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Issue #1906      March 9, 2020

Letter

WAR ON DRUGS

I would like to address the subject of addiction.

Personally, throughout my life I concede that I certainly have had addictive behaviours. Both alone and also in the presence of others alike.

What does it take for a person to become addicted?

For most, we regard addicted people as silly. As one who did too much of a good thing thus creating a neurological reliance. In turn preventing them to structure anything other than a thought process that is dependent on a drug or drugs of choice.

But there’s that funny word, “choice.” Perhaps we should consider whether or not some people truly have a choice.

For instance, as a youngster my mother asked me to blow up a lot of balloons for her new partner’s birthday party. This new partner was one I did not like very much at all. My mother was abusive. I remember her dragging my father down the road in her car whilst I watched screaming in the passenger seat, this was over custody.

I initially refused my mother’s request to blow up the balloons, however I eventually did. After about three balloons, my little four-year-old brain discovered a very euphoric sensation. I was high. And for a small time, I forgot my rage. “This sure beat running around in circles” I thought. Alone at home and extremely shy and distant at school, I was being groomed to be an addict.

I started to experiment with more effective ways of hyperventilating. My cousin and I found it better if we hang our head low to the ground, breath heavily for two to three minutes, stand up quickly, blow the air out slowly and push the other one’s heart with two hands with our backs against the wall, hard.

But this is not drugs. I didn’t know what drugs even were yet. But they were surely to come and by God they did.

So what happened here? I certainly was not intoxicated. I was sober. So, if the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, then what is it. I would suggest it be “connections.”

“Connections” underneath a capitalistic society are varied. A person trying to find inclusion may find themselves finding it in the worst of places. A fear of loneliness perhaps may push one toward any group that excepts them. You now have a group of people with a common interest or common emotion. Some are formed by very disconnected peoples and are at risk of creating a sense of myopia. For example, violent gangs, whose cognitive dissonance propels them to commit terrible acts from which I believe is merely an expression of their own inability to connect. A fear of love or a lack of purpose.

But this is the structure of capitalism. It is its core foundation to disconnect; the strive to be on top, to look down upon, to be the best no matter the cost to humility, be a slave to the system or lose your job, no one is to be trusted, no one speaks out. If they do, they are pointed out, ostracized, and banished.

Mental illness is on the rise. Science says most mental illness is genetically inherent. In this space the proper medications can be applied. Neuroscience also suggest that if only the paths of the same neurons are used over and over again one may be at risk of illness.

Once again that is exactly what most of us are taught to do. Because there is no time for, out of the box thought processes. Just shut up and make ends meet. And for creative minds, it physically makes us sick.

One may just turn to drugs, over eating, over exercising, gaming almost anything to escape the prison that holds us from our the true potential. Our highest point of humility.

Rick Warren

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