Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/09/15/medicating-isolation
Those of us who have bucked the Covid-19 trend of increased alcohol and drug consumption have succeeded mostly through doing regular exercise including deep breathing. With wildfire smoke in the hazardous range during the past week, exercise and deep breathing are a guaranteed case of pnemonia and increased risk of contracting Covid-19 for me and many others. We are trying to figure out how to survive while breathing as little as possible.
I credit Trump for revealing to me the healing powers of bourbon.
Very, very powerful and important article, thank you Mattea Kramer and CD’s.
The u.s. culture— more than ever---- beats down and attempts to extinguish the most important trait of being human: the capacity for empathy and compassion.
Lack of empathy and compassion could (will) kill all life forms on this planet.
You can have “political will” but be lacking in empathy. It is not “political will” that will help those that are suffering, dying which includes nonhuman life.
The author’s description of how the vulnerable and isolated who self medicate are treated in the u.s. can be applied more generally to all life forms that are vulnerable on this earth including ecosystems (of which all our lives depend on) that are getting plundered---- most people and especially TPTB do not listen to or even care to know what they need to survive!
With each passing day that brings new and increasingly horrific climate disasters it is looking like the collective mass of humans are going the route of mass extinction.
There are those who care and seek ways to live a life that does not destroy life on earth----- but apparently not enough.
Stand outs in this excellent piece:
“In this country, we typically expect folks to cease all substance use in order to be considered “clean” human beings.”
The above quote exemplifies power, control and objectification that is devoid of empathy.
“addiction is actually a chronic relapsing brain disease, one that often takes hold when a genetic predisposition intersects with destabilizing environmental factors such as poverty or trauma.”
Our culture blames the victim----the opposite of empathy and compassion.
Our culture promotes utility which requires objectification above all else.
“The root problem, in other words, is seldom substance use. It’s disconnection and heartache.”
And we are disconnected from nonhuman life forms as well which is resulting in the destruction of all spheres of life on this planet.
"Helping those in the midst of painful circumstances, Rodriguez says, isn’t about knowing the right thing to say. It’s about “the sheer power of just being with someone in the moment… being able to validate and make sure they know they’re being heard.”
This is crucial. Too many people want to “fix things” which is a type of power/control which generally precludes simply just being there and listening.
I would add that we do not listen to other life forms on earth that are in the throes of dying right now due to homo (un) sapiens addiction to fossil fuel and endless growth on a finite planet.
And below, the most tragic question that highlights the reality in this country where people need connection yet more and more people are disconnected from each other:
“How do I prescribe connection?” she had asked during our phone call. “How do I prescribe a friend?”
This made me weep. How have we come to this?
Everything is interconnected yet we are disconnecting from all that could keep our planet habitable. It all comes down to whether or not we have a critical mass of human beings that live their lives guided by empathy and compassion for other humans and nonhuman life. And this includes empathy and compassion for oneself.
It seems today, we do not.