The Living Carcass: Zombies, Vampires, and Addiction

May 7, 2014

imagesBy Terence T. Gorski, Author

Addiction can turn an active addict into a living carcass — the empty shell of a real human person.

A carcass is “the outside part of a vehicle, building, or other object that is left when the rest of it has been destroyed.” In terms of addiction, it is the living shell of a person who has nothing left in life but their addiction.  The addiction has stripped them of the essence of being a human being and left a arational drug seeking creature in its place.

The zombie metaphor is very appropriate for addiction. The brain is attacked by the active addiction and the addict becomes a zombie, repeating the same addictive cycle without thought or self-control. Eventually zombies die or are killed or imprisoned by those who are still alive. The consequences of their own behavior condemns zombies to dwell in then land of the living dead and function on a subhuman level.


I bite. You bleed. You may fight. I need to feed.

The vampire metaphor also applies to addiction. Vampires were once good people who were victimized by a predatory vampire. As the transformation from human to vampire progresses, need for blood grows. Even the vampires who still remember human sensibilities cannot resist the need to feed on blood, no matter what the consequence or how badly the act of feeding violates their values..

The analogy of the addict as vampire is best expressed in the book The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. It is a great book. Lestat is a likable vampire because he fights back against the inhuman need to feed on blood. He does not like being a vampire and goes to heroic lengths to rise above his nature and become human again. He hates himself for what he is and what he feels the compulsion to do. Yet he is what he is and cannot change his nature.

Fortunately, unlike Zombies and Vampires, people suffering from addiction can recover.

I have not seen any 12-Step for vampires. There is a book on the 12-Steps for Vampires by Michael Masden and a film entitled Vampires Anonymous.



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