So, girls and boys, out we go for a walk with Bella the Staffy.
As we approach the Trent and Mersey canal, a young man walking purposefully in the same direction overtakes us. We exchange pleasantries. Then, surprisingly, he stops. We catch up with him just as another young man approaches from the opposite direction. With sleight of hand the two guys exchange something. They retreat whence they came.
User and supplier, we mused? Which was which?
What does it take you to get through the day?
- Nicotine/tobacco. The sense of calming and release can be blissful, I gather.
- Alcohol? At a funeral of a wealthy 40-something year old who died of alcoholic liver disease, I said from the pulpit that anyone who ever encouraged him to “just have one more” was complicit in his death.
- Exercise, fitness? The endorphins released are addictive.
- Sex? Porn? Likewise.
- Golf? I’m not old enough to play golf, but I’m told that it’s quite popular amongst the brain dead.
- Other drugs? Cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol. Cannabis rice krispie cakes are delicious.
- Religion? Yes. The ecstatic trances of mystics are well known to be comparable to—even equate to—orgasm.
Am I saying that for many people religion is merely a prop to help them get through the day, on a par with smoking or drugs or booze?
Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Here are some other things we can be addicted to: money, power, controlling others, pleasing people, wanting to change people, gambling, internet, social media, books, buying stuff you don’t need, gossiping, criticizing, moaning, being miserable.
Some are financially more expensive than others, but there isn’t one that’s any worse than any other. They can all destroy us. It’s as hard for you to let go of your addiction to new clothes, or whatever, as it is for someone else to put down the drink or the syringe.
They’re like demons. They steal our personalities and stop us being ourselves. They deny us our freedom. They make us obsess about ourselves instead of serving others.
We’re all wounded because of stuff that’s happened to us. We all need something to dull the pain. We develop patterns of behaviour to protect us from these hurts. Whatever “pain relief” we choose—substances, attitudes, activities, religion—can be dangerous. We become addicted to them.
We’re all addicted to something—several things in my case. Look at your addictions. If you think you haven’t any, you’re blind.
All the vain things that charm you most—accept that they are part of you. Think of them as controlling different versions of yourself. Then give that version of yourself a cuddle. You begin to love the hell out of yourself. You might have to accept that some will stay with you till you die.
This is not easy. But even beginning the process is a kind of renewal. Nobody is perfect. Nobody has a perfect upbringing.
We are all in recovery.