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The name "Michael Jackson" and the word "addict" don't seem like they belong in the same sentence, do they? That's precisely why I've written this article, namely, to help keep his "addiction" to prescription drugs in proper perspective.
Jackson the "Junkie"?: The words "junkie" and "addict" have such negative connotations. While Michael Jackson revealed some years ago that he struggled with an addiction to prescription medication, this is a far cry from robbing your mother to get a fix--something a junkie would do. Some would argue, though, that using aliases to obtain drugs--something Michael apparently did--is also characteristic of a junkie. But, Michael had been using aliases--and even wearing disguises--years before being prescribed sedatives for pain.
True, Kai Chase, Michael's personal chef, called it "appalling" when asked on Larry King Live how she felt about Michael having used her name as an alias to get a prescription filled. She is certainly justified in feeling this way. No one likes being used and, I might add, this was not one of Michael's finer moments. But, if you know Michael, using aliases to get prescription medication could be one of his most misunderstood actions.
Beyond the fact that Michael was a joker (as can be seen in his use of the alias Josephine Baker, a fellow addict when she was alive), he used the names of a high "tier-level" of people he loved and respected He thought they'd understand should his actions come to light. Hence, while dare not using the names of his beloved mother Katherine or his beautiful daughter Paris, he did use the names of close friend and videographer Frank Tyson; and the woman he and his children grew to be quite fond of, Kai Chase, among others. He meant these no harm, and no harm came to any of them.
Besides, in his upbringing as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, Michael was aware that according to the publication Insight on the Scriptures, "The Greek word for 'spiritism' is pharÃ¡maÃ¡ki_a." The Bible encyclopedia states further, "Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words...says of the word: '...pharmacy...primarily signified the use of medicine, drugs, spells; then, poisoning; then, sorcery.'" Michael believed this.
Michael on Medication: What was the singular event that catapulted Michael Jackson into an unintended, unanticipated life of addiction? A second-degree burn on a large area of his scalp sustained during a Pepsi commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in 1984. This type of burn is deep tissue and is extremely painful. It can even send the victim into shock. Instead of using the $1.5 million settlement to feed a drug habit Michael donated it all to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City. This facility now has a "Michael Jackson Burn Center."
As for the excruciating pain he experienced, doctors prescribed powerful sedatives. The eventual inadvertent addiction ostensibly came when Michael had to make a choice between unbearable (sometimes excruciating) pain, and the soothing relief brought on by his prescriptions. Of course, being diagnosed with lupus didn't help matters. Granted, it should be acknowledged that prescription drugs may have played a part in Michael's tragic, incomprehensible, inconceivable death. But he should not be cast in an unfavorable light because of the very unusual, extenuating circumstances surrounding his final days.
Anyone who has had the unenviable misfortune of witnessing the slow demise of a friend or relative dying of terminal cancer knows that morphine injections cannot come quickly enough for the patient. Though pain medication may be scheduled every several hours or so oftentimes this simply is not soon enough.
Physicians Give Fixes?: "What about his use of physician enablers? Surely this is consistent with the behavior of a rich addict!" someone may assert. Frankly, Michael was out of the box in virtually every area of his life. He regularly crossed lines, and expected others to do the same. While not condoning this mindset, if he requested physicians to think and act out the box, it was up to them to decide whether they were going to work within the framework of the protocols that regulate and dictate their profession.
Actually, Michael micromanaged his food intake; had a strict workout regimen; and of all things, attempted to control his own circadian rhythm (natural sleep cycle). And yes, he even micromanaged the prescription medication for his pain. Though not a justification--philosophically speaking--Michael, in his brilliance, knew that something could be unlawful, but at the same time ethical. For instance, child stealing is unlawful, but if the non-custodial parent "stole" her child because the custodial parent was a heavy cocaine user and dangerously exposed the child to an assortment of illegal drugs on a regular basis, mother's actions would be ethical, though illegal. Bottom line, Michael didn't set out to ruin the careers of doctors or any other medical professionals. And in the end drugs should not define the man that was Michael Jackson.
No More Pain: Michael Jackson believed that someday pain would be no more. He felt this would happen in an unnamed paradise earth just over the horizon. He called it The Place With No Name, the title of his unreleased song. Therein lyrics conceptualized the "no pain" scenario when he repeatedly makes the heart-wrenching request, "take me to the place without no pain." He took artistic license here, for, a "place without no pain" (a double negative) is a painful place! In any event, we know what he meant.
Encouragingly, the Bible reassures that God "will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore." (Rev. 21:4; New World Translation) Or, as another translation renders it, God "will wipe every tear from their eyes. No one will die. No one will ever cry or be sad for any reason. No one will ever have trouble." (Rev. 21:4; Worldwide English New Testament) Since these sad conditions never occurred in heaven, a future paradise earth must be the subject under consideration in this text, and, instead of Neverland or Wonderland, its original name was Eden. Next time, "Demystifying Michael." Stay tuned.