When you are willing to give almost everything you have and everything you ever will be for the hit of one last experience, your drug of choice has become more important than life itself. This is to say, when nothing else matters in the world, except for that look, taste, or feeling you get, then your shackles are fastened securely and you are the slave. The bind which you once considered a passing phase, has now become the only phase which matters. Whether this describes you or not, and whether you can push past your own philosophical boundaries to expose a drug you’ve kept hidden is removed from our everyday life as a matter of course rather than something to be reviled. You’ve justified its purpose, a Munchausen Syndrome has taken hold, and your justification has revealed no physical harm has occurred, or at least no physical harm has occurred to anyone else. It’s your body, it’s your life, so why shouldn’t it be your choice on what you do, as long as no one is hurt. If people could only understand how you think and what you feel about why you do what you do, then maybe they could understand and appreciate, even show sympathy for your actions. They may even allow a carte blanche when it comes to behavior. Perhaps they can know you on a deeper level. All of these are what the junkie for their drug will say, and eventually, after ridicule has become the order of the day, and banishment has occurred, does the junkie no longer care. They’ve been written off, they’ve been cast aside, and in this public process of social death, we see what they really want. One last hit, a search for the exhilaration they once felt, but a search which never yields the dividends or results they desire. Have you ever known anyone like this at all? Have you ever been like this at all? The drug of choice, doesn’t need to be an illicit drug, designed to chemically change us physically. No, the drug could very well be, something we covet, and hold above all other aspects in our lives, something which changes us from the inside out and corrupts our very soul. This could be porn, power, money, material items, or all of the above. Can you name your drug of choice, or can you name the loved one who seeks this drug?
Often times we hear people, religious minded people, dictate a rule of living which means the pursuit of these “drugs” as they were are a wrong pathway to walk in life. However, when pressed on the point, we may find they are regurgitating a religious philosophy which promotes incredulity at the very questioning of their beliefs. It may even invite ridicule, to a point where they fail to listen to the questions of those suffering from this perceived need. Saying, “because, this isn’t what God wants” may be sufficient to those who’ve embraced the love of God, but for those who don’t know or are in the grips of sin, this answer is woefully insufficient. Equally, I would find consternation in those people who desire to explain nuance with platitudes and vague generalities. Where the advice sounds like a truism and where the person giving advice sounds like they are helping, often times their vagueness creates distended issue worse by infusing more questions without any answers. Once, I worked for a man, who loved to hear himself talk, his problems were usually the worst, and his answers were the extensions of those who worked around him. He took credit for those who worked for him, which allowed him to maintain his position, and when asking for project explanation, his answers were vague and unhelpful. It wasn’t until years later, when really putting my life and experiences in perspective, did I realize what he was doing and subsequently what he was suffering from.
First, what my previous boss was doing was allowing enough movement for himself where is vagueness was an elongation of his need for power, so keeping me in the dark long enough to continue asking his advice and direction allowed him to steer me where he needed me to go. His pursuit of misdirection when dealing with supervisory direction, such as projects requested but never utilized, was a matter of his own realization of regulatory discretion. He was less worried about the people who worked for him and their careers, and he was more worried about how he was going to attain his next big break in the company. He wanted to maintain his “rock star” status with the executive management and keeping a tight leash on his subordinates was a method he found to keep his fix coming. Second, his drug was attention and power at the hands of those who considered him irreplaceable. He focused his need for this attention and power and exuded a persona of simplicity and fairness, his reality was to keep his subordinates at odds with one another, and give details only when necessary.
For me, this took me the better part of ten years to let my anger go and forgive him, because at the end of the day, he thought he was playing the system, and instead it was playing him by allowing him a “hit” when he did selfish and unredeemable acts. He couldn’t help himself at one point, and when confronted with the truth of his lies, he didn’t deny them, just stared at me for bringing them up. He was at a position of power so distinct, he no longer cared what anyone thought. Of course, at the time, I was disheartened to be exposed to this. I was angered to have been the brunt of his selfish actions. In the end, I was offered another position, in another company, and I left his employment. Many years after the fact I often would work myself up to a lather thinking about how I had been taken advantage of, and I realized I allowed him to do this to me, because I needed the job. I wanted the hours and salary which came with the job, and I was willing to be treated poorly in order to attain these desired materials. I was in the grip of my own drug, the drug of status quo. This is to say, I enjoyed what I had attained from those benefits, and I was unwilling to let them go, even if I was being poorly treated by a boss who was out for his own benefit. After looking back on the entire organization, I realized it was bred into the industry with the profession of individuals who steered its direction. If I was willing to step back a little more, I saw this was not just an industry thing, but a cultural thing. This is to say, we all have something we’re willing to endure to keep the status quo. We all have something, we answer away with “this is just my struggle” as a matter of course, rather than the recognition of our own need for the drug of choice.
My drug, was a search for the better, a reality of making life easier by increasing my wealth through employment. I was willing to work as long and as hard as I could, so my life and the life of my family could be easier. Not better, mind you, but easier. I employed a distance philosophy, a strategy which said, as long as we have all we need to pay bills and provide us these creature comforts, we’ll be fine. What I failed to think through, with any love or time whatsoever, was the erosion of foundation needed for my family. I was the provider, yes, but a father can’t only provide money. A father must provide, compassion, love, instruction, defense, will, strength, to sum up, a father must be a man. I know this is rolled up nice and neat, but this is what it is. A simplicity of life, which carries with it the nuanced complications of reality. I was shirking my duties as a father and as a husband, so I could do what I wanted, rather than what I needed to do because of my obligation which was given lovingly to me and my wife by the Living God.
