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10 October, 2012

The First Step

Things will be the same for a long time to come. Nothing will change, because no one really wants any changes. Most people simply need things to stay as they are

Across the street from my house is an office of the local tax administration with a police station next to it. More buildings on the other side of the road include two schools, a polyclinic and a lung clinic. Every morning as I walk my dog, I look at the downcast but active and focused faces of dozens of miserable creatures of all sorts – ordinary Ukrainian citizens – making their way, as if doomed, to these institutions and then disappear inside.

Even my dog changes around these lines of human figures: he pretends to be pursuing some serious matter and heading somewhere, and in doing so, he keeps his eyes down and tries to stay away from people’s feet. Powerful gloomy energy permeates the street, engulfing one person after another. I sometimes start feeling awkward myself, as if I got up just a short while ago, rather than at 6 AM, to walk my dog and see the first plum trees in blossom, while everyone else is so busy and tense. Whenever this happens to me, I remember how peaceful and joyful I was living next to a railroad station, the barracks of a bridge guard, a cemetery and a boarding house for incurable female mental patients.

Now I am comfortable even in my new place on the main drag. It's a long time before we have election in autumn, but you can already see the first preparations. Many people are pinning great hopes on the election: this vote, they say, can have a great impact on our life provided, of course, that a wise and correct choice is made. To do so, people will need to be informed, discern who the candidates are, unite and find new leaders.

I feel at ease, because I understand that everything is fine, everyone is satisfied and life goes on. I also know that there will be no changes, not in the next few years anyway. And this is a good thing, because changes are never safe. There is always the risk that things will turn for the worse (as confirmed by most peoples' personal experience) and that we will be forced to do new and unusual things.

I don't want to offend anyone who has suffered, in one way or another, from the government, the state, its laws, lawlessness, orders and crimes, but I do know that things will be the same for a long time to come. Nothing will change, because no one really wants any changes. Most people simply need things to stay as they are. The system of relationships and experiences prevalent in the country cannot be captured by saying: “It just happened this way and there's nothing you can do about it now”. No, this system has been carefully and painstakingly built by all players in this grand game who have acted each according to his own needs.

I know what I'm saying – not because I'm wise but because I know from my personal experience what alcoholism is. The good thing about it is that you learn first-hand how all these mechanisms of addiction and co-addiction work. A sober drunkard can unmistakably discern the slightest signs of addiction around himself. Another very important thing is that every addiction and every co-addiction (which is being addicted to someone who is addicted to something) seem unique and unlike all others only at first glance. In reality, they are all very simple and boring and follow the same typical scene. No matter how ingeniously an addict escapes himself as he tries to protect his addiction, another addict immediately sees through his tricks as indelible signs of addiction.

I don't know why, but the number of addicts who constantly create problems and co-addicts who unsuccessfully try to solve them is critically high in Ukraine. So high, in fact, that healthy people essentially have no voice. After all, they themselves have withdrawn from this mad cacophony and have silently committed themselves to their greatest duty – living their own true lives in a hard and joyful fashion, making their personal choices and loving others and themselves, making the Creator happy.

These numerous addicts and co-addicts have managed to impose the rules of their pleasure-seeking on society. Some are nurturing their own addictions, while others relish the suffering caused by co-addiction. You get the impression that this type of legitimized relationship is the one and only achievement of Ukrainian democracy. The so-called government in Ukraine is a drug to which addiction-prone people actually become addicted. So-called voters, the electorate, are co-addicts who cannot afford to stop helping addicts get their drugs.

Typical addicts are not really interested in anything except the object of their addiction. They cannot do anything about themselves or anything else. They lie, weasel their way out of trouble and come up with new tricks. They shudder and throw fits in depression. They are scared and bothered by guilt. They don’t know what they should desire or where to go. They justify their position, deny the obvious, promise to get a grip on themselves and love everyone. They are fed up with the fuss of everyday live and the efforts to bring the situation under control. They talk through their hat and are driven to despair, with no strength left to live this life. But they can’t stop even when pleasure turns into pain.

In turn, the co-addicts pity themselves and grumble about their crippled lives. They snivel and rage, cry and curse and despise their torturers and themselves. They don't trust anyone, try to influence the addicts and wait for a miraculous solution to their problems. They also wait for their tormentor to die, but eventually themselves save him and then, on top of that, agree to have a drink together as long as it can be monitored.

All this instead of simply cutting contact with their torturer at risk of being left alone.


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