Thursday, May 15, 2014

In Defense Of Heroine


That is the Dumbest Title of Anything that I have ever written; however, try as I might, I could not write another.

Let's move on.

Remember when Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroine overdose a couple of months ago?  I'll be truthful:  I didn't cry or have a prayer vigil or even spend long periods of time in meditation over his particular story - though his story does make me sad and I feel that any life deserves to be seen.

He was certainly not the first person to die of an overdose or even the first famous person ~ which I'm pointing out as famous people tend to receive more coverage ~ but something about his death kept it very much on my mind in those first days, and still, it comes back from time-to-time.

It wasn't that I would miss seeing him, though I did somewhat enjoy his work.  It wasn't that he left behind three kids.  Or even the general sense of shock and grief for the rate at which drugs are wiping people out.

What got me most of all, what wore me down was the vitriol with which people discussed this man's death.

"Stupid, loser a**h*** deserved to die."

I saw so many variations of that sentence.
What is wrong with people?
And I don't mean the drug users.

I also see people debating:

CHOICE <<<<<<< or >>>>>>>ILLNESS

It's both.

And, yes.  I do know.

Thank God in heaven that my patterns of addiction never took me down such a path as intro-venous drug use but I've used in other ways.  And I know people, very personally, who've not been so fortunate to avoid such a path.

Call them "stupid, loser a**h***" to my face, please.  Living with addiction and mental illness in any capacity is ... well, to say it's merely frustrating is absurd.  Not having any other ultimate solution, I sometimes think a good a**-whooping would do the trick.  

But seriously, we're in a state of decline:  morale, healthcare, community, compassion.  We can debate, call names, kick butt, change policy and law - all with the best or most un-thinking intentions, but people are still dying everyday.   Before you claim to know it all or have moral supremacy, consider that you may know someone who's dealing personally on this front.  There may be something more or better that can be done to help stop this plague.

I, personally, just don't know what it is.  I, personally, feel rather helpless.

For the record, I still internet shop and eat entire bags of candy when the pressure's really on.   For the most part, though, I have maintained my recovery.  I must responsibly note that Mr. Hoffman was clean for 23 years before his relapse.  How sobering a realization is that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In Defense Of Happy

I have about forty-seven drafts going right now, all of which will be great posts (for me, at least), but only about three of them have even begun to be put to paper.

It's been a rough few months now.  This whole past year, in fact.  Wait!  The past two years...shoot!  If I put our tests and trials down on paper, then we haven't really seen calm seas since......


Anyhow!  This last year really has been especially trying and we (the man and I) are currently in the thick of some major life changes.  Specifics may be found scattered throughout those forty-seven other drafts.  Surely, they'll turn themselves out eventually so you just hang in there.

What I'll tell you now is that I've run the gamut of negative emotion:  anger, depression, bitterness, fear, anxiety.  A point came that I knew I was in over my head and so I did a round of Prozac.  My round ended recently but not so much on purpose as my need and remembrance for it just drifted away.  Thank you, God, for your presence throughout!

I've experienced plenty of good emotion* too:  elation, peace, satisfaction, bliss. There are plenty of days, though, when I am just plain old happy.  And in light of all that we've been and are going through, I am particularly grateful for happy.  And I try to be more of that and to share more about that than about any of the other stuff because I have this great hope for more people to have happy.

There are moments, though, when I feel nearly a tinge of what can only be called guilt...

That's my oldest granddaughter watching - for the first time - Pharrell Williams's 24-hour music video.  I smile every time I pull it up and she was smiling gleefully while watching it this morning and that made me smile until I nearly cried.  I posted this to Facebook and, within minutes, I was thinking about all the folks who might not know what their happiness is - at least not in this moment.

I am praying for so many friends with so many needs and hurts and causes of sadness.  I see things, hear things, know things, read things between the lines.  Not everybody out there can clap along as if "happiness is the truth."  Not everybody will be enthused by my hopeful, happy tune.

I could say or quote one hundred things right here about happiness being a choice but I'm betting you've already seen at least most of it (possibly from me.)  The thing that underlines all of this really is not about happiness, but joy.  It is because I have joy that I can be happy.  Because I am joyful, I can survive all of the not-so-happy stuff.  You've surely heard this one:  The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Psalm 28:7)

And so I'll keep at it - not because I have no thought or heart for your hurts or unhappiness but because I care very much.  I genuinely hope either to light your presently darkened path or possibly the way toward a joy you've not yet known ~ the true and everlasting joy of knowing Him.

*All emotion, certainly, is affected by synthetic drugs.  This topic is also for another of the forty-seven drafts.