I was recently talking with someone who is experiencing quite a bit of fear right now.  She is on a fixed income and worried about a time when she will lose some independence, her health, and her home, and not be able to afford the care she will need.  In response to her fear, she is looking to blame someone and it is very easy these days to fall prey to the fear-mongering and blame that is prevalent in our media and politics.  While fear and blame do not change anyone’s situation, they do serve to Connect people, albeit in an unhealthy way.  Just as the early cavemen huddled together around the fire for warmth and security, so do we now band together in groups to feel safe against the terrors of the unknown future. 

A new working definition of Recovery (SAMHSA):

“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

While my book’s title seems to focus on addiction, the real message is about recovery, which is a state of living and way of thinking that applies to everyone.  Addiction is what keeps us from living in recovery.

This new definition of recovery from SAMHSA is in total congruence with not only the message in Addict America: The Lost Connection, but with many books and movies and music from around the world.  We are all Connected, and these universal themes manifest in so many ways because of that Connection.  Someone once said “There is nothing new under the sun” and this is true because no one has a thought that is not part of that higher consciousness that is available to everyone who opens themselves to it.

As with many aspects of addiction, the concept of power and control is very paradoxical in nature.  When we think we’re in control, we’re really not; and when we feel out of control, we’re most likely exerting control in a way that results in others feeling powerless.

As with parents and children, the parent has the power, but how often does a parent feel controlled by the child?  If you have children, you know what I mean.  The child cries, you go running.  The child has a tantrum in public, you feel frustrated to the point of panic.  The child, on the other hand, is trying to be in control, but innately knows that he can’t handle it so pushes the limits until control is imposed. 

integrity

 [in-teg-ri-tee] noun

1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship's hull.

I knew someone once who used to throw away pennies. I saw a whole pile of them in her waste basket one time. They had no value to her because, after all, they were only pennies.

I, on the other hand, pick up pennies wherever I go. I find them on sidewalks and streets, in old pocket books and in furniture. I collect them all. I see pennies as gifts from the Universe and when I accept those gifts, small as they may be, then the Universe will give me larger gifts. By opening myself up to be grateful for whatever comes my way, I open myself up to everything. I don’t put conditions on gifts, I accept them
enthusiastically.

Addiction is about stimulation, and fighting is stimulating. That includes fighting with ourselves. How many times a day do you get into an argument with yourself about something you sort of want to do but don’t really? Or argue with yourself about something you think you “should do” but would rather not?

“Should” is a bad word, by the way. It puts the responsibility for our decisions and behavior on an external entity, such as society, a parent, a religion or just “them.” I “should” exercise, I “should” pray on Sunday, I “should” be nice to my Aunt Sally.  We use “should” to control other people, which then alleviates our own insecurities, as in “You should bring me flowers,” “You should call me every day,” or “You should want to have sex with me five times a week.” “Should” leads to guilt or resentment and who says? Change it to “want” or “would like” and you can change your mood and attitude.

This line from the Pledge of Allegiance and brings back memories of a time when Americans truly believed we were one nation, all Connected, and that our government was working for all of us. When did that change? How did we get so divided by party alliances that we are virtuallyengaged in another Civil War that is ravaging our country to the detriment of all? As I listened to President Obama and Mr. Boehner on TV last night, it became very apparent how the concept of needing to belong to a group, which I talk about in my book, is driving our government leaders and the American people to self-destruct. Our most basic drive is to be part of a group. We will subjugate our moral consciences, mutilate our bodies, defy common sense, and commit acts of violence upon each other in order to conform to the group, whether that group is our church, our family, our community, or our political party. We all have that capability of becoming part of a mob or of blindly following an established authority to the point of committing torture, as the Milgrim studies so horrifyingly demonstrated (go to http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/a/milgram.htm for more information).

I encounter a lot of controversy over the concept of addiction as a disease, and while I believe that this had its purpose once upon a time, now I think it is time we moved on from this way of thinking.

Before Bill W. and Dr. Bob created Alcoholics Anonymous and before it was designated as a disease by the American Medical Association, alcoholism was perceived as a moral failing and alcoholics were seen as depraved bums, lying in their own vomit in the gutter. Drinking was part and parcel of society and being able to “drink everyone else under the table” was a laudable aspiration, a sign of virility and strength.  While this mentality persists in many arenas, alcoholism is still mostly acknowledged as a physiological condition that can afflict anyone, from the rich and powerful to the small and meek.

There’s a lot of talk about fast food and its effects on our physical health. Certainly, when we eat a lot of bread, animal fats, and drinks with either sugar or sugar substitutes, we are not nourishing our bodies. Sugars in any form and especially sugar replacements become quickly addictive, leading us to crave more and so we eat more sugar products.

But many fast food chains promote healthy foods like salads, lean meats, and whole grain breads.  Can these really be bad for us? What’s wrong with healthy fast food?

The workbook section of Addict America: The Lost Connection, suggests getting a hobby as a means to practice being “in the moment” and also to give you the satisfaction of creating something. This creation can be shared with others, leading to a solid Connection with all who view or hold it. It can also be shared spiritually, as when you are feeling the satisfaction of creation and completion and put that energy into the Universe. Hobbies need to be something created with your hands. There is something healing in working with your hands and then having something solid to hold.

Page 2 of 3

TCA Menu