Category Archives: Addiction

When is enough?

How many times must I forgive my brother, Lord?   So says Peter in  a question to Jesus Howmanytimes, Peter postulates a good number up to seven times my Lord? Jesus replies not up to seven times, Peter is probably thinking phew that is not so hard then when Jesus hits him with the knockout,

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Ghosts of the past

The past is the past.

One of the challenges many people have to face in their lives is to move on past negative experiences they have had in their life.  I will use me now instead of they, I hope that in this post people may recognise or identify with the things I put onto this page.

I have had some negative experiences in the past some really distant and some not so distant, these have left various impacts on me. Some have seared their way into my mind and have showed this by invoking a set pattern of response when I encounter these things. Some words can do it for me, whatever is one of them I could explain to you how I feel or what I think when the word is said, but why, enough to say that it does, so how does one get past the word whatever? Backtracking a little I think a small explanation of whatever is necessary to illustrate the reaction. The urban dictionary defines whatever as being used in an argument to admit that you are wrong without admitting it so the argument is over. Merriam Webster says anything or everything, no matter what, or can be used to express surprise or disbelief, it can also mean no matter what.  This is not an exhaustive definition of the word, it does go to show that there are a variety of meanings and some of those have positive connotations, some didactic and some decidedly negative in tone.

Whatever for me is associated with a throwaway remark that denotes either a derisive attitude or a dismissive go away, why you may ask? Well the past, in the past that is my experience and it brings an almost conditioned classical Pavlovian response, that of defence, not hackles raised and growling but a shrinking of my soul and a fight or flight response, rapidly followed by a, what did I do, internal referencing, soul-searching, navel gazing, waste of time. Why a waste of time? Well simple really, because most of the time I actually don’t have a reference to put the word into, no locus.  So the reaction that I have is just the ghosts of the past beating their drums inside my head.  Well it’s not like that for me I hear. Well that’s good for you but here it is for me.

This reaction produces nothing worth having the question is how to get past that response so here are a few ideas,

  1. When you say whatever, can you be a bit more precise, I need some clarification.
  2. Did I say something wrong?
  3. Is something the matter?
  4. I need a bit more direction.

You get the general picture, it can be a loaded word but my response is already loaded, I am packing buck shot, finger on the trigger ready to shoot, (ok hyperbole but I am a poet).  The thing is the word most likely comes up in a conversation with someone significant in your life, it certainly does for me.  I could ask the person not to use the word but it is me who has the issue.  There are words that are more than words, derisive, nasty put-downs.  Whatever is unlikely to be one of those and my partner certainly does not use those words towards me, so why am I charged.   As I said it is past ghosts.

Some ghosts have to be exorcised from our lives, the memory is too painful, embarrassing, traumatic even.  I have a good memory, far to good in fact and I have carried a lot of hurts with me over many years.  I am aware of these and reflective enough to know when I am being triggered albeit sometimes not in time to prevent an instant response but enough to know when I need to reflect and move some things along.

My mother’s advice about saying nothing if you have nothing good to say is sage and has been given universally, some people mistake that as a weakness, ah there I have you now, nothing to say I must be right, the temptation is to rise to that but it is again not worth the effort, people like that are generally insecure and have a deep need to be right, I know, I used to be one.  I will leave this here for now bar the disclaimer that I am not perfect and still get caught in this behaviour, but less and less these days, try to think before you engage in a disagreement, try to decide is this worth having conflict over, I learnt as a child that I couldn’t be beaten into submission physically, and any verbal beatings to induce agreement are shallow, hollow victories that are just pale and worthless.

Love well and laugh loud, if you can’t sit on your tongue to stop yourself from talking then just breather through your nose

Paul

A Prayer for Victor, cold charity?

Hunched down, out of the wind I saw him, rearranging his bags to make room, the bitter, biting, wind kept at arms-length for just a bit, not for long now though as he would have to make a move soon.  I know him by name and just a little of his story, I just drove on, just another day.  It had been a frustrating day for me and I was grumbling inwardly about life till I saw Victor.

Perched out of the wind by a local liquor store, Victor was taking his purchases out of their packing and distributing them into his bags, Victor is dependent on alcohol, he was preparing to start walking, I am not sure where to, there’s no night shelter in Morrinsville, and Victor told me he is sleeping rough at the moment.  At that time and place my worries and frustrations were put into perspective. I know all the rhetoric, about choice and consequences, and at times have probably chanted it, I hope not too loudly.

I have met many Victors over the years, I have tried to help some, had some live with me, counselled some, cried with some and for some, even seen death take some.  Addiction is a terrible thing, I am so glad that I have never been in that place.  I had an internal conversation with myself about Victor, I wondered where he was going to sleep, was he hungry, would he stay warm and I drove on.  I have given money to him before, dumb I know because I am pretty confident about what happened to that money.

Victor looks like an everyday guy, Just a bit rough around the edges but with the telltale blood vessels bright red in his face, he could be a dad, husband, grand dad, I don’t know, not that I don’t care but I am too busy.  There I said it, just too busy.

It is not that I don’t care, or I couldn’t help, there is always enough to give someone a meal I just know.  Victor has people who care about him and are trying to assist him.  I know some of them, they will be encouraging him, they will be giving him some food, and a listening ear, There is some help available but Victor has to want it.  It is unlikely that he will change in the near future, I think he battles with some mental illness as well, but in my experience most people in addiction don’t change until the pain of living in that life becomes more than the pain of change,

I saw Victor again yesterday, huddled out of the wind, waiting for, well just waiting, I think for someone he knows, and he was probably going to ask for something, food or…. I said a quick hello but avoided his eyes as I hopped into my warm car and went home to my warm house and got ready for my warm food.  If I had stopped and said hello I would have been compelled to help him, I just can’t say no but like Victor I was also driven by fear.  I think that it is the fear of change that keeps him in his addiction, and for me it is the fear of consequence that stopped me saying hello, I know I would have had to do something and I just don’t want to be in that place.

I can justify it anyway I want, I am a sole parent, I am busy, I don’t have much money, I help a lot of other people, it won’t make a blind bit of difference difference anyway, nothing will change, all true, however at some level do I have a responsibility, I pay tax the Govt can help him, is that enough? Oh the church can help him is that enough? It is his choice, is that enough?  In the end I turned my back after I said hi, I drove away back into my life, I said a quick prayer, is that enough? Well I know the answer to those questions but I will not utter it, I know that I am just one person, I wish I was more than that at times, but I also prayed that he didn’t freeze to death somewhere, pathetic really but that’s all I had in me.  I guess it makes me human, certainly makes me think.

Peace and love people,

Paul

You have seen them

that is if you use face book, those little e cards saying things like taking your ex back is like putting a poo back where it came from, or that moment when you see your ex Continue reading

The ramblings of a (good?) man!

I wrote in my post Caution, content may offend about my reluctance and discomfort about being at a local bar.  A friend of mine suggested we go to a couple of alternatives, I turned them down,   Continue reading

My Name is Paul and I thank God I am not an alcoholic

Ting Ting, the sound bursts over the hubbub of the supermarket, a supervisor needed at checkout 5. I look over and recognise the customer.  She is looking around her nervously, a kind of apprehensive glance, fleeting sweeps of the supermarket as if she is looking for someone, she sees me and drops her eyes, almost shrinking away from my gaze. Continue reading

Warning may cause uncomfortableness and concern.

Not even one day she said, he cannot go one day without a drink was her plaintive cry to me.  I had no answer for her because we both knew the truth, he has a dependency on alcohol, without mincing words he is a drug addict for alcohol is a drug.  Don’t get me wrong here, I am not a wowser, Continue reading