The flip side of addiction is an unraveling of many things: hurt, loss, fear, shame, loneliness, emptiness and aridness. Coupled with an intensity of feelings, passions, dreams, and idealism —all surrounded by an overwhelming craving for love and affirmation to fill in the gaping pieces missing from an un-whole life.
And then there is the undisciplined promise and lingering sense of pending defeat made endurable only from the well of undeveloped latent –and misguided– talent.
The addict is in many ways the ultimate tightrope walker. If his demons prevail and he falls to one side, he dies. But if he taps into some sort of divinity in the universe or in himself, he falls to the other side. And soars.
No public person I can think of embodies this beautifully treacherous balancing act more harrowingly (and inspiringly) than Robert Downey Jr.
He has ridden the roller coaster of addiction–and its flip side– publicly and dramatically into our hearts and minds–and souls.
Robert Downey Jr wrote and performed this piano ballad, Snakes (first video)
And more recently in a duet with Sting performed the aptly named Driven to Tears (second video).
In each video he shows us a glimpse of the depth of the brilliant and painful artistry tamped down so deeply inside this man-boy who can and has fallen far and hard. And soared so high and fantastically that only he can describe it. And he has touched us as we enjoy the honor and pleasure of witnessing his talent escape the bonds of his addictions and soar before us as we smile and applaud.
Here’s hoping he keeps falling to the beautiful side of his dichotomous daily walk— and soaring for yet another day.
And here’s hoping the very same glorious reprieve for all other addicts.