influences in regard to the individual’s narrative. An individual’s myth is the myth which may unconsciously govern the individual’s life course (Roesler, 2006). Roesler informed that Jung proposed personal myths to be “archetypal patterns found. . . in mythology and fairy tales.” Roesler informed that the mythology, the fairy tales found within archetypes “could govern the life course of individuals, in most cases unconsciously” and that the intention then, is to “bring these unconscious myths to consciousness” (Roesler, 2006, para 8).
“Identity is the construct which provides the person with a sense of continuity of being over time, which creates a sense of coherence so that the divergent experiences form an interconnected whole, and which gives meaning to one’s experiences and to life as a whole” (Roesler, 2006, para 6).
Roesler (2006) informed “that personal myths, archetypal patterns found, e.g., in mythology, can govern the life course of individuals unconsciously” (Roesler, 2012, para 1). To explore the narrative of the addict’s myth we not only illustrate the overwhelming experiences of the addiction but we delve into the process of “the illusion of such a perfect object seduces the addict into darkness, where he or she hopes to forget some awful pain” (Tyminski, 2009, p. 58). Through the path towards the experience of addiction we are illuminating the journey to the substance (whatever it may be) that the addict in desperation needs to maintain an intrapsychic authority and control (Tyminski, 2009). I was intrigued to the article written by Tyminski as he discussed the myth of Argonautica which in-short “entails a voyage by a young man [Jason] and his crew to obtain the one thing that he believes will make his life right” (Tyminski, 2009, p. 52).
“Near-total unconsciousness afflicts conditions of addiction and compulsion, resulting in a loss of ego as a person mindlessly pursues a “substance” that is golden, powerful, and irresistible” (Tyminski, 2009, p. 58).
“The driven pursuit of one thing or one type of experience is familiar to most analysts and psychotherapists as pointing toward obsession, compulsion, and even addiction” (Tyminski, 2009, p. 52). The reasons for why an individual has become engaged in the toiled path of addiction are specific to each individual. In theory though I see the addiction as a byproduct of the ego’s attempts at managing the intolerable, to make “right” what is interpretively overwhelming. From a psychological standpoint it is important not to generalize an individual experience or journey. So we are left to observe the experience of addiction as an independent journey that has brought insight and torment. Just as with the myth of Argonautica, there is an experience encapsulating knowledge and interpretation. “The point must be stressed that the kind of story we tell about our life can make a big difference to how we experience this life” (Roesler, 2006, Clinical Implications, para 3).
In regard to the mentioned myth and to the individual upon a worn path towards addiction we see that “an inner presence like Medea always accompanies the addict on his or her quest for magical fulfillment of his or her desires. When she is spurned, the addict pays a terrible price” (Tyminski, 2009, p. 56). It is Medea who accompanied Jason on his journey, who provided him with the pharmaka needed for “ownership of the Fleece, which represents a forbidden material” (Tyminski, 2009, p. 55). Here we can observe the ego overwhelmed by the developmental collisions. Through myth we can observe the ego seeking a forbidden material to guarantee a sought destiny (Tyminski, 2009).
Roesler, C. (2006). A Narratological Methodology for Identifying Archetypal Story Patterns in Autobiographical Narratives. Journal Of Analytical Psychology, 51(4), Retrived from http://pgi.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pph&AN=JOAP.051.0574A&site=ehostlive&
Tyminski, R. (2009). Fleeced: A Perspective from Antiquity on Contemporary Addictions. Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche, 3(3), 52-68
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Erik J. Welsh, PhD
– Author of The Addiction Complex