The Drug Class Blog

Apr 26



It is always all about what we need to change. We get caught up in old patterns and old thinking. Generally responding to something that we learned a long time ago. Some patterns we established to create some security for ourselves, to meet some need.

I was driving to the airport today and listening to a CBC program “Out in the Open”. Piya Chattopadhyay was interviewing a man that used to be involved with Aryan Skinheads.

He was talking about his initial motivations to get involved with that group. It was about power. It was about power because his power had been ripped from him when he was young. He talked about the feeling of power he had when he could see fear in others when he and his skinhead companions were walking down the street.

Addiction and substance abuse are like that too. We lose power and control and are desperate for it. Safety is a second level need, after air food and water. If we don't have that safety and security needs met we will do pretty much anything to get it. We also cannot get into the next level of need, which is love and companionship, without it.

This young man got his safety and then his companionship from joining and participating in this negative group. We will do what works. Substance misuse does something very similar it often gives us the courage to try and create those initial connections.

Both the gang and the substance use also take us away from ourselves. They both rob us of emotions. We trade our authentic emotional connections for something that doesn't really care about us at all. Val Kilmer, in the “Salton Sea” had a great line. He said about the people he was partying with that he realized that none of them would walk across the street to piss on his head if his hair was on fire”. The connections we have in negative relationships are not real connections.

Whether it is a gang or a bottle or a pill or a pipe it takes us away from our heart and life becomes small and cold. We need real connections. The skinhead realized he needed to change when he held his newborn daughter.

Most people with substance problems reach out for help when they feel totally lost, helpless and understand that this substance they thought was giving them something was in fact, eating them from the inside.

We start to look for something with real meaning and connection. The fellow in the radio piece started a rebuild, a rebuild to try to find a way to love: a recovery. Recovery is not about just stopping something. It is about restoring ourselves to our true nature, the nature that existed before whatever hurt pushed us off our real path.

What do you think?

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