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Tango: addiction or obsession?

January 16, 2011

They say Tango attracts the commitment phobic. Those who haven’t quite made it up the aisle or down the registry office. Those who prefer their relationships short and sweet, moving on swiftly to something and someone new.. Dancing provides an opportunity to experience someone’ intimate energy in close proximity, to get to know their bodies, how they move, twist and turn. But there it ends, on the dance floor and  you find a new partner, someone different, with a whole different set of quirks and idiosyncracies.. Maybe you can dance better or worse with them, but its just different and thats the thrill and the excitement.

At the Milonga you dont’ have to do so much talking, bonding and making relationships, although of course that does happen. But you can come, watch the dancers and just dance. You don’t even have to make conversation inbetween. I like that sometimes just holding the embrace between songs and then resuming, sometimes we chat too much and surely a silence sometimes is preferable to idle chit chat… to misquote Pulp Fiction, you know when you’ve found someone really special, when you can just share comfortable silence with them..

Sometimes the music does all the talking and the brief pauses are there to just savour the moment between…

For me, also trying to face my comittment issues, I find that the tango gives me a chance to make and keep a promise. For you, for this song, in this monent I am yours, fully and totally. I give myself to the man, the music and I am totally committed to making the dance work.

I’ve also been thinking about whether or not Tango actually qualifies as an ‘addiction’  or is it more of an obsession? This excerpt from  Dopamine Dialogue has some interesting things to say about it…

Euphoric Recall (also called “war stories” or ”staying in the high”)

Oftentimes, people with addiction disorders report having vivid memories of their first using experiences, sometimes dating back to very young ages. For example: ”When I was little, my mother gave me whiskey with honey and lemon to help my cough and I remember REALLY liking it and wanting more.” People with addiction disorders are also known to tell what are called ”war stories” in which they reminisce about getting high – they relive the moment through talking about it in detail. This is called “euphoric recall” —  in other words they are recalling the euphoric experience. When a person with an addiction disorder talks in detail about using experiences, their brain actually releases a little bit of dopamine in preparation for the use, like salivating. This then leads to a craving or a stronger urge to use the substance and the person is more likely to go to greater efforts to ensure that they do indeed use. This is how the DRIVE of addiction is formed. The brain becomes trained with the first intense flood of dopamine and is driven to repeat the experience again and again because the brain associates the use of the substance with reward and survival.  It is no wonder that relapse rates amongst people with the disease of addiction are estimated to be at the very high level of about 80% – or 8 out of 10.

After this drive has kicked in, the only way to stop it (prevent relapse) is to 1. Abstain from using or engaging in the pleasurable experience (which is difficult because there is this pull back to doing it) 2. Allow time to pass for the brain to heal from this flood of chemicals (most studies report that the brain jump-starts the healing process at 90-days without use) 3. Learn how this disease works and get really good at recognizing when these types of situations are coming on.

Obsession, addiction or… What do you think?

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