Today, more than ever, there is a continual sense that an impending disaster looms just over the horizon — whether it be the climate crisis, the economy, or the political environment. In order to cope, many people turn to drugs, alcohol or other substances. The opioid crisis is just one manifestation of the addition process at large.
I regularly attend support groups and meetings for those whose lives are impacted by a drug or alcohol addicted child, relative, or friend. The purpose is to gain insights from one another about how to handle the difficult situations created by addiction behavior. There are rules about how to listen, how to not interfere, and how to honor the vulnerability and privacy that such a group provides.
In the course of one of these meetings, a woman spoke up about how difficult it is to not step in and interfere, especially when one has the conviction that doing so will truly help. Yet, the very act of assuming responsibility for the other can add fuel to the addiction, enabling the person to continue with the addiction and avoid mustering their own personal power.
At the end of the day, we have no right to interfere in the experiences of another human being, nor interject our idea of what is best for them — even when we genuinely want to make their lives better. It is just these kinds of exchanges that take place in our group meetings, which help those who are in the constant barrage of the addicted.
However, there is something else occurring in these group meetings, and it is at the heart of this brief essay.
The leader of our session made a profound statement that was echoed by those in attendance. He said that simply by showing up, listening, and sharing his experiences, he had noticed that in time his life in general had improved immensely. In other words, there was a non-linear cause and effect.
At one level he was giving what he could, with no expectation. He was there to support others. In turn, the universe was responding by giving him assistance in other areas of his life. And most importantly, he had become aware of this phenomena.
If one takes this to heart, it is possible to see that efforts designed to help, but not impose, can be rewarded in ways we cannot necessarily imagine. These simple acts of kindness make our lives richer and more rewarding.
Sanderson Sims, October 15, 2019