We were entrusted to create a family by covenant with God, to raise our children and maintain this love shown to us, as we raised our children. My selfish need for a fix, created an aberration of obligation and adulterated the very truth I was seeking in life. I was awful in retrospect. So, upon this realization and reflection in my life, I choose to reexamine the situation surrounding my career and those supervisors who once were the bane of my existence and look over the situations once more. Here is what I found. Often times, God gives us the very tools needed to overcome the situations we’re in, and when he doesn’t, this means it’s time for you to come home and probably your life is ending. Which is to say, unless it is death, you have the tools, you just need to dig deep and reflect on just what your expectations are in life. Regarding my previous boss, my compassion won out. He is just a man, trying to figure his way out in this world, and “when in Rome” was his philosophy at the time. He just wanted to provide for his family and promote up as he did so. Nothing so wrong about this, until you begin to step on those around you, and this is where the pain comes in. An unwillingness to acknowledge our behavior, because to acknowledge it would be to admit wrongdoing and in our admonition we are faced with a decision of right and wrong. We all like to think of ourselves as right, so the very mention of being wrong would be about as painful a truth as I can think of. God wills our love, but gives us free will, we choose to return our love to him or walk away. It is up to us. Our decision to push away from the drugs which bind us in this life are our choice.
Think about your decisions today, did you go to a job you hate? Did you talk poorly to a person you love? Were you confronted by a situation which by itself isn’t too good, but taken as a whole with everything else in your life, makes everything seem awful? What are you going to do? Do you just up and quit everything, run away from this problem(s) in your life? Believe it or not, before writing this, I talked with numerous people who have gone through these very questions today, and I had to assure them, all isn’t lost and yes pushing away from these is needed. It doesn’t mean we cut out our family, friends, or quit a lucrative job. Just the contrary. It dictates, the pathway we are walking down, is wrong. The decisions we are making are not based in principle, but selfish desire to realize an outcome which will never materialize the way we want. It is the realization, what we want isn’t always what is needed.
I would challenge anyone who is facing these situations to ask themselves, “is there any part of this situation, I could have changed for the better of everyone involved?” This may mean an acknowledgement of selfless behavior or a truth of outright wrongness. Whatever the result of the situational reflection happens to be; is it too late to fix? If it isn’t, then as I would tell myself, my wife, and definitely my kids, “make it right!” If it is too late, then what is your solution? How can you fix it for the future? How can you kick this drug of selfishness to the curb? Questions which have literally been asked for millennia and will continued to be asked long after we’re dead and gone. Though, not without merit if we can learn from our mistakes, and teach the next generation to be more compassionate and thoughtful individuals living principled lives.
As I’ve acknowledged before, when I began to focus more on my principles in life, I found the quality of my life began to dramatically improve. So much so, I had people tell me there was something different about me, almost a joy exuding from me when I spoke. I had no idea what they were talking about. All I knew was I was tire of being angry, and I was tired of being tired of all the drama I sought in life. Along with searching for a better life, as a drug of choice, the side effect was vitriolic anger. I wasn’t happy about anything, I wasn’t nice about many things, and I could find fault in the whiteness of snow, if given the time and opportunity.
The side-effects of our “drugs” are the worst part about it all. The side-effects give us the illusion of binding us to our decisions and preventing us from taking steps of correction. Some of my family members are well known for stubborn pride, they can be quoted as saying, “I’ve made my decision and I’m sticking to it” even when objectively this decision is bound to fail due to the selfish nature of pursuit. They are unwilling to discuss alternatives, and are unwilling to discuss points of view. When asked, they simply respond, “nope, I don’t wish to discuss” or “I’m sorry you feel this way”. Which if I’m being completely honest, I absolutely hate the “I’m sorry you feel this way” response. However, something I’m still working on, I have a lot of personal projects. Nevertheless, the pain which is cause by people who care about us, and are willing to say anything at all out of love, should not be derided as a matter of course in our decisions. There are a few situational hurdles which must be met before we can fully continue down the path of correctness and not the path of selfish desire or so we can get our fix. The first being, why was anything said to us at all, do they desire to prevent us from being happy or do they have any experience in this matter? If they want us to be happy, then we must acknowledge this, and if they have experience, failing to recognize this, is tantamount to a fool’s paradise. The second question is a little more in depth, are they suffering from their own drug fix and are incapable of seeing our situation for what it is? To answer this final question, the first two must be recognized of their own merit. If the answer is no to the first two, and we can clearly see the answer as, yes to the last question, then we must as compassion dictates, stop relishing our own situation, and give to them. They need our care and concern.
At the end of the day, keeping the focus on selflessness is what we should be doing, because the drugs we face in this life are centered on a pursuit of selfishness to the destruction of all if needed. The need for power, money, sex, control, and feeling good. Instead the antithesis of these selfish desires is where the love of God resides. This is to say, God, wills us to fall in love with him through, charity, selfless acts of compassion for those who need to be pulled out of the mire their lives are in. God needs us to, put others first always, even as an expression of life and martyrs. God needs us to accept his love, accept his joy, and give everything we have in return. Just imagine this, knowing you could have run a little harder or pushed a little farther, and you would have succeeded in winning the game but you always held something back, just in case. Life isn’t a game, but the principle applies. If you’re always holding something back, if you’re always waiting for something better to come along, if you can’t quite give of yourself completely for hopes of anything else, you’re hooked and you need to get off the drug as soon as you can. Your love is very much needed in this world, your spouse needs you completely, your children need you fully, and God desires everything you have for a love as completely pure as to make the very ground you walk on quake from the goodness given. May, God bless you and your family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!