Speaking Politically Not Spiritually

I haven’t been blogging lately. There’s a few reasons for it, of which I will be writing about soon. But what I’ve written here isn’t one of them. This post, like many of my previous ones, is meant to help myself and others feel better about life when things aren’t going as well as we like. 

Although it’s political. (Some say politics have no place in the helping profession, and my blog has mostly been about helping others.) I needed to write this today. For some reason, after seeing a past article from the Washington Post about Donald Trump, it struck me as something that does fit in with my beliefs and some of the things that I’ve written about in the past.

Recovery for many is about being a good person. Some of my past posts have been about that. And even though this one isn’t about recovery from alcohol and substance use disorders. It is about trying to recover from something that has negatively affected a lot of people in this country and, sadly, will continue to do so.

I’ll let what I wrote below explain. Forgive me if it doesn’t seem spiritual. (Something else my blog is supposed to be about.) But as I said. It’s to help me feel better. I hope it does the same for others.

Why are so many people Trump hires corrupt, incompetent and immoral?

I have a better question.

Why would you continue to support this man?

Seriously! This country is certainly no better off since he took office. As a matter of fact, it’s worse in some ways.

The growing economy would have continued without him and not be in jeopardy of failing now because of his ineptness. All the helpful and needed regulations put in place by Obama would still be there benefiting us. Our relationships with other countries are certainly worse. I believe we would be more united than divided without him in office. Hate wouldn’t be so rampant. And there wouldn’t be a criminal and Russian investigations going on that are slowly showing signs that Trump is everything I always thought him to be. (A lying, vile, narcissistic, ass-wipe.)

I know, I know. Hillary had email problems and a sordid past. But I never said she was a wonderful person. I just believed that she had the knowledge and strength to run a country.

I’m sure some division would have taken place, like when the Republicans fought everything Obama did. But she had the tenacity and leadership to get things done. No golfing and bragging about false accomplishments.

The truth is that it’s sad that it came down to these two individuals as choices to run the country. I’m hoping that whoever runs against Trump in 2020, (providing he’s still in office) appeals to the majority of people, as someone who has integrity, morals and a belief that government should work for all the people.

Hope has been instrumental in helping me get through difficult times in my sobriety. I’m thinking it will also help me now.

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Am I Overthinking This?

“As overthinkers, we can wear ourselves out while trying to figure some things out. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. There have been many times when trying to find answers to life’s problems, whether for myself or another person. That not only did the answers come, but so much more. By never giving up, I was also able to find meaning and purpose in a world that sometimes didn’t make sense. A reward that I wasn’t looking for at the time, but one I still experience today, even when I’m worn out from trying to figure some things out.

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Alcoholism And Addiction

Here’s another excerpt from my book.  We need to keep our eye on the ball when it comes to addiction. Debates and arguments can be both helpful and hurtful. It’s important to keep that in mind when we talk about addiction.

“Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” I think we need to do that more when it comes to alcoholism and addiction. There’s just too much debate and downright argument among people in the field, which can confuse those who need help and even prevent them from getting it.

Although more experts now call both alcoholism and addiction complex brain diseases and present scientific evidence for their claims, others disagree and have valid reasons for their own assertions. There’s also debate on how to best treat individuals who reach a point where they can no longer stop using a substance on their own. They go from using to abusing a drug or drugs and eventually find themselves addicted, which is why I’ve included alcoholism with addiction. Alcohol, like any other psychoactive drug, legal or illegal, can become quite a problem for some people, and while other drugs are perceived to be more addictive and cause greater problems, alcohol is reported to be the most commonly abused addictive substance today.

That said, marijuana, often viewed as a less harmful drug than others and one that rarely causes addiction, is currently reported to be the second most commonly abused drug in the United States. And prescription drugs currently rank as the third category. Opioids, better known as painkillers, stand out as the most addictive and problematic drug of the group to date. When not taken as prescribed, these drugs have similar effects as heroin and are just as dangerous. Current reports show that the number of prescriptions written for painkillers has greatly increased over the years, and opioid abuse, including heroin, is reported to have reached epidemic proportions. I could go on with sadder statistics, like the high rate of overdoses caused by this epidemic, or talk more about the complexities of addiction, including behavioral addictions like gambling. But statics change, and my goal here is to do what Albert Einstein said. Here goes.

