In my own personal reflections lately, I’ve often pondered just what it is about the label “recovering” alcoholic, that I find frustrating personally, as well as what it is about 12 step support groups, and the overall image of the recovery industry in general that irks me. And it’s not what I know is the behind the scenes reality of the treatment industry, but more that it seems to project a treatment mindset focused on too much of an extreme in expectations. All or nothing, drunk or sober, using or clean….America loves the extreme. The extreme reflected in the fascination with things going wrong in the lives of the rich and famous, on a daily basis in social and news media, to use a pertinent example. America also loves an underdog, so by labeling those who have fallen thru the cracks in society in the throes of some sort of an addiction, in such unholy ways as alcoholics or addicts identified with whichever 12 step program of recovery or through whichever doors of recovery they came, and asking them to permanently chain themselves to the identity of “alcoholic” or “addict”, of which addicts are the greater whole, is a lot to ask. Then to praise them as they rise from the ashes of their former lives so heartily and scorn their every fall or relapse, with equal zeal, is admirable and inspiring, yet a bit pedantic, and symptomatic. The whole system seems rigged.
Why cannot those of us in society not labeled as any sort of “addict”, those of us who make less desperate choices on a daily basis, yet springing from a similar though less damaged unholy or unexamined inner landscape than the more destitute, full on, addict, reflect on what seems heroic and maybe even beyond our own capabilities as a whole? All or nothing? C’mon now.
Consider social drinking. Moderate social drinking might be considered somewhat of an attachment. An attachment is not the worst thing in the world, yet like intention, the road to hell is paved with attachments. It distracts. It distracts from and yet contributes to, the modern human plight of constant thought and lack of any sort of being in the present moment. A shiny happy place in the midst of the cloudy, rainy day…the outward pressures of modern day society to have more and be more and make more and do more all culminate in telling us we need these attachments to survive!
Attachment to a new car, new house, new shoes, chocolate cake, Haagen Daaz…blah, blah, blah… yet even to the level of being overly attached to our own children. While maybe not as ravaging as drugs and alcohol, on the surface, but in reality, and while absolutely, the addict who claims to be “in recovery” is admirable, it is also a reflection of a society at large gone mad, and indicates that we all might in some area of our lives, be it even any sort of an intense attachment such as mentioned above, need to be considered to be “in recovery”, if we are even simply aware of these intense attachment issues. So can ya dig? It’s all of us. Not us and them.
What seems nutso to me, is that we have any measure of surprise as we stand by and watch global drama after drama unfold, as well as our own artisanal version of this global drama occur, right here in the United States, particularly in light of the recent shooting incident in Florida. These continual reprisals of extreme violence and our news media’s rabid fascination with rooting out and displaying this stuff, like a trainwreck from which we cannot collectively look away, are merely another reflection of a society gone numb enough to miss the reality that any solution other than a complete inner makeover, via spiritual awakening, is necessary to fix or solve this problem of an insane world, is much like giving drunk a gun.
Humanity’s disconnect from our essential “being” is what I sense is the root cause of such acts of violence as demonstrated last week in Florida, as well as the fact that we have a man such as Donald Trump as candidate for President of the United States. The United States of America, a country founded on the principles of a desire for inner freedom from the rules of the church, manifesting as a desire for outer freedom, via the Mayflower, as well as the driving force behind the founding father’s collective manifesto infused into the Declaration of Independance. I guess that last thought right there might be a hint at the start of the ultimate conundrum.
As a huge Ram Dass fan, I love one of his quips which goes as follows: So God and Satan were walking down the street. God points to a shiny object and says, “Look, I’ve found truth!”, and Satan replies, “Here give it to me, let me organize it.”
How now brown cow, do we incorporate truth back into a society gone mad with a complete obsession with “organization” and no deeper connection to our being other than through what is considered rational thought. We are a country with a broken mind and a complete spiritual disconnect, yet we are medicating it repeatedly with new and different pharmaceutical versions of the effect alcohol has on the mind of an alcoholic. We are numb. We are not really fixing anything or healing our minds. I dare say the proliferation of new and different psych meds in the era post prozac, is yet another example of what can be seen as a man made solution to a problem that cannot be cured at the level of a man made solution. I’m not saying that psychiatric medication isn’t helpful, I know that when used correctly, it can be life saving. I do not however, believe that without more of an integration between a holistic, heart centered perspective on life, spirituality, addiction and medicine, we as a human race, as well as our planet Earth, will survive.
We can use this recent tragedy in Florida, as well as the potential tragedy of a Trump presidency, as a wake up call to dig deeper into the reality of who we are called to be as human beings. Not just human or just “being”, but both. Right here, right now, on this planet. A planet that may finally be able to view some of these recent tragedies, while entirely horrific, as a crack in our compartmentalized society, a broken jar, a ray of sunshine into the prison cell.
So now finally, we are starting to look outside these compartmentalized boxes, for more integrated solutions to whole body healing, such as what’s happening at least more recently with marijuana legalization and other holistic treatment methods, which encapsulate more of a mind/spirit/body effect, as a sign, an almost desperate sign, of an intense yearning for collective peace of mind, in society as a whole as well as within each of us, on a personal level.
At least this is one human being’s spin, cosmic giggle included.