Addiction Recovery

At the end of my military service, I was briefly involved in drugs. I took them to relieve the emotional pain and trauma of sexual assault and shame that I personally endured and was fearful of sharing with others. However, I did seek help to stop using drugs by attending Narcotics Anonymous which helped me with a step program to manage my life a little bit better than the day before.

When I witness or hear about other struggling with drug addiction, I have to first ask myself, “if the other individual has an underlying problem?” Additionally “do they wish to do something about it to stop using drugs?” Stopping the use of drugs whether they are recreational or prescription abuses begins with throwing in the towel asking others or someone for help. The journey to quit any addiction isnt a matter of going cold turkey, but a willingness to ask for help which seems to be a common stuck point for many trying to harness addiction and its behaviors associated with it.

In addiction counseling, I would often hear about substituting one drug for another. What that means is quitting drugs but doing something else as if it is a drug like drinking, smoking marijuana instead of doing cocaine or other similar addictive situations. But those in addiction recovery often find themselves battling manipulative behaviors to keep from returning back to one drug while sometimes substituting a minor drug deeming it as less harmful. The end result is that the cognitive abilities are wired to keep repeating the same processes over and over presenting no improved reasoning powers to overcome addiction. Somewhat similar to stopping smoking but using e-cigarettes as s justification to quitting. It is a good attempt and perhaps the first step but not stopping the habit of repetitive actions. That too is substituting one addiction for another.

Most people seeking recovery or families trying to find resources are often met with outrageous financial assessments for treatment centers or long-term commitment facilities. While some of these may be wonderful solutions, it isn’t practical to the typical person seeking recovery. A first recommended step is to attend an addiction meeting. Granted, to the person seeking recovery the meeting will initially feel like a bunch of people talking about their desires to use again, but the remarkable part is they are not using for that one moment. It is a support group; not a repair shop with a guaranteed service. The people in the group all share a common problem seeking others that can see beyond the bullshit talk and actions to keep a person in recovery and on a path. The suggested steps are not a speed trial. They are steps that will eventually take years or decades to complete. If a person fails, they start over from step one without penalty or scorn. Again, it is a support mechanism towards recovery.

It is the people not seeking recovery are the ones we should all worry or be concerned about. If a person can understand they need help but do nothing about it to take the essential first steps, then sometimes letting people hit rock bottom may sound bad, but is a common indication that they need to hit that point. Doing so allows that person to realize their path and justification isn’t doing them any good and won’t improve until they take action to do something about it. Sure, we worry about suicide or other contributors by doing or saying nothing because we don’t wish to make a metter worse. In fact, we are contributing to the addiction by trying to be untrained social workers allowing the manipulation and addiction to fester. Let me be clear that I am referring to substance abuse as the topic matter.

Addiction is strong and difficult to break. As observers, we must allow people to work out their differences and pathways. However, those that think they can manage on their own are only fooling themselves and manipulating others that recovery is a successful option if they are substituting one drug for another. It is just a matter of time before that single support mechanism breaks revisiting the whole cycle all over again. This is why recovery must have other people in recovery to make that connection with active sponsorship and accessibility to meetings whenever possible.

If you need help or want to help others, give them the address or number of an anonymous group in your area. If they use it, good. If they don’t, good. At least you have done your part. They have to want it.

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Kids Don’t Give A Damn

Some will argue that the youth is our future. I certainly would love to buy into that hope. Let’s face it. Youth don’t really care about the future. All they seem to care about is what is in the now or convenient for them. It is the same pattern generation after generation in America. Our addiction to pop culture, materialism, and the latest fad seems to be the center of the youth agenda rather than caring for future generations. You can attempt to sway me with a soothing rhetoric of graduation speeches that we all have heard repeated. Yes, we want to believe that the youth is our future but the bottom line is they don’t give a damn.

 

Case and point are the recent elections. Voters nationwide from ages 18 and 25 barely made a blip on the electoral radar. In fact, it was older Americans that dominated the polls. I am surprised that a young generation filled with Facebook, Twitter and smartphone technology apps misses an opportunity to pick a leader for its future. That same leadership choice is a decision by youth that could shape the future of student loans, affordable housing, special job creation, and so forth. Again, youth missed the opportunity without giving as much as a middle finger to any side of the political isle. Instead, those same tambourine shaking young people are blaming Republicans for nearly a landslide victory. It’s sad. The youth of America had an enormous opportunity to shift the election and didn’t do a thing. Perhaps this is a good lesson learned to not take things for granted.

 

Youth don’t give a damn either about student loans. In fact, most students have barely a clue about how the interest rates or longevity works. Some student thinks they can claim bankruptcy after a period of time. At this point, I would say not only do students not give a damn but don’t want to educate themselves about credit. Instead, most youth completely avoid credit altogether. Sure, this could be interpreted as “credit can ruin your lives” or other rhetoric. But it’s safe to say that credit on a small level prepares a person for that large purchase such as a home or a family vehicle.

