Monday, February 05, 2007

The Deliberate Teacher

The Deliberate Teacher

I have a real problem with kids taking drugs. Not because one dose, of one drug, will kill you; I wouldn't use such a fraudulent scare tactic in talking with kids (and that's not to say, if you get ahold of a bad drug, or mix some bad physical machinery with the wrong dose at the wrong time, you can't die with one dose. It does happen sometimes...)

When you are a child/tween/teenager, and you feel bored, or depressed--or have a fight with your boss, or teacher, parents or girlfriend--and you take drugs to deal with it, you skip over having your mind figure out, think your way out of, those mental states.

Pretty soon, it gets to be a habit--and that's how addicts are made. People who skip over the times in their lives when they should be learning how to think, cope, grow, seldom get those skills back, or don't bother to develop them in the first place. That's why addicts are such a needy mess--and they lie, 'dope fiend' folks, cheat, steal, and do other morally compromised behaviors.

Many of those behaviors are bent toward allowing them to lie their way out of the inevitable consequences of their many illegal acts. However, I've known addicts and alcoholics who would lie or steal or cheat when they did not 'have' to, when the truth or honesty would have served them much better--and been easier to do.

The cure for being bored is to sit and have that boredom be painful enough that your mind thinks up something to do, or you turn your attention to something else. The cure for depression is to sit and let it become painful enough so that your mind becomes motivated to engage in enough productive self-talk that you think your way out of it and change your feeling state. The cure for a fight with someone is to cool off--and then go think about what got you into that mess, how you can avoid it the next time, and if you've been wrong, how to make amends.

When you take drugs, instead, you can do none of those things--and you do not learn how to do those things. There is nothing more painful than being, say, a 2o-something year-old man or woman, who does not have the emotional maturity or stability to conduct himself/herself, and run their own life, with a modicum of efficacy, a bit of dignity, and a dab of humility. God gave us pain with boredom, depression, conflict as a motivator for action; when we are comfortable we seldom have the energy to move off that. We have to learn--not to suffer from that pain--but to use it as the tool it is.

I am aware of the times when I need to take my own advice (wink) but I never took drugs in high school, so at least I allowed myself to grow up and, past that, I have deliberately taught myself skills--and continue to, with His help. To ourselves, many times, we have to be a very, very deliberate teacher. So is God. God is the greatest deliberate teacher.


Anonymous bobcat said...

Great piece with a lot of wisdom, Donal. Didn't you love the Colts win yesterday? I never saw so many turnovers in my life.

12:51 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Hi Bobcat! I LOVED the game--the boys actually acted like they wanted to play the game. We don't always get that every year!

2:32 PM  
Anonymous cassie said...

Well done; you know your addicts.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch Two said...

Addiction is an insidious process. As you point out, boredom and depression often lead to using drugs. At first, there is no addiction; but over time, these individuals feel that they MUST have the substance just to get through the day. And what happens inside the brain? The dopamine receptors get all fouled up as does the brain's pleasure center, thus leading to the constant search for that first euphoric high--a feeling which can never again be attained.

4:48 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Yes, AoW--You are a wise woman. Those receptor sites are a killer--but it is negative, unproductive, fraudulent self-talk that makes us take the first drink or pill. I don't know about crack, or ice, or anything like that, but for the ordinary stuff, I know that you are right.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Eyes said...

Great insight! I would have never thought of that angle!

5:25 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Johnny's wonderful piece is on the front!

6:24 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

DONAL those are some wonderful thoughts on addiction. When my friends and I were teenagers we smoked pot to have fun. You know, laugh and eat like animals. Here's the most insidious thing, two of my best friends "moved on" to harder drugs. Coke, then crack. My buddy Jeff has never been the same, I think he fried his brain.

My stupid, young drug party times also disqualified me from the Navy nuclear program. I don't regret that now, but at the time I was so ashamed. Stupidity of this sort has consequences.


7:08 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

I'm sorry, Jingo--that had to have hurt you so. I know the tremendous man you are and I know how that must have bothered you--and I'm sorry. I wish I could take that pain from you. Life is frequently a very painful thing. However, believe me, we ALL have our failings and have failed. I know I have.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donal---so easy to get in , so hard to get out , even harder to talk about this without shame but not impossible.

As long as you have yourself in your corner you are never alone and the two of you , of us , can do EVERYTHING .


7:46 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

That was such a beautiful thing, Batya... that's what you always give... me.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch Two said...

Too many in my own family have been caught in the web of addiction. At the moment, all are clean!

3:46 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Great observations! Having worked in a hospital, I saw these sorts of folks on a regular basis... Yikes. Talk about a screwed-up self perception.

Thank God I have never had the misfortune to ever use drugs!

4:25 AM  
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1:47 AM  

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