Obviously, not everyone who abuses a substance becomes addicted. If everyone did, almost everyone who likes to “party,” as we said back in my day, could develop what some professionals call a substance-use disorder. There are, however, common risk factors for becoming addicted, which include genetics, our family history, age (the earlier we use a drug, the greater chance we have of becoming addicted), family and social environment, a bad childhood, sexual and physical abuse, other traumas, and those we hang around with. And then there is the type of drug being used; some are more addictive than others.

Despite these known risk factors and scientific studies done to help us better understand addiction, we still don’t know exactly why some people become addicted and some don’t. What we do know is that there are varying levels of addiction affecting a lot more people than we previously suspected. These include people from all walks of life who don’t face the dire consequences we see and hear about in the media. So, while it’s gravely important to help those who are destroying their lives, their families, and their health (or, sadly, already have), there’s a larger group of people who need help too. There are those, like me at one time, who don’t fit the stereotype but still have trouble quitting on their own. Getting help through AA or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) usually isn’t a welcome option for them—no help really is. Many don’t believe they have addiction problems, even when experiencing troubles. They can miss work and family events due to hangovers, have their share of arguments with loved ones when drunk, and even receive DUIs during drinking adventures—although people are prosecuted for driving under the influence of other drugs as well. They just convince themselves that next time will be different. Of course, some of them (like me, again) may simply be used to living a lifestyle where drinking is what you do and shit happens sometimes when you drink too much.

It may be hard to understand why people keep drinking in light of personal troubles, and perhaps it’s even harder when an illegal substance is their drug of choice, but many of them have become good at justifying their continual usage and believe their own excuses not to quit. I find that one of the most common justifications for not quitting comes from the comparison these folks often make between themselves and the stereotypes I mentioned. They simply don’t feel they’re anything like the “real” alcoholics and addicts the media seems to focus so much on. They haven’t lost everything. They don’t steal or do other terrible things to obtain drugs. And few experience withdrawal when not using their drug of choice—although some report that they keep using prescription painkillers because of withdrawal symptoms.

However, what is quite common between them and the stereotypes they sometimes show disdain for is that they either deny they have a problem or rarely stop using even when they know they do. Science explains why these things can be common among people who abuse drugs, but again, in keeping with the idea of making things simple, I’ll sum it up like this: long-term drug use affects different parts of the brain, including those responsible for reasoning, decision-making, and behavior, and most drugs of abuse target the brains reward system. Basically, when a person uses an addictive substance it floods the system with a naturally occurring chemical called dopamine, which results in feelings of pleasure, and while this is why most people like drugs, some of us fall in love with the euphoria we feel. It may even seem like we’ve found a new friend, but eventually, that friend lets us down. Our drug of choice no longer provides us with the same feeling it once did, so we use more of it but still find ourselves unable to be happy and unable to quit.

I can certainly relate to this situation. As you know, I was blind to the fact that I had a problem and definitely found it hard to quit. As you also know, my drinking was a way to escape the fears and insecurities I felt. In fact, sometimes just planning to go out and get drunk helped with my fears and temporarily made me feel better. I know that drinking temporarily helped me feel better about myself, which is why I believe a lot of people use drugs to begin with. They can be confident in many areas of their lives and have a high sense of self-esteem, but they still aren’t as happy as they want to be in life or with themselves. This is why I sometimes ask people who want my help, “Why do you need a drug to be happy?”

Thankfully, I got the help I needed to figure that out, but sadly, this isn’t the case for a lot of people. The successful businessman or businesswoman, the politician, the schoolteacher, and other confident types you would never suspect of having a drug problem in fact do, but they are too ashamed to seek the help they need.”

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I Find This Effective

“Sometimes the people who need our help the most are those with the ability to impact us in negative ways. But if we expect to be effective at helping them, we cannot let their negative and, often times, destructive behaviors affect us. The trick, however, is knowing when to stop trying to help someone and to start taking care of ourselves”

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