The Hero’s journey from addiction

I searched the internet in hope to get my mittens on  Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, ‘ The hero’s journey’ written in the context of addiction, I was surprised to not find one single article, online. 

As a former addict, I’ve taken the gauntlet and have enjoyed revisiting the journey from addict to hero, using Campbell’s structure as a rough guide.

I haven’t strictly followed the standard 12 step approach of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Alcoholics Anonymous cover the 12 steps there is no need for me to replicate this.  

1) A call to change adventure

Something in our life calls for change.

 A health issue occurs as a result of the addiction, a relationship breakdown, or we face trouble for our addiction with some form of loss, or maybe a pending criminal conviction shakes us up.  We are strongly encouraged or forced the leave our ordinary world of addiction. We have been here at the threshold of change before and failed miserably. 

2) Meeting the Mentor

At this crucial turning point, we desperately need guidance. A mentor figure is required who will give us something we need.  This could be a person, or an object of great importance, or an insight into our dilemma from a wise soul.  Our mentor might come in the form of practical training or even a strange blast of self-confidence. Whatever the mentor provides, it serves to dispel our doubts and fears and gives us the strength and courage to begin our quest. My mentors were my daughters Niobe and Echo. Thank you my little warrior girls. 

3) Entering the unknown

“Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the high road to the soul’s destination.”   Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

We land in a, shit up gutter immersed in our vomit (could be metaphorical) this is the beginning of our new world. Feeling raw as the exposure gnaws at your veins, everything is terrifying, live by the day? Nah, you live by the minute in absolute terror of the future, Yet we must continue.

How can we move beyond the discomfort of the comfort given by our drug? We need to learn how to deal with living without our crutch, our horrible little friend who doesn’t really help us at all, nonetheless we believed its bullshit to fill our void. Our friendships, beliefs and behaviours associated with the old path have to change. With extreme anxiety and side effects of abstinence, and yes, we must continue.

4) Challenges and temptations

“Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the high road to the soul’s destination.”  Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

With every new landscape comes new challenges.  We miss the routines and planning how to arrange our life around addiction. The simplest things are tormenting, and everyone gives you a good fucking reason to “say fuck it” and text your dealer or go to the shop for booze, food, cigarettes, etc., whatever your drug of choice is.   Dealing with new people is a major issue with paranoia alongside the enormity of dealing with our experience of life, is excruciating.

How do people live without their drug of choice? The hour’s drag as does our meaningless life. The ache of aloneness in your bones intensity’s as night-time envelops. During the darker hours the sirens call, and the mermaids of addiction seductively offer escape.  Despite this, we fight to get our shit tighter, making friends and showing yourself for the first time.

5) Allies & enemies 

You will find out who can be trusted and who can’t. You will make some wise connections and meet enemies who will each in their own way help prepare you for the countless ordeals that await you.  This is the stage where your skills and personal power is, tested and every obstacle you face will help to provide gain a deeper insight into his character and ultimately identify with him even more.

6) Slaying our dragon

“He must put aside his pride, his virtue, beauty and life and bow or submit to the absolutely intolerable.”   Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Now comes the thing we must overcome, to be a better version of us. This is something we have probably run from most of our life. It’s what scares us the most. I recall thinking I had nailed my addiction with crack, I felt strong until a turbulent fight threw me back into the ever-loving arms of my best friend crack. 

I scratched the can to prepare for lift-off while smoking a cigarette to make an ash nest upon the pin holes I had prepared on the side of the can.  My lips kissed the can as I flicked the lighter and the flame licked the rock I imbibed the dreamy smoke into my lungs, sitting back to join the short dance in bliss, I was instead hit with electricity charging into my bones and violent thoughts I knew I had made a big mistake, she (crack) ridiculed me, the bitch got me, so I decided to screw her, stupidly and fortuitously, (I love absurdity’s) I decided to overdose with the intention that if I could make myself so wretched, so unwell, I would win the dance. I did exactly that and writhed for several days, and never I touched crack again. I do not recommend this as an approach, I was a young an extremely naive young girl.

7) Death and rebirth

“It is only when a man tames his own demons that he becomes the king of himself if not of the world.”   Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Once we slay our dragon, we change. Post dragon slaying can be learning how to be human without numbing ourselves, learning how to feel and think, it’s a tough and joyful ride. Slaying the dragon can be an internal thing or an external thing but there is always an internal shift. We grow, transform and allow ourselves space to be who we truly are and regain trust with life. A part of us dies and we are reborn with new found wisdom.

Then coming back to the village-the garden of Eden-your paradise.

Changed, wise with a powerful story to share.

Coming full circle, changed, different, a new person.


You are the holy grail fucking own it and bathe in your brilliance the most intoxicating substance ever!!


BIG big love Alexia  X  

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Psychotherapeutic Hypnotist  Leicester UK

Befreinding your inner beasties