Blogger.com blogs have a neat statistics page through which I can see from where the Life Sucks Better Clean page views come. Today's page views, for example, come from the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Denmark, Russia, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Gabon, and Slovenia. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the disease of addiction is universal. No country, no social or ethnic group, no particular class, no one rich or poor, smart or dim, strong or weak, religious or reasoning is exempt.
If you've got the bug of addiction and then pick up the substance and use it, the dark-side adventure begins and continues day-after-day, year-after-year, decade-after-decade until you either die, kill someone, get imprisoned, or get into recovery. I have no doubt that once we make contact with beings from other galaxies, they will have addicts, and they will do the same dumb, sick, cruel, self-destructive things we all did. If they have recovery programs that work, chances are they will involve the addict putting down the substance, reaching outside of him, her, or itself to a Higher Power for help, and going to meetings (or perhaps melding with the nest consciousness).
I write a lot of science fiction. The one universe I have yet to create is one in which addiction in all its forms (Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior-OCB) does not and never had existed. I can't imagine it. If one is a living being, one seeks pleasure. Given the opportunity, a certain portion of any group of beings will seek their pleasure to the exclusion of anything else; In other words, they are addicts.
Back in the Late 'Sixties, I watched a news item on TV in which a rat had an electrode implanted in the pleasure center of its brain. The rat could stimulate this pleasure center by pushing a button in its cage. On the screen it showed the animal pushing the button again and again. The voice over mentioned that the rat would continue doing this to the exclusion of any other behavior until it died of thirst or starved to death.
I also remember my wife's reaction to the story: "What a terrible thing to do to an animal." I remember my reaction, as well: "Where can I get one of those gadgets?"
Drugs or life? Health or sickness? Being a monster or being a human? Existence under slavery or existence under freedom? Life or death? They are all very real choices. We are all in the same boat whatever our spoken language, color, politics, economic system, or available substances. The forms of recovery, however, are different from culture to culture depending upon how much reliance the addict can place in his anonymity. One is reluctant to share about one's use and abuse of alcohol in a society in which alcohol is forbidden and using it has serious consequences at law. You don't want your using exploits to find their way into the files of the secret police or the local news media.
What is the state of recovery from addiction in your country? What changes or adaptations did you find necessary? Are there any stories of hope and recovery from all these different countries? Twelve Step Recovery programs were born in the United States from seeds planted by the Oxford Group, which had it's roots in England. But just as the disease covers the planet, so does the opportunity to create and take advantage of recovery.
I'd really like to hear your stories.
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