A Tough Pill To Swallow
Welcome to the land of illusion where what’s up is down and vice versa. We are a nation of addicts with great spin. What is a permissible addiction as opposed to one not sanctioned by either our governing bodies or our hypocritical minds? The so-called War on Drugs is a deflection from the impact of multiple approved legal substances that truly impact health, emotional wellbeing and aid in tallying up death tolls. Not that the War on Drugs is such a worthy scapegoat. It’s just taking too much of the lion’s share of the rap. Someone or something has to be the villain in order to hide the truth. What a great shell game.
You can’t turn on your television (another sanctioned addiction) without seeing an advertisement for a new pharmaceutical drug being introduced on a daily basis. I thought I was imagining this until I actually began to actively track it. No mistake, each day a new one. For decades the big corporate food giants fed us the convenience of processed foods loaded with carbohydrates and sugars (yes, more addictive substances) creating an obese and health-impaired population that has become dependent on drugs and radical surgeries to keep them alive. What a boon for the medical business and Big Pharma. What genius! All they had to do was keep us busy with work, family, consumerism, sports and entertainment events sponsored by—you guessed it—fast food
franchises and booze and voila! They were patient and waited for the fruits of their labors to harvest. And let’s not forget the ever-growing liquor and beer industries. You can’t enjoy any form of entertainment, sports event, or family gathering, for that matter, without an infusion of alcohol. Going to a bar is a legitimate recreation. It’s almost impossible to enjoy the company of an event or other people without intoxication or a buzz. Although I’ll admit the family gatherings make a good argument for it.
So let’s see: alcohol, cigarettes (loaded with life threatening chemicals), pharmaceuticals, bad food, sodas you can use to clean up blood at crime scenes—all legal and, for the most part, advertised and promoted. Hey folks, it’s not what you’re eating but what’s eating you. If you swear off alcohol and become a cigarette and caffeine addict, what’s the difference? If you don’t smoke or drink but have diabetes and its attendant diseases because you live at McDonald’s, what’s the difference? There’s a proliferation of people who tattoo themselves like maps and pierce themselves like pincushions. Excess tells us something about lack. And let’s not leave out consumerism—the addiction to shopping and acquisition that keeps trying to fill a hole that somehow leaks goods into a constantly burgeoning landfill but never satisfies the buyer in the long run. We have reality shows about hoarders. There’s a difference between needs and wants. But we do have to keep up the Joneses after all. If someone has the same toys as you have, what’s the point? Besides, the credit card companies love
the mounting debt that accrues inordinate percentages of interest that give new meaning to the word “usury,” percentages that would make Shylock blush.
And here’s another national addiction: guns and violence. The divide between the supposed constitutional rights arm bearers versus the so-called peaceniks is wider than the Grand Canyon. Has arming ourselves prevented more violence in our country? If you think so, you’ve been living under a rock or maybe just busy shooting life-like animated figures on video screens. Daily shoot-outs, hostage situations, domestic abuse and terror attacks are on the rise, in case you didn’t notice or have become immune. These are now daily occurrences, and not just because we have more access to news. We vilify the people who commit these acts but never look at the true impetus behind them. We simply label them as “mentally ill” or evil. This is not to condone those acts but to say that we only treat symptoms and not the cause. Just the way we feed drugs to ourselves to treat ailments without examining their root causes.
Here are some statistics.* On an annual basis there are more than 46,000 deaths from drugs and over 33,000 from firearms. Drugs contribute to a large number of these deaths. Half or more of motor vehicle deaths are owed to impairment by drugs and alcohol. In addition there are countless incidences of violence and rape with many going
unreported. Yet recently the Governor of New York announced proudly that the liquor industry was thriving—of course a great source of revenue for the state.
I have been the victim of many of these national obsessions to one extent or another. These are not the fervent insistencies of a convert. I just don’t want to be duped anymore. You say you only drink “socially” and in moderation. You believe the so-called health benefits of alcohol or drugs that are conveniently put forth by the very industries that benefit from them. But we need to ask ourselves why we would need any substance or distraction that takes us out of ourselves, who we are, and away from the clarity of being able to truly relate to one another without enhancements. We need to go within and excavate the wounds that promote this behavior and prevent honest interaction without some kind of buffer. The truth is, we only look at what we want to look at. We decide on a villain and it deflects our attention from the villains we want to keep and sugar coat—sometimes literally. Let’s keep a drugged and blind nation. After all, it’s immensely profitable for multiple industries.
When we cannot heal our wounds and truly connect with others in meaningful relationships we will inevitably need to escape. That usually involves the help of substances. Those substances ultimately alter the mind and the heart and only fuel the
coffers of the profit mongers. So decide if you want to ignore truths and be held hostage or break free. In the long run, which is more painful?
*Reference: “2015 Drug Threat Assessment Summary,” Drug Enforcement Agency, October 2015 (www.dea.gov).