Am reading CS Lewis’ The Silver Chairagain (my least favorite of the Narnia chronicles). If you’ve not read it, it tells the story of the King Caspian’s son, Prince Rilian, and his escape from the underworld by the help of two British children and a Marshwiggle. Prince Rilian has been captured by a witch who keeps him insane and believing that he was rescued by her and that she will put him on a throne soon in the overworld. He stays sane except for an hour when he is bound to a silver chair at which point he comes to and know who he is and that the evil witch murdered his mother.
The children and the marshwiggle help him escape the chair while he is sane. He turns on the chair with a sword and shreds it to pieces. At that moment, he has all the clarity of sane thinking and sees reality as it really is. But moments later, the witch returns and begins to cloud his mind with a soothing music, voice and something thrown on the fire. Within minutes they begin to doubt the truth and believe that what is bad is good and what is good is only a fantasy. They disbelieve Aslan, the sun. The Overworld is fantasy and the underworld is the true world.
Now, this story is not about addiction but it reminded me how quickly we can move from seeing the abomination of an addictive habit to beginning to believe it might not be so bad. The addict “repents” from the consequences of their action only to fall right back because the siren song has their number.
Do you notice this in your life about irritability, rage, jealousy, substances, food, internet sex? It doesn’t have to be a traditional addiction, just something that we find ourselves telling (to ourselves) those sweet little lies.
6 responses to “Great illustration of the strength of addiction”
It’s interesting — The Silver Chair is my least favorite of the series too, and yet I find I come back to it over and over for these illustrations.
I guess Lewis knew something about strongholds…
I’ve found that the pull of the addictions mentioned above is greatly reduced and manageable with A. knowledge of the addiction (how, why, consequences, etc.), and B. compassion with myself when I stumble from my expectations. In this way, the siren song becomes a mere tune amongst many that I can choose from, or not, at my will.
Thanks for the interesting post, Phil. It made me think about the links between addiction and self-deception.
It is also fascinating to me how some addictions are socially acceptable (daily coffee) and some are not (more “traditional” addictions).
I saw this scene in the original British version of The Silver Chair twenty years ago (well worth renting and watching) and it has always stuck with me as this very example of the intoxication and ‘spell’ of addiction.
That is a great illustration; besides the pull of addiction and how quickly we can return to it, it shows how important it is to get help from others to be freed from it’s grasp.
And it reminds me of one of my favorite parts of the Prodigal son story, it says when he “came to his senses” in the pig sty he thought of returning home.
Our family recently learned a powerful lesson about the gift of Grace and redemption as the kids are preparing to be in a Narnia musical this month. My wife described in on her blog
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