As Valentines Day approaches we consider the joy of having loving relationships in our lives. We all want to find that special someone, and once that time comes, to live together happily for life. At least that is the ideal. But love comes in so many varieties and flavors. We dream of becoming carried away by it, imagining an ecstatic wave of joy in our hearts. But to define this all-encompassing desire for love inside us seems almost impossible. The ancient Vedic culture of India gave varying names for different kinds of love, as did the Greeks. The Greeks actually had as many as thirty different words to describe shared love, but seven were most prominent.
By 2013 almost 25 million Americans were using illegal drugs habitually, according to the statistics of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Over 5 million of these admit to being addicted to heroin, cocaine or prescription drugs. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that just over 17.6 million people suffer from alcohol abuse. Over 70% of Americans now have food addictions, which has led to the worst obesity problem in history. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders states that almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression, and that 30 million people of all ages and genders in the US suffer from an eating disorder. We have a substance abuse problem in our country that is becoming almost insurmountable. Whatever the addiction, the root cause is anxiety. So why is everyone so anxious? We have more diversions than ever before for our minds and senses, yet nobody seems to be happy or satisfied just being alive. At the end of the day we can cite endless reasons for society driving us to the edge with pressures to become somebody, or the endless quest for money and power.
There comes a time when you have to believe that. You have to believe that you can change your life, finally make it a life worth living. And the holiday season is a time when family and friends will take more time than usual for others, so it’s a perfect time to try to get help. So for anyone caught in the web of drug or alcohol addiction the holidays are a great time to just surrender to the possibility of a sober you.
For any substance abuser to successfully change his or her life from one of dependence to a life of independence, we have to become philosophers. We have to search for answers to the basic question of “why am I so damned dissatisfied with life that I need a drug just to get through each day”?
When I first revealed my story to friends in the course of writing Tempting the Devil in the Name of God everyone asked me “why reveal all of this now?” It might damage my reputation, to reveal such a sordid, and quite frankly insane past. After 30+ years of building a successful life, I could have simply taken the whole story to the grave.