Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One minute you're waiting for the sky to fall The next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all

I just got back from a seminar on Addictions. This series is specifically about drug addiction but the same premise for underlying causes holds true for all addictions. An addiction is defined as any behaviour that has negative consequences yet is continually craved and sought after. This includes behaviour addictions such as being a workaholic, over-eating, shopping, excessive computer use...

So there are a few factors involved with addiction including poor impulse and stress regulation, and messed up endorphin and dopamine circuitry. Again, NOT by choice, but circumstance. This doctor argued it is not nature, but nurture.

Infants have no stress regulation control, it can only occur via bonding between infant and caregiver. The most important elevation of endorphins occurs with early interaction of parent and child. If a child has a consistently available and non-stressed caregiver, stress regulation and endorphin levels will be achieved. If an infant or child has a caregiver who is consistently stressed, depressed, or unavailable, this brain circuitry is not developed properly. The good news is that the brain always has plasticity and can learn different patterns. This doctor stressed there is no blame here. No parent decides to be stressed or depressed.

This doctor who spoke, Gabor Mate, works in a clinic in Vancouver's East Side, a place where there is so much heroin use that it has the highest rate of HIV transmission in the world. His point was that we, as a society, need to be more compassionate in our treatment of drug addicts.
As a community, we need to develop a support system so that families and individuals are not so isolated.

We live in a culture of addiction. We are never good enough, talented enough, pretty enough. We often feel empty, hungry and non-sufficient as individuals. We feel like who we are is not enough, to others, to ourselves. Stretch your arms and reach out.

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.
~Frederick Buechner

One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.
~Chinese proverb

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.
~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


Tante Waileka said...

People who are drug addicts, if they became such on their own volition, should be helped. Yup indeed. They should be helped up the hill behind the barn and CULLED. Life is short and then you die. If you want to spend your time 'feeling warm and fuzzy' towards addicts, that's your right (well, you live in Canada so you don't have any 'rights', but what passes for 'right' in that banana republic). As for me, I don't give money to beggars and I don't tolerate addicts who got that way by choice.

vinny said...

The above comment reads to me, very confrontational.

Zoeyjane said...

I can't get past that first comment, to remember my original intented one...

Eve Grey said...

I'm still laughing at the thought of Canada being referred to as a Banana Republic. Granted, Stephen Harper does rule much like a military junta.
I think it's pretty safe to say that Tante is an angry, lonely lady who feels her adrenaline rush when spewing her rage on the internet. I'm sorry she's such an angry person.
If fraulein comes back, I will delete her nonsensical comments.
Hi Vinny & Zoeyjane!

LceeL said...

I see this zaftig woman with an attitude, pince nez and a walking stick. Und an armband.

But anyway, those who become addicts, by choice, have, perhaps, had their choices limited by loneliness and exclusion. In school, at home, in the work place, people might see them as different or weird and and rather than be inclusive and accepting of a 'different' person, they shun them.

Or perhaps their choices were limited by their ability to handle or accept stressful situations. Because no one could help - or wanted to or knew how.

Addictions come in many forms. Addicted people take many forms, as well. But their common denominator would seem to be isolation, loneliness and/or low self esteem.

If we could all make each other feel good about ourselves, how much nicer would it be for everybody.

Including the Frau.

OHmommy said...

OK. I had my comment all written in my head and then I saw the comments.

A bit angry, much?


Tammie Lee said...

I agree, addictions come in many ways! Seems most folks have them.

I was reading some Wayne Dyer this morning: you get what you think about, whether you want it or not.Commit to thinking about what you want, rather than how impossible or difficult that dream may be.

Yes we have laid the ground for a generation to not know who they are. It is quite sad. Folks think that fulfillment comes from things outside of themselves, this will never satisfy.

Rest deeply, gently, profoundly within oneself and the rest will be revealed. At least this is a start.

MommyWizdom said...

Yikes, is this a hot topic?! I have to agree with some of the points from your seminar... and very interesting too.

I wanted to add that we cannot leave God out of the mix. Faith, by virtue, keeps us focused.

What an awesome photo you posted at the end. Great perspective!

Huckdoll said...

Amazing post, obviously very controversial (especially here in Vancouver) and good for you for putting your thoughts and feelings out there. I adored those quotes and agree with you on this 100%.

LaskiGal said...

"We often feel empty, hungry and non-sufficient as individuals. We feel like who we are is not enough, to others, to ourselves. Stretch your arms and reach out." So, so right.

We want to numb the pain that comes with the disappointment of not being everything we are told we should be.

Instead . . .

Of accepting that we are perfectly OK just as we are.

LaskiGal said...

And I wanted to add . . . those photographs are AWESOME. I love the juxtaposition of the book page art and the real world art.


Beth said...

something tells me Tante might have a little bitterness towards addicts.....

Anonymous said...

addiction is a horrible thing.

but not as horrible as Tante's stench....

anti-supermom said...

This post makes me so proud that I've choosen to take care of children, that I've watched 7 infants in just 4 years and that they were well cared for.

Addiction is horrible, pain caused by addiction is horrible too. (as you can see by the lovely comment)

Tara R. said...

I've started and deleted four comments. I was just so stunned by the vehemence of that first comment. Wow!

Zip n Tizzy said...

Beautifully written post. Equally beautiful photos.
Another failing of our society is to blame the ones exhibiting the symptoms of disfunction, rather than the disfunction itself. And then only those who don't fit within our accepted confines. It would be an interesting study to tally up the numbers of people who suffer from "acceptable" addictions within their own homes, and see how they out number those unfortunate enough to have ended up on the streets.
Of course it's unpleasant. Anything that makes us look at our failings is unpleasant. Hopefully with the help of more teachers like the one you came across, and advice like Kurt Vonneguts of creating stronger communities, we can all start to become a little healthier.