Self-Medication

We all do it. Self-medicate. You know, shopping, reading a book or doing online study, food, sex, outdoor or other recreation, drink, drug, social media surf, crafting and various art-making.

Some of those and other things are at times quite positive and helpful. Sometimes they lead to or even are addictions that hold us but do not satisfy the particular mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health and growth need. They may help heal or truly destroy.

I do not write this to condemn anyone as I’ve been down at least some of these roads my entire life as has anyone reading this. But eventually there is a key to any lock if only one can find it.

Understanding that there are biological reasons in mental health how someone loops in destructive habits, and that not a matter of sin or shame- have you considered that besides such reality –doing nothing is still doing something?

There is movement in one’s mind and then some sort of decision and usually physical action involved in the things I mentioned above.

Example: if depressed, getting out of a chair, moving to the fridge or counter-top, using a knife or at least fork and eating an entire cake means you did something. Movement occurred. The calories, carbs, sugars, sweet frosting and texture of the cake didn’t mysteriously float over to your chair or bed and without you opening your mouth simply pop inside. You moved your lips, teeth, tongue, swallowed and thereby ingested your “drug of choice”.

It is a rare matter or person who doesn’t DO something whereby an actual addiction happens.

As I or any addict/former addict/recovering addict (that last one is me) knows if honest about it, actions were taken and are always taken. Sometimes this morphs into a habit and to an extreme.

There is a certain if destructive and sometimes deadly comfort in same-old-same-old. So when pandemics, political rage and even violence, economic crashes, horrible weather and physical illness strikes hard, when we lose a loved one, are shocked by events beyond our control, etc., the ease of reaching for something rather than God Himself, for another someone (who cannot function as only God can) or even simpler, for our chosen form/s of at least somewhat “feel-good” self-medication looms large.

The concept we had nothing to do with it, no movement on our part helps it is like saying rain happens with no clouds whatsoever.

My view is that one’s atmosphere (to use it as a metaphor) is often largely NOT a matter of our own creation while in other times, ways in areas of our life we indeed DO affect the atmosphere in which we move. The key term here is MOVE.

I was in a conversation with a dear friend discussing how easy it is for a number of our friends -and ourselves as well!- to go round and round discussing what seem non-stop miseries that they and we actually CAN take steps (as in movement) to work out of depressions that are not fully caused by biological brain issues with which we are not entirely responsible for.

Have you known, or are you one continually lamenting the tragedies of life but choosing (yes…) to keep spinning in the same non-working, even addiction to your chosen self medication?

Believe me, I get all this. What doesn’t work is continuing to complain but not make a different move. All of us need to vent, let off steam about our hurts, have close friends with listening ears who will still love and support us regardless. Yet our continual complaining can be like wearing the same clothes for weeks on end. The resulting scent often drives others away.

In scripture, Paul writes about putting on Christ (and not as a “put-on” in English slang, not an actor’s act but in reality).

Please have a read about that here: https://www.gotquestions.org/put-on-Christ.html

I’ve often written and spoken on my own truly life-giving therapy, best for me for sure:

Serving God, marinating in daily relationship with Him, then serving others in need best I know how. In short, eyes-off-self and actually moving. “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love serve one another.” -Paul in Galatians 5.13

There are all sorts of therapies that truly work and they will somewhat differ depending on each individual’s makeup and need, but in the end the idea that stuff just sort of happens to us out of nowhere therefore it’s the same for addictions? That second conclusion doesn’t ring true.

Choices. So many of them are on us.

My friend and I essentially lamented that a number of friends just seem to keep spinning in their particular “soup” without doing even one of the most simple things to begin moving out of the bowl they swirl in.

I concluded my part of the convo saying “Each person has to live their own life. We cannot live it for them, decide their choices for them. If they choose to serve their addiction there will be no change and we have to face the sad reality of that. We cannot fix folks, they must and do choose as they will!”

What I, you, any of us actually do with the tensions of life as we seek to relieve them are of course core to all this.

See, I don’t think many people know the history nor much use the Serenity Prayer, but you might find of interest the original version is:

“Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.”

For more on that and a version from AA 12 Step literature (which happens to be my fave version) please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer

I have long believed and experienced genuine, deep soul-peace comes from a relationship with Jesus and what scripture refers to as a “walk”.

Life-giving or life-sucking, either way, we’re moving even if it seems we’re not moving at all.

Things worth considering on the journey? I think yes. 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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