I recently came across Russell Brand’s well-written piece on drug addiction, which was published in the Guardian nearly a year ago. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, do so. Like so many of Brand’s observations on life, his raw, evocative and honest meditations on this subject really made me think about how compassionate, understanding and helpful I’ve been to those who have ended up dealing with reality in this way.

Let’s face it. The world we’ve created for ourselves is dreadful in more ways than one, especially if you leave room for the possibility that there was something to the elaborate and conforming records in every ancient civilization of an earlier Golden Age of universal peace, harmony, stability and prosperity. We’ve fallen, if you give any weight to these accounts (and if most of recorded tells us anything), it is that we can’t seem to get up.

It’s no wonder that people have developed so many coping strategies over the ages. The world as we know it is not the world as it should and dare I say, could be. In fact it is a far cry from what is possible and as I said, in many ways it just plain sucks.

Some cope with this dissonance by conforming to the contemporary norms and