"Oh, yes it is!" many of you may say. It is NOT.
If the model for motivation you follow is “addiction," you run a higher risk of eventually being healed. Once you are healed of your addiction, we may never see you again at the milonga. What keeps some tangueros/tangueras motivated and others fall away? A different model may help you from falling away. [Tomorrow, I will introduce a motivation model, but for now, let's find a better human behavior model that explains the power of tango.]
I work in a medical world of colleagues, some VERY SMART people. So I know that I am a minority in my own business of "mental health" to reject the medical model as being helpful in describing human behavior.
But tango gives me great insights of why joy, freedom, movement is not addiction.
Addiction is a very negative medical model, and, sorry to say, you and everyone you know is sick to some degree. [Read Viktor Frankel for a glass-is-half-full perspective of human psychology.] So we go to our 12-step meeting. I stand and say: "My name is Mark, and I am addicted to the medical model. I find it hard to think of the world without applying the modern medical model to everything. My computer is sick because it has a virus. St. Paul had a 'conversion disorder' being blinded by a light, talking to Jesus (psychosis) and hearing him too. I feel guilty when I say this, but even Jesus had some sort of delusional disorder. Everyone I know is sick, sick, sick. I am addicted to the medical model." I sit down. People clap. I cry.
Now the Voice of Reason:
Tango is a wonderful thing and so is air. If you say I am addicted to both, then so be it. I really am fond of air. Abraham Maslow said that air, food, water, shelter, sleep, movement, touch* (there are more) are the first level in the hierarchy of human needs. Babies and old people who are not touched die. The medical term is "failure to thrive." Just say it! "They died for lack of a caring touch!" Our need (especially in touch-resistant America) is fulfilled in tango.
Did you ever realize that you are getting nearly everything you need according to Maslow on the most basic level at a milonga? Is this addiction? The "religion" of the medical model has infected the way you think. Whoops, did I say infected? Oh, my God,I have contracted a medical model disorder. And I am not just sad about it, I am clinically depressed. But after I get off work and you see me dancing all night, you'll know that I am a manic-depressive patient. I think this is what is called a sarcastic rant.
So please stop telling me you are addicted to tango, okay? It is not the case. You had a great milonga. You were breathing. You got some food and water at the refreshment table. The studio was great shelter with air conditioning or heat. You were moving, touching, communicating. And, that meine Damen und Herrn was just the first level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Need. Tango starts at the bottom and goes all the way to the top of his pyramid.
Now, that you are not addicted, you now are less likely to just stop tango when it turns out to be work one day. Or you have some really bad experiences related to tango. The honeymoon one day will be over. Will then the addiction is healed? And will you (as many before you) never go to a milonga again? If you are addicted you may just say, "I am over that!" But I hope you will not give up as others when they convinced themselves they were no longer addicted to air, water, food, touch, movement, and JOY. Pure joy. Where is my bandoneon? I feel a melancholic tango coming on. I am singing now:
Esa mujer que bailaba conmigo
Ya no viene desde hace mucho.
Abandonó el tango y sus tradiciones
Así como si fueran malas adicciones.
Abandonó la milonga por su tristeza
Pero el tango todavía ama a su pureza.
That woman who danced with me
No longer visits the milonga
She abandoned tango and its traditions
As if there were merely evil addictions.
She abandoned tango out of sadness
But tango still loves her nevertheless.
Let's make a date to meet in Austin in 30 years at a milonga, okay?
The Unknown Tango Theologian from Salado, Texas