The Tail of the Raccoon, Part III: Departures – Educational and Scientific Commentary

Drug addiction counselors have long noted that the recovering addict has a need to replace drug use with another activity that offers at least some of the connections formerly provided by the activities involved in getting and using drugs. The Twelve Step addiction treatment program is designed to replace drug use with a commitment to spirituality and a belief in a higher power, while also providing the powerful connection offered by the common bond with other addicts who are also struggling to maintain abstinence while in recovery. Other therapeutic activities successfully employed by drug addiction counselors have included exercise (Smith and Lynch, 2012; Zschucke, Heinz, and Strohle, 2012), music (Blacher & Rundio, 2014; Edwards, 2014), and expressive or creative arts (Crits-Christoph, Gibbons, Gallop, Ring-Kurtz, Barber, Worley, Present, and Hearon, 2008; Blacher & Rundio, 2014). While the basis of these addiction therapies remains unclear, it should be noted that many normal, healthy, non-addicted individuals find these activities intrinsically rewarding and conducive to the formation of common interest groups and social networking.

In summary, “The Tail of the Raccoon, Part III: Departures” depicts the fate of Lepus, a drug addict, who is triggered into relapsing by the sight of the silk vial. Lepus is trying to control his drug use, but is unable to resist the temptation to take the drug because he is unable to restrain Sign-Tracking responses when in the presence of the object used to consume Alatro’s potion. Lepus is a Sign-Tracker. He is powerless to control himself when in the presence of cues which are mindful of Alatro’s potion. “The Tail of the Raccoon, Part III: Departures” is a story about the enormous consequences of addiction, including the necessity of building a new life and leaving everything behind. Because he is a drug addict and a Sign-Tracker, Lepus must leave his homeland and start a new life away from all of the triggers and reminders of drug use. He has no choice but to leave behind everything familiar and go off to a faraway place, so that it may be possible for him to lead a drug-free life.