Sounds like a crazy brew, ey? We all indulge in at least one of these from time to time, some of us, more often. Substance abuse is a huge topic of conversation at the moment. Whether kids on Ritalin will later abuse drugs -down to how much substance abuse is costing us nationally. What about professionally supported substance abuse? How has this country’s medical establishment sustained substance abuse? And what does Facebook, Zoloft, Cookies, Vicodin and Coffee have to do with it?
First of all, we need only look at how much is spent on prescription medications every year (alone) to know something about excess. Over 40 billion dollars went to the top ten most expensive drugs last year. How many people need to be taking these drugs for the numbers to reach that high? If we look at the numbers of prescriptions written last year, to the top ten drugs alone – soaring over 690 million – we can begin to imagine. Over 690 million prescriptions were written for 10 drugs alone last year. How many other prescriptions were written? There are only 313 million people in this country. That is, on average, 2 different drugs per person. Since I know that I don’t take any medication, nor does anyone in my family, or any of my closest friends, that means some folks are taking up around 10 different drugs all by themselves.
In this country when we talk about substance abuse, we usually think of alcohol and hard illegal drugs. Let’s get real; the problem is deeper and broader than that. This is not merely an issue of some individuals abusing their prescription meds and other folks indulging too often in booze. No. This goes way beyond the alleyways of crack and cocaine addicts and the pot-head over-indulging in their rooms. We have a nation of individuals taking substances LARGELY recommended to them by professionals. I am seeing these so-called ‘professionals’ as the major supporters of our nation’s substance abuse problem.
As a people, as individual persons, we need to look within ourselves and ask why we are taking in the substances we are and at the level we are. Truly, any substance can be abused. Besides prescription medications like Zoloft and Vicodin, we can abuse the television, the internet (Facebook, YouTube), coffee, cookies, relationships, sleep.
What is a healthy level of consumption?
If anything and everything can ‘technically’ be abused, then let us take a look at why we would abuse and what we can do to correct the issue. Abuse shows up in every society. In some forms, it may be beneficial, to the extent that it brings together a community and strengthens the spirit. Like in India, for example, the ingestion of black tea (which we all know can be addictive) prepared as chai, is used as a cultural bonding agent. Everywhere you go, chai is offered as a way to break down the barriers between people, to ‘level the playing field’ and create a common space from which to relate. In South America, the beverage Yerba Mate is used similarly, in Polynesia, it is Kava. Here in America, coffee sometimes is used this way, while at the same time; it is also consumed alone, behind closed doors, in cars while on the way to the office and in other arenas where social interaction is void.
The internet, too, can bring people together. Chat rooms, Facebook, Google+, have all become places where people meet, share ideas, inspirations and photos as well as networking businesses and creating services that serve the world.
Cookies bring people together at office meetings, house-concerts, grandma’s house and school functions. Even television can be a place where groups gather to experience an enlightening documentary or sports play-off together in the spirit of oneness.
With any substance, any experience or indulgence, it is always best to look behind the thing being enjoyed or consumed and ask if it is benefiting all involved. If it is, and there is genuinely a group mind being fed, this is not abuse. However, if whatever it is – coffee, tea, t.v., surfing the web, cookies, prescriptions – if it is for the purpose of masking the truth of what is possible to be revealed in that moment, it is abuse.
If, for example, I am feeling some form of emptiness inside my person, a lack of connection, a lack of self-confidence, a fear of some sort, and instead of reaching to remedy or address that emotion, I then turn to cookies instead, that is abuse. If I have free time, which could be used to create something, which could be used to tune into my greater potential, to calm a worried mind or to resolve inner conflict, but instead I turn to Facebook to ‘fill in the time’, that is abuse. If I am experiencing unresolved pain or discomfort in my body, and instead of really wanting to uncover the root cause, the origination point of this problem, manifesting in my physical, I turn to medication, that is abuse – whether prescribed by a doctor or not.
I am seeing that we have teams of professionals, trained in top ranking schools, who are the ones writing prescriptions and encouraging behavior that does not help us get to the root cause of an issue. I am seeing a people okay with covering their problems with some substance or some activity instead of facing them – in order to evolve their spirit.
Certainly, there are circumstances where prescription medications are necessary, called for and may be the only hope for someone to find peace in a given moment, or time frame. Certainly it is fine to indulge in a cup of coffee, a movie, or hang out on Facebook from time to time – even daily. Though the truth is, we exceed the circumstances to which we are in need of these things. We are a drug-taking, substance-abusing people, more than we are not.
If we look at what is happening in this country, the economic failures, the governmental let-downs, the killings, the wars, the depression, we must look no further than ourselves to ask why that is. It is said, in quantum physics, that the observer is key in the way things play out. The observer affects the results 100% of the time. Without the one watching, the happenings would not occur in the same way. So, what does that say about each one of us?
We are really good, in this nation, about passing on information that we have heard. We are excellent at ‘relaying the message’, so to speak. What about being the cause of a new conclusion; if not for others, at least for our own person?
In the subject of abuse, it seems that we all have become the supporters, the ‘flying buttresses’ if you will, for substance abuse. We all are ‘guilty’ of over-indulging in Facebook, cookies, coffee and even the prescription drugs we think we need like Vicodin and Zoloft. We let it happen, we perpetuate it, we agree with it – by the very fact that we condone drugs as the answer for SO MANY of our ‘problems.’ Let us look deeper and find ways to enjoy the things we love while also loving the things we find – in ourselves and in others. Let us be the ones to say no to substance abuse on every level and say ‘yes’ to uncovering the amazingness that lies within us all. We don’t need drugs for that, we don’t need a crutch. All we need is the confidence to express what is truly in our beings and to be unafraid to fall.
Written by: Stasia Bliss