We eat food that causes disease and addiction, engage in self defeating attitudes and reckless recreation, and intentionally pollute our own habitat to near total annihilation. And we do it all without a second thought to our actions. We have become so accustomed to destruction and devastation that we assume this is an acceptable and unavoidable part of existence. When in fact, it may be an undeniable part of life on Earth, but certainly not one that should dominate the scope of our being.
Our own actions have brought our civilization to this brink of natural disaster, but it is our negative reaction to the problems that causes us to turn to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain. It may be easier to forget that we continue to deplete our own resources on a daily basis when we are high, and it is certainly easier to ignore our longing for healthy personal relationships and greater self esteem after having a few drinks. We feel horrible about ourselves and our culture, and to compensate we deliberately partake in substances that will continue to make us feel horrible.
You may argue that smoking a joint makes you feel great, but your body knows better. Even just one beer can cause chemical reactions in your brain and body that are devastating. Each time we use mood altering substances we are burning up and shutting down brain resources, damaging our liver and kidneys, and weakening our immune system. These reactions pave a clear path for other more disturbing diseases like cancer, heart, liver or kidney disease, autoimmune disorders, depression and even schizophrenia.
Take a moment to ask yourself why you indulge in alcohol or other drugs. Are you lonely, depressed, or bored? Maybe you only drink after a hard day at work. But what could you do instead that would make you feel great while also being good for your body, mind and soul? Do you enjoy sports or exercise, or even walking your dog? Do you love to play with your children, but never seem to find the time or energy? Or maybe you are the kind of person who loves a good book or some insanely loud heavy metal. Whatever it is that turns you on naturally is what you should turn to at the times that you are struggling to feel good and looking for something to help you forget that you have problems.
I firmly believe that occasionally it is necessary to “self medicate” to relieve stress and anxiety, but we must choose our medicine wisely. Instead of turning to drugs, alcohol or calorie filled desserts, lets try to find ways that we can make ourselves feel truly fulfilled. Something that will help us grow and evolve, not become sick and deteriorate. Do what you love, and learn to love who you are.