 

Naturally, my tone with regards to youth is a bit disgusted and disappointed. It seems more interested in technology but becomes fickle with that technology around election time. Youth will go to college and seek a major that has nothing to do with what they desire to work in. Youth taunt about the need to control gun violence yet is the largest group of firearms violators. Youth seek to decriminalize our drug use laws but are the biggest group of citizens addicted to a critical or life-threatening substance. If this is the best our future can produce then at what age will it change? As adults are we no longer concerned about youth? Is the age of innocence and promise completely lost? I certainly hope not. For now, ages 30 and 40 seem to be more in line with our future.

I’m Trading My Life for a Flip Phone

When I was growing up and introduced to the internet age my life was a bit simple. All I had was a LAN line with call waiting and a Zoom modem box. Connectivity was to a service once called CompuServ where I had to pay an additional $10 a month to access email, the web, and browser material. There was not much to choose from, but the information was simple, easy to access and affordable. Today my internet service is by Time Warner that costs $100 a month, and my modem set me back about $125 to own (2 years ago). Gone is the telephone line only replaced by a smartphone account that averages $75 a month with AT&T Wireless and a monthly fee to Apple in order to own my iPhone 7 plus. Access to information is no longer credible, and I must be vigilant to ensure that my personal data is protected and my network secured from malware. Sadly I wish I had the simplicity of my 1995 life back again because what I researched was credible, inexpensive, reliable and didn’t overwhelm me or my wallet.

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Many of us are seeking ways to cut the cord so to speak. I have satellite television service with DirecTV yet have an Apple TV device connected to the internet. Sure, I could simplify things but at the same time complicate the way I am used to things. Our lives have nearly become a la carte somewhat at what is offered to us. But we become nickel and dimed to death at what we want to choose to have. For example, I could cut the cord and subscribe to SlingBox or something else and add HBO Now and some other goodies such as Netflix or Amazon Prime (which doesn’t work on Apple TV as of yet). But I end up paying what a gave up in original charges and taxes. Yes, I am paying for internet service that I could reduce only to degrade the qualities that I am used to or require. It seems that when we take a step back to average what we receive is below average only to be told by some technical support department “you should upgrade to our premium service.” It makes me want to scream at times. I didn’t experience premium or commercial free back in 1995. It seems that businesses have created clever ways to trap our norms or styles to become no longer premium but platinum in hopes we will keep wanting more. What I think of technology is like a drug similar to heroin. We keep wanting more and find it difficult to quit or stop our addiction. Funny, that our primary supplier of technologies is the very industries that warn us about substance abuse. The media can be so cruel.

What should I do? Become a free spirit and break free from technology? Should I become like my mother that could care less about smartphones, the internet and 260 channels (where she claims 250 channels are infomercials or pay movie based)? Maybe she is right? Perhaps it is a lesson from those generations before us. My grandmother used to say that American culture is like sheep. We just keep following what everyone else has even if we don’t need it. Nevertheless, we buy it and may use it once or twice only to rust away or become obsolete.

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Maybe I should cut all the cords and cordless completely and learn to begin to start smelling the real roses versus the virtual roses. I think I could save a lot of money. But like giving up any addiction or drug the cold turkey will be certainly a hell for me as I hear other addicts say, “what about what happened on Game of Thrones” or “I knew she would do that on House of Cards.” Is there a pill or patch I can use when I begin weening off internet and television? Oh god, I think I may be laughed off the earth, and my dating may be altered if I am seen with a flip phone. I desire simplicity but at what cost? That is who we are today but is it how we want to be?

Internet Porn Addiction

Recently Pamela Anderson wrote an Op-Ed on the addictive dangers of pornography. I agree that internet porn addiction is an issue. However, I would interject that internet addiction is just as critical. While I am out eating at a restaurant, I will notice people sitting at a table not engaged with each other but texting or playing on a mobile device. The recent storm of Pokemon Go may be adding to our internet addiction. There is a problem because on the go internet applications used on mobile devices have led to an increase in injuries because people are not paying attention.

Let us go back to internet porn addiction. I would argue that relationships, in general, could be one reason for internet porn addiction. After all, pornography, in general, is all about fantasy and desire. When a couple has differing sexual norms then, of course, there will be an imbalance of sexual needs. For example, the recent movie Fifty Shades of Gray highlights some role play of pain versus pleasure. If a Fifty Shades scenario were brought into every bedroom, there would be an increase in separation or divorce rates. Not to mention a possible increase in police calls for claims of domestic violence. I think it is important that books like Fifty Shades of Gray are not the Kamasutra but a catalyst. This is where the internet porn has become the online version of the Kamasutra. The fact is society has forced many sexually based conversations into nearly scrubbed political correct conversation making it nearly impossible to discuss. Perhaps this is a reason internet porn addiction is raising because we are not addressing the core forms of sexuality. When people cannot discuss a matter, then it creates a false safe place.

It should also be a far cry that Pamela Anderson should be discussing internet porn when one of her homemade videos surfaced causing a curiosity storm to see it. Sarcastically speaking I guess Pamela was making a homemade film to look back on. The fact is that humanity has interests and questions. The problem is that we have attempted to become this strict standard in an internet world. The hazard I see is there are many addictions without an open dialog or safe space to discuss remedies. American culture is the birthplace of Playboy, Hustler, and internet porn. It won’t go away until we begin discussing why millions of viewers enjoy it and are addicted to it. Just banning porn will only shift content to the underground where it will become an easier black market.