Want A New Drug?


I’ve been a therapist for about twenty-five years.  Over this time I’ve witnessed a continuous increase in the number of people coming for treatment about issues related directly to or associated with drug and alcohol use.  I continue to be astounded by the prevalence of substance use within our social fabric.  Our culture floats on a sea of drugs and alcohol.

Most of the drugs used by people, whether prescribed or not, are taken as strategies for dealing with illness, pain or some imbalance in the body or the mind.  If this is so, what does the plague of Cocaine, Alcohol and Amphetamines tell us about our society?  Why, at this period in the history of Western Civilization, is there so much substance abuse and so many communities affected the ramifications of this abuse?

I extend the definition of ‘drug’ to processes like sex, food, gambling and other preoccupations which have enveloped Europeans and North Americans.  We are riddled with hidden addictions that we use to palliate our sense of emptiness.  We are glutted and nothing stirs our jaded experience – not even excess.  And like people made of wood we can no longer feel.

The Western World is sick at heart.  It drifts polluted in a blasted landscape of excess.  I suspect that the patient is terminal.

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6 thoughts on “Want A New Drug?

  1. G – Well said. “We are glutted and nothing stirs our jaded experience – not even excess.” Makes me think of the entertainment media. Ever more violent, ever more graphic, ever less stirring.

    I wonder if the emptiness of which you speak is a form of fear. Fear that we are nothing. Whereas in truth, in my opinion, we are everything. We are part of everything, and the more we let go of our individual identity, the more peace we find.

    Ironic but true.

  2. I believe we have come to this pass because we are victims of our own success. Most of Western Civilization has been impelled by a Judeo-Christian world view which has spawned concepts like “The Rights of Man”, Humanism, the Scientific Method – and all of the products of these and other socio-political and intellectual inventions of that view. But somehow, in the midst of our success, we abandoned the very world view that fostered and nurtured these inventions.

    At the centre of the Judeo-Christian view of the universe lies God. And He is the measure of all things. Before Him and through Him we were able to retain enough accountability to manage what was dark within us. But, the more successful we became, the more we nudged him from His central position. We finally killed Him and placed ourselves at the centre. Instead of God now being the measure of all things, Man became the measure:Secular Humanism, Scientific Materialism, Post Modernism.

    I see this having particularly taken place in Europe where Christianity has became an anachronism. And into that spiritual and moral vacuum has slithered Al Quaida and radical Islam. Are Canada and America far behind?

    P.S.I use Him/He in the generic sense.

  3. Ah, I see. I would agree with that cut of beef. So much in life that is meaningful cannot be measured or even detected with “scientific” means. Even emotions, for which molecules are being identified, defy exact description or prediction.

    As to God/Yaweh/Higher Power/what have you, I agree that spirituality, our spiritual selves, have been neglected in favor of physical, material comforts. I believe we are of God, that God/Spirit is at the core of each of us, not separate from us. If we can find that core and live there, as much as possible, there is hope.

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