Can you get back up?

I should start by saying I don’t like people fighting for money. Not a fan of boxing, I believe cage fighting is as barbaric as throwing Christians to the lions for entertainment doring the Roman Empire, and I believe that one day we will look back at the “sport” of encouraging people of color to brutalize each other for the entertainment and monetary gain of mostly white folks as a low point in human history. We need to change our view of morality to say, “do whatever you want with another consenting adult in the bedroom, but don’t brutalize another living creature or allow yourself to be entertained by watching such crap.”

That being said, every human being gets knocked down by life every now and then. Some of us are knocked down repeatedly. Getting knocked down is unavoidable unless you choose to not participate in life. Given that humans learn by making mistakes and mistakes will lead us, on occasion, to be knocked down, only a voluntary fool has never been knocked down. There is no shame in getting knocked down.

Unlike people who brutalize one another for the monetary gain of others, when we are knocked down we don’t have a ten count to rise again before being counted out. It is perfectly acceptable, likely even a good idea, to stay down for as long as we need to check that we are still in one piece. There is no merit in being the black knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, leaping to our feet and claiming we aren’t hurt or only have a flesh wound. In fact, doing so just hides wounds that really do need our attention and won’t go away without it. So, if you need to stay down and assess your situation before rising again, by all means do so.

Then remove those who brutalize others, physically or emotionally, from your circle.

There is no merit in keeping people around who are not good for us. If we find ourselves making excuses for the bad behavior of others, we need to see that such a practice comes from a devaluing of ourselves, a lack of self-respect and self-worth. We cannot “save” anyone else by allowing ourselves to be their victim. There is nothing in anyone’s past that justifies allowing them to bully us for their own entertainment. We don’t help anyone by tolerating that behavior. In fact, by enabling the bad behavior of others we actually do them harm because, absent change, they will simply become more and more isolated. Instead, get back up, brush yourself off, take out the trash, and get back to life.

Opiods, Lawsuits, Addiction, and Responsibility

I confess, I am a bit uneasy about the current batch of lawsuits against big pharma for its role in our self-proclaimed “opiod crisis.” It’s not that I have any affection for big pharma, quite the opposite. Nor am I am addict, though you can’t swing a dead cat at my family gatherings without hitting one – and several if the cat’s tail falls off. I did, however, spend a decade working in healthcare, the vast majority of it in inpatient behavioral health settings. I have assisted in more than my share of medical detoxification of patients who were addicted to various chemicals. I have led talk therapy groups that included addicted people, and the biggest lesson I learned from those folks is that recovery begins when the addict takes responsibility for their actions.How-Does-Drug-Addiction-or-Alcoholism-Affect-My-Social-Security

To be clear, I believe that addiction is a disease. I also believe that as long as an addict can blame someone else for their problems they aren’t at all likely to recover. What I see all of these legal actions saying is that big pharma made people addicts. To that I say, “nonsense.” Big pharma didn’t push those pills down anyone’s throat. They may have underplayed the addictive potential of these medications and that may have resulted in physicians over prescribing them when they first came out, but it has been a very long time indeed – decades – since anyone, especially physicians, believed that opiods weren’t highly addictive.

I am concerned that as settlements and legal judgments roll in against big pharma we will send the message that big pharma is responsible for your opiod addiction. We will also send the message that your physician wasn’t complicit in the problem in that they prescribed opiods far too easily. We may very well offer addicts another excuse to avoid recovery, something no amount of money can justify