Unhappy Rush


Rush Limbaugh's comments during his first day back on the air since he went through a third round of "treatment" for his drug problem illustrate the point that, despite his emphasis on the addictive power of opioid painkillers, his habit was not simply a chemical compulsion. Summing up what he learned during his five weeks off, he said:

I can no longer try to live my life by making other people happy. I can no longer turn over the power of my feelings to anybody else, which is what I have done a lot of my life. I have thought I had to be this way or that way in order to be liked or appreciated or understood, and in the process I denied myself who I was, and I denied the other people who I was talking to and relating with who I really am. And that isn't good.

The problem, in other words, was not that the narcotics were inherently irresistible (which is what Limbaugh implied in his October 10 confession) but that he used them to mask his basic unhappiness. The need for the psychological changes to which Limbaugh alludes explains why simply getting the drugs out of his system, which he has done three times now, was not enough.