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.