This episode, entitled “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type-Deal”, Walter and Jesse meet with Tuco, the psycho drug kingpin, about doing more business with him. Walter hands over a smaller amount of meth than they’d agreed to, which makes Tuco very made. Walter counters with “You like this product and you want more. Consider it a capital investment”.. .
Tuco agrees to loan them money at 25%/week but warns them, “Talk is talk. But owing me money, that’s bad.”
Walter offers, and Tuco accepts, a proposal whereby Walter and Jesse double their production from two pounds to four pounds per week. Jesse balks at the new production level, saying it’ll take two or three hundred boxes of sinus pills to make the quota. Walter says they’ll make their own ingredients. But that entails Jesse going on major shopping adventure, to which Jesse says “I can’t even pronounce half this shit. Count me out.”
Walter gives Jesse a pep talk, says he needs to believe in himself, and Jesse’s in.
Jesse goes on marathon shopping trip. He gets everything on Walter’s list except one key ingredient. Jesse tells Walter that he knows a guy who can get the ingredient but it’ll cost ten grand. Walter proposes they get it themselves. So they use thermite – an ingredient that can be extracted from magnetic sketching toys – to blow off a door so they can steal a drum of the ingredient from a local company’s warehouse.
Their plan works. They pull off the heist. But their RV – the mobile meth lab — won’t start the next day. So Walter and Jesse cook in Jesse’s basement. Unfortunately, it turns out Jesse’s real estate agent didn’t get the message about not showing the house that day so there’s an open house that happens during the cook. Walter and Jesse manage to hide what Walter is doing. Eventually Jesse tells his real-estate agent, and everyone within earshot at the open house, that the house is no longer for sale. I love the symbolism oozing from that scene. On the main floor, which represents conventional society, we have folks checking out the house, doing normal, let’s-see-how-good-the-product-for-sale-really-is type stuff. Then in the basement, on the lower, secret level, we have Walter cooking meth, a highly illegal (some would say immoral) activity. Because the perpetrators know what they’re doing is illegal, they have to hide what they’re doing. The key is that in their own minds, Walter and Jesse don’t consider what they’re doing to be wrong. They know it’s illegal and that many people think it’s wrong but they’ve come to grips with what they’re doing. They’re okay with their identities as meth makers and sellers. In other words, their ego has allowed them to forge a new identity and once they accept that identity as legitimate in their own mind, their egos will defend their right to make and sell meth.
It’s the same with alcoholics and addicts. We know that abusing alcohol/drugs is, in many people’s minds, wrong. We know it’s wrong in many ways but still do it anyway. In the world of substance abusers, what they’re doing, although not accepted by conventional members of society, is deemed okay largely because their egos back anything the person does because that’s how egos operate. They’re a staunch supporter of their “owner” no matter how far the owner strays from the path of righteousness. Think of your ego as Saul the lawyer from “Breaking Bad” magnified a thousand fold.
So the result is there is a discrepancy between the alcoholic’s reputation and their true self. That tension creates stress because the alcoholic, like Walter and Jesse, has to hide their true self from the conventional, law-abiding world. Alcoholics like my wife Amy and I had to hide our true selves from the normal world because we knew our alcoholism wouldn’t be accepted. What Amy and I didn’t realize was that we didn’t have to drink to escape reality. We were trying to escape from something that didn’t truly exist, namely a fixed, static self-identity.
As Eckhart Tolle wrote in “A New World” and “Silence Speaks”, many people mistake the content of their lives – what happens – for their true selves. Your true self is the awareness that sees what happens in your life but it’s different from what happens in your life. There is the observer and there is the events the observer observes. The practicing alcoholic mistakenly thinks that “I drink, therefore I am” but their drinking isn’t who they really are. Who they really are is the awareness that perceives whatever it is they’re doing at any given moment.
It’s the same with Walter. He isn’t truly a meth cook but he’s convinced himself that he is. He acts the way he does because he’s playing a role that he believes he must play. The ultimate, purest form of freedom known to humans is attitude. More specifically, an attitude of acceptance and the realization what you do, and have done, is fundamentally different than who you really are. That realization allows a person who’s abused alcohol or been addicted to drugs, gambling, pornography, violence, negative thinking, or ANY UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIOR, to leave that in the past and live a life free of addiction.
As I write in chapter seven of my book, “Overcome Any Personal Obstacle, Including Alcoholism, By Understanding Your Ego” — http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/leewriter — the 4th Insight of Enlightenment is transform your weaknesses into strengths. You do this by accepting the worst things you’ve done (e.g. – drinking to excess) and things you didn’t do but wish you had (e.g. – not help your spouse with a drinking problem), that allows you to stop dwelling on that negative energy from regret and self-doubt and live in the Now. That’s why Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection resonates with Christians. However you do it, for your mental health and peace of mind, it’s essential to separate yourself, your self-identity, from the sins of your past. You can’t live in the Now if your mind is back in the past beating yourself up over your sins. As my best friend David Erickson told me numerous times just after I’d gone on a four or five-day drinking binge, lay your sins at the foot of the cross.