There is no such thing as using in a vacuum…
Back in 2012, I wrote a piece about why there is no way around the fact that using drugs and alcohol is selfish. Fundamentally, drinking and using drugs is selfish simply because we are doing so to feel good, to take the edge off etc. Sure there are degrees of selfishness, some markedly less or perhaps not destructive at all, such as the non-alcoholic having a few drinks at the dinner party on Saturday night.
Then you have the selfishness of an addict, who continues to drink and use even as it comes at the expense of self, and more importantly, of others. In the older post entitled, “Selfish No Matter What,” I discussed the fact that there is no such thing as using or drinking excessively in a vacuum for two primary reasons. One, because there are people who love us. Love for a child, for instance, is a switch that cannot be turned off. Love for a child is cellular, it is in our bones, it is part of our make-up and thus, every time we do something that hurts ourselves, we are by extension hurting anyone who loves us. To see a child killing themselves rips a parent’s heart right out of their chest. It terrifies them to the core and can quickly rob them of their peace, joy and faith.
I also tried to shred a common argument/belief I hear from the younger, cognitively narcissistic addicts – that if there is no one in life who loves them, then using is not selfish, or rather, that it doesn’t hurt anyone. This line of thinking brings us to the subject of human responsibility.
Trying to get something existential through the head of a teenager is a challenge, let alone an addict, but I answered by suggesting we have certain built-in or required responsibilities simply because we are human. Upon hearing something so horrific and unjust, they often became indignant, confidently declaring they don’t have to do anything they don’t want!!!
At that point, all I could tell them was whether they choose to believe it or not, it doesn’t change the fact that we as human beings are all responsible to act in a way we would recommend for everybody else. By using drugs and drinking alcohol all day/every day at will, we are essentially saying that it’s okay for everybody else to act this way too.
Think about it. What would the world look like if everyone went around shooting heroin, smoking crack or drinking like a fish? Sure the world is a mess already. Sure there is a grand holy war taking place, the war between good and evil. But if everybody felt justified to use and went about jammed all day long, the world would essentially cease to exist. It would become a cesspool of filth, moral decay and spiritual destitution. There would be no sanity. There would be no progress. There would be no adults. There would be no love.
So then, why do we addicts somehow have this right to use drugs, become insane and kill ourselves exclusively, but every other adult in the room does not?
Right, we don’t.
Human responsibility transcends all of our individual issues and beliefs about who we are, what we think we deserve, and what we think we may have the right to do compared to everybody else.
Whether we have lost control of our drinking or drug use is irrelevant because we as humans are never excused from our fundamental responsibility to act in a way we would endorse for the entire world. What we are saying by using, drinking, lying, deceiving, stealing and manipulating is that all of these behaviors are acceptable for every other member of the human race. We addicts tell ourselves that our lives and our experience is unique, that nobody feels what we do, that nobody knows what it’s like to be us, but these are but convenient excuses and delusions to justify the way we act.
The truth is that, addict or not, we cannot escape the fundamental and God-given responsibility we have to step up and take care of ourselves, take care of our loved ones, help those we can, do the right thing, work hard and walk through our fear and pain and discomfort with grace. We cannot escape the human responsibility we have to refrain from ignoring or walking away from our conscience, refrain from retaliation, refrain from wearing our shit on our sleeves and bringing others down with us. We cannot escape the human responsibility we have to make things right when we have committed a wrong, to submit to the will of God and to have faith in his Power. We cannot escape the human responsibility we have to not act immorally by engaging in deception, dishonesty, deviance or any other harmful word, thought or action. Ask yourself why people want public monuments containing the Ten Commandments removed? You really have to wonder.
We also must be wary not to worship ourselves (or others), lest we find ourselves abusing power and those around us.
You can add to the list, but the point is that human responsibility dictates that we addicts and alcoholics cannot escape the responsibility we have to recover, since using and drinking violates this fundamental code.
It also means that because drinking and using (especially once we have lost control) is harmful to self or others, it is also wrong, and yes, immoral. Regardless of how we try to destroy the absolute truth of right and wrong through moral relativity, secularism, PC nonsense and attempts to rationalize deviant behavior, it does not change the fact that there is an inherent moral component to engaging in behavior that destroys life and break hearts. Those who try to remove the moral component to using drugs and alcohol have voluntary chosen to put their heads in the sand. They seem lost, desperate, angry, and all too happy to reject God. Other than that, the only reason I see this idea being promoted is some sort of financial, ideological, political or pharmaceutical agenda.