Provenance This paper derives from a lecture given before the Society for the Study of Addiction in November 2004, on the author's retirement from the position of Editor-in-Chief of Addiction, one of the Society's journals.
Aim To identify the live processes which have influenced the journal's evolution since its foundation in 1884.
Conclusions Over the 120-year period a strong, continuing historical thread has been the fluctuating success of the journal's engagement with its ‘Invisible College’, the community which it seeks to serve. It is argued that the journal's future success will depend on its capacity to explore and nurture further this two-way relationship. Addiction is a journal with an active and clearly articulated, multiple vision of it purpose, and this vision is outlined. It dares to try to influence its future with the authority so to do rooted in its ability to reflect the aspirations and concerns of its readers. It is ‘a journal of the second kind’.