We’re No Longer Alone

“The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to.”

The above quote is from an article written a few years ago professing that the likely cause of addiction has been discovered, and according to the author, who also happens to be selling a book, the cause is simply loneliness and an unhappy environment.

I disagree in calling someone a “street-addict, or addict really. But I do agree that loneliness and an unhappy environment can contribute to drug use. It’s true that people can feel isolated and alone from their childhood into their adult life, I know I certainly did, but that doesn’t mean everyone who develops an addiction feels that way.

Many people who develop a substance use disorder have friends. Successful business men or woman, school teachers or other professional types, and loving parents come to mind. People who also seem happy in their surroundings or living conditions, but sadly, may not be happy with themselves.

They appear to be all right to others, but fears and insecurities, ones they’ve denied and kept hidden from the outside world continue to reside inside them. They often don’t feel good about themselves despite any successes they have in life, and although they go about acting as if they’re happy, most know different. The same drug that made them feel better about themselves fails them, and this is when they can began feeling isolated and alone.

After I stopped drinking I found friends in Alcoholics Anonymous, but other than having occasional lunches with some of them, I didn’t hang around with anyone long enough to form a true friendship.

I’ve now been sober for over 21 years and I stopped going to meetings several years ago. I’m also a self-professed loner, (although being married and having a best friend in my wife isn’t really being alone) who admittedly does have a few close friends, but I don’t really do much with any of them.

My point is that I drank and hung around with more people than I call a friend today and had some type of connection with them, yet I have no desire to start drinking again.

Personal growth, self-confidence, and self-love are all factors in being happy with who we are, and it doesn’t matter if we have a lot of friends or not.

These things allow us to love and help others, and that along with an environment that we have improved on can be enough to help us remain sober.

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The Spirituality Of Cynicism

I’ve blogged before about me being a bit cynical at times, despite trying to live a more spiritual life. But because I believe that having a sense of humor is part of spirituality. I thought I’d list a few types of people who I’ve been cynical about. All in good humor, of course.

One is the “gym dancer.

They’re kind of funny to watch, as they dance around in front of mirrors with their headphones on listening to music that only they can hear. But if you’re not in the mood for it, they can be slightly annoying. You can’t help watching them do moves that can only be described as “made up on the spot,” and you look at them and wonder where, if ever, they learned to dance. Every gym I’ve been a member of has had one, and I’m sure yours does too.

There’s also the “indecisive food order person.

Somehow, you manage to time it just right that you have the misfortune of winding up behind one of them, and usually starving at the time I might add. You already know what you want—you’ve thinking about it all day. But you can tell right away that this person is going to take a while, so you get out your smart phone to see who liked your latest Facebook post, and try to be patient while they ask questions that are pretty much answered by the descriptions on the brightly lit menus with pictures.

Chances are they’re going to finally make a choice, and you’re going to get excited thinking it’s soon your turn, but inevitably they change their mind at the last-minute. If you’re lucky, the whole frustrating process won’t start over again. But sometimes it does.

Then there’s the “ocean view peripheral vision obstructionist.”

You picked out a great spot on the beach. Close enough to the ocean so no one sits in front of you. And just when you’re sitting there relaxed and enjoying the ocean view this person walks by with their chair and carry bag, filled with everything they’ll need for their beach adventure. For whatever reason, they always sit even nearer to the water than you and just close enough to the left or right that you can’t help but notice that they’re there.

Most of them are probably nice people, but since you’re with someone and they’re not, a reason for why they’re by themselves quickly comes to mind. It seems to take a long time for them to set their bag down, open up their beach chair, and place it on the sand. I’m guessing it’s a ritual of sorts for them to look around the beach before making a hard and fast decision like sitting your shit down where you’ve been standing for the last several minutes.

Although they, at least, usually sit down right away after “pulling the trigger” and finally placing the chair in what I’m sure has to be at just the right angle for sun, fun, and viewing, you can bet your ass that the “opening of the bag” ceremony will soon commence.

As time passes you can’t understand how they got so much stuff in that damn carry bag, including a hardcover book that seems larger than the bag itself. But at some point all you can do is hope their stay is short. Fortunately, sometimes it is.

And finally, for now at least. There’s the “loud talker.

They can also be at the beach, where I find them the most annoying, but I’m sure you’ve heard them in restaurants, lines at stores, and anytime they’re on the cell phone talking with someone. It doesn’t matter what they are talking about, but the “bragging loud talker” is more annoying and brings out the cynical side of me even more. But no matter if they are bragging or not, try being around a loud talker while you’re picking out a special birthday card for a loved one, and see if you too don’t become cynical.

I believe for those of us who are naive and over caring, we need to be cynical of people at times. I’ve allowed others that I thought were good people to fool me and temporarily hurt me emotionally. But nevertheless, being cynical for no real reason can prevent us from feeling good about ourselves, especially if we’re trying to live a spiritual life.

Perhaps it’s OK to have what I’ll call a spiritual cynicism. We know that we’re not being the best person we can be at the time, but we also know it’s not who we are.

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Building A Wall Of Insanity

Let’s say the neighbor’s kids keep coming into your yard. They like it there and your kids like to play with them, but you don’t like it. You’ve been trying to stop them from coming over for quite sometime, but to no avail. And you swear they’re taking some of your kid’s toys.

In actuality, your children don’t want the toys the neighbor kids play with. But you feel that’s not the point. You’ve lived there longer than these neighbors have, plus you were born in this country and they weren’t.

Your wife is OK with the neighbor’s kids. She believes they aren’t hurting anything. But something inside you detests these rascals. They’re different from your kids. Their parents are different from you.

You realize a lawyer is out of the question—this is something you know you can’t sue over. And then bam! “I know,” you say to yourself. “I’ll have a humongous wall built to keep these undesirable’s out.”

Deep down you know they haven’t done anything to you personally, or anyone really. But the idea of a wall and the fact that you came up with it, fills you with a sense of power, and you become obsessed with your mission. You can’t wait to tweet about it and add it to the thousands of other well deserved rants you’ve felt the absolute need to tweet about over the years.

It’ll be an expensive adventure, and although you know your wife and kids will be upset, you’ve talked to other people in the neighborhood who said they were all for it. (Apparently these kids have been a menace to some of them too.)

“Now how to pay for it,” you wonder.

“I know,” you say to yourself again. “I’ll get the foreign neighbors to pay for it.” “After all, it’s their children causing the problem not mine.”

Sound insane? It is.

Nuff said.

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Let’s All Have A New Mind-Set

We must become united as a people if we ever expect to help solve our nation’s problems. But first we need to drop the self-defeating mind-set of “us against them.” A division of our citizens that was instigated by the government a long time ago. We need to see how both sides of our political parties point the finger at each other for the problems in this country, and nothing much gets done. Especially when it comes to helping the dwindling middle class. Black, White, Hispanic, no matter what race. This struggling and yet largely ignored group of people find it harder each year to live the American Dream, while the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor seem to get all the attention and all the benefits.

We can, of course, continue to believe that we’re right and the other side is wrong, and argue our political views with each other. But I’m hoping more people will begin to see the insanity in all of this and stop the debates. First, however, more people will need to see the insanity within our political parties. It shouldn’t be too hard. The extreme foolishness, folly, senselessness, and foolhardiness exhibited by our politicians over the years, the very people we trusted to make things better in our country, should be evident by the shape its in. If we can all agree on this, maybe then we can become united in a common cause that benefits everyone. We can even have the mind-set of “us against them” once again, only this time it will hold a new, and perhaps promising meaning for everyone involved.   

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I’m Complaining For Your Own Welfare

“To me helping the poor has nothing to do with supporting a welfare state. Sure some people take advantage of free government programs designed to help those in need. And yes it can be said that a form of dependency on these programs has been created. But when you get right down to it there are millions of people living in poverty through no fault of their own. Prideful, hardworking individuals who want to live the American Dream, but can’t on the meager wages they earn. They don’t want government handouts; they just want a more level playing field where they have some of the same opportunities others do. People who were fortunate to grow up with advantages not afforded to everyone. Sadly, I find these are sometimes the people who complain that we live in a welfare state, and seem incapable of understanding how poverty can weaken one’s resolve.”

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Some Of Us Have A Right To Be Angry

I have written things out of anger before on my blog, and this post is no exception. However, just like before, it’s not a seething or hate filled anger, but a passion filled one. The type of anger I wish more people would feel.

After hearing about yet another incident where an angry white police officer pulled over someone of color, I watched this video that was making the rounds. Much of what I saw angered me, and although seeing someone not be arrested, but accused of resisting arrest may seem laughable, the events that took place make me sad.

I don’t care what attitude the lady in the video had, she simply did not deserve the type of behavior displayed almost immediately by this police officer. And she certainly didn’t deserve the type of treatment she received for doing what, in my opinion, should be our right as an American citizen. At the very least she did nothing wrong but let out her frustration at being pulled over for moving out-of-the-way of a tailgating vehicle, without first signaling.

Write her a ticket and tell her to have a good day, but for the love of God, don’t antagonize an already frustrated person, and provoke a situation that will undoubtedly make the news.

Now I do believe there are a lot of people out there who, like me, don’t care what someone’s skin color is. But I will say that very few of my white friends have ever been pulled over for not using their turn signal, or anything really, and the ones that have been pulled over for some small violation never experienced anything close to what this person did. As a matter of fact, both my wife and daughter have been pulled over for speeding a few times, and I know they were both let go with just a warning at least once each. Maybe they smiled and didn’t react like this lady did, but then again, neither one of them have ever experienced what people of color often do in this country.

Again, there are people of all colors out there who don’t care about the color of someone else’s skin. I’ve met plenty of them and they all seemed like very nice people. I also believe most of our police officers don’t care what race someone is and do a fine job at protecting and serving everyone.

I just wish almost every incident we see like the one in this video didn’t always involve an angry cop, a person of color, and sadly, sometimes death.

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