I talk a lot about drugs, because they’ve been a large part of my life.
But The Project is about much, much more than sobriety.
My drug use exacerbated many of my problems- different problems, depending on the drugs and on how I was using them.
But my drug use also helped me become the person I am now, a person that I’m proud to be, in more ways than I can easily recount.
I believe that the factors that led to me using drugs in ways that became harmful are the same, at heart, as are those that lead to people to become unhealthy in their relationship to their phones, their games, their careers, their loved ones.
The world we live in is vast. Complex.
Any perspective focusing on only the good or only the bad – is one which is forsaking the whole for a part.
I believe that unresolved trauma lies at the root of all such behaviors that are harmful to the self- and that no one who abuses another does so with no damage done to themselves.
That’s maybe the why, in my opinion- but what’s the how?
is primarily about my drug use- but I began talking about the how, there.
The how, I believe, is short term thinking.
Those words, though- they are far too dry to convey the weight this concept bears in my mind.
Is boredom at the root of your addiction to Twitter?
Sure, refreshing your TL for hours on end might help in an immediate sense.
But it mostly does this by distracting our minds from the biting pain of an existence we feel could offer so much more.
It is hard to be the driving factor in our own lives- difficult to summon the motivation necessary to find ways to increase the amount of interesting activities we undertake every day.
Especially right now.
But doing more of the things we were doing while we were feeling bored- that’s just, like, mathematically not going to decrease our boredom.
What about your career? Are you happy at your work? Does it give you a sense of fulfillment?
How many people have you seen come to the realization that they are not happy with their career, and, in response- double down? Work even harder, with the hopes of someday making it to a spot on the ladder that will be… Better, somehow. Or- become apathetic. Disengage, only put in the bare minimum to maintain employment.
We identify things that we do not like, about the world, about ourselves.
We throw bandaids at them, telling ourselves it will be enough.
Or, more often- that we have no other options.
Does seeing homeless people make your heart seethe at the injustice of a cruel world?
Do you then give money to charity because it’s genuinely the best you can do to help- or is there any chance that the money going to some of those nonprofits is acting more to extend the life of a system that is not working?
How much of that money goes to pay salaries? Cover coffee in the office? Advertising?
I don’t know, honestly.
What I do know is that from my experience on the street- 20 minutes of a person’s time each week, even each month, just to have a real conversation with one real person who is struggling goes so much farther than thousands of nameless, faceless dollars thrown their way by a system that has lost sight of the individual.
We all do things that help in the short term- maybe that’s how I would define coping, vs thriving, actually. Coping, to me, means finding ways to just get through the Now.
Thriving, on the other hand, is what happens when we stop playing catch-up with our mistakes, and the mistakes of the world.
I used heroin for so many years because without it, it was too hard for me to look at my mounting personal problems, my debt, the sheer fact of how dulled my mind had become. Yet continuing to use it meant I was coping with that shit by ignoring it, not fixing it.
So my problems compounded, became increasingly difficult to own up to. When I realized the true reasons I was using- my desire for drugs began to vanish. I was using them to help me cope with problems I was unable to fix until I stopped using.
Feel better now, in exchange for feeling worse later.
What are you unhappiest about? In your life, in the world? What outrages you, or feels unsolvable?
What are you currently doing about it?
How much is what you’re doing now, helping you to feel less bad about the issue?
I don’t have all the answers. Not for my life, certainly not for yours.
But sometimes we get stuck on trying to force what we think is the best option to be the only option.
Sometimes, it is far more useful to start with an idea of what isn’t working, instead of what should work.
“But if everyone else could just-“
“In a perfect world, though-“
The world is not perfect, and people will never do everything we want them to.
But that does not mean there is no beauty on this planet. In every moment, in every person – there is potential for great beauty and great cruelty.
We all have the capacity to wound, and to heal.
There are so many things out of our control – by focusing so much energy on stewing over the things we cannot change, we lose sight of what we CAN change.
I believe that the potential for our growth as a species- towards empathy, towards compassion, towards healing–
But I also believe that it cannot happen without beginning on an individual level.
No more Band-Aids, short cuts, and hacks around personal growth.
Spiritual growth, empowerment- these things are not easy, and neither do they just happen of their own accord.
But they are crucial first steps towards all of us working to building the kind of world in which we are happy to live – together.