Have you ever been alone or felt like you are alone? Have you ever had a bad nightmare only to find out when you wake up you are still experiencing it? For some, this is a reality and a reality they must live out over and over, day after day.
There are numerous reasons why those affected turn to what affects them and most of which I am not qualified to chime in on.
What I do know is this: those that have to cope with an addiction in whatever form it comes in, live out some very dark days. The dark days leave a feeling of hopelessness and without hope in sight, the hole that they fall down is very difficult to climb out of.
If I might say; this topic was incredibly difficult and challenging to write about. I have not experienced an addiction in any shape or form, but I have talked to those that have.
I am here to tell their story.
You may be wondering why it is I am choosing addiction as a topic. That is a fair wonder.
Up until the 1970’s, comics were considered to be mainly fairytale stories that always ended perfectly with the Hero winning and the Villain losing. In the 70’s, Marvel comics had become a fairly pro-active company. They started to speak out for and against numerous issues of the time. They were challenging the Comics Code Authority and its stance on Racism, Drugs, Sex and Addictions (all pointed out in the article “Why Gwen Stacy Had To Die”). In 1979, they released their cornerstone comic based on Addiction. For those familiar and unfamiliar, the story can be found in Iron Man issues 120-128, entitled “Demon in a Bottle.”
From my research, I have gathered that most people start down the path of addiction without the knowledge of addiction. It either becomes a means to cope with reality or something to numb the pain that is happening in their lives. Some know when to quit and unfortunately due to uncontrollable circumstance, some do not. Even more unfortunate, without the proper help, this path can lead to a multitude of problems which can include:
From the perspective of an outsider, Marvel, through the power of imagery, words and art did a remarkable job of telling this story.
To sum it up briefly, Tony Stark, ran on hard times after his armor killed an ambassador (through no fault of his own). Because of this, Tony felt remorse and took up drinking as a way to cope with his feelings. Many of his friends reached out, but none had any luck in reaching him.
I had the chance to talk to a real life Tony Stark who had succumbed to and overcome addictions and I’d like to share his story.
This gentleman, who will remain nameless, used alcohol and drugs as a method to get through each day. He, like Tony, had fallen on hard times and looked to addiction as a means to cope with it.
Things hit ‘rock bottom’ when his addiction led him to steal from his family and friends so that he may feed his craving.
It took his mother to send him a text and let him know that it was ok. To put this in context, he and his mother had not spoken for years; they had become too different. After the text message, they began to talk. He asked her why she had decided to reach out after so very long, to which she replied, “The lord asked me to forgive you for all that you have done and that in the end, you are my son.”
This emotional breakdown led the son to describe his pain and anguish to her. Shortly thereafter, he and his mother started attending Addictions Meetings, were put into contact with psychiatrists and others who had experienced the same things and he found himself on the path of healing.
Let’s not sugarcoat this, though. Not all stories have an ending as happy as this one.
In relation to Tony Stark, Tony finally listened to his girlfriend when she described that she lost her husband due to addiction, decided that he too would defeat his demons. The storyline ends with Tony looking at the bottle, realizing that this is not the future he wanted for himself.
I understand that addictions are not as easy as the comics make them to be and that I hope through my words I have:
- Not taken it too lightly
- Not offended anybody
- Shed some light on a difficult topic
- Raised even just a little awareness for it
We all have the power to change our lives. Each decision is one that should not be taken lightly. The moves we make today, affect everything that we do tomorrow.
In the final scene in Iron Man 128, Tony Stark proclaims, “I’m going to win.”
We should all strive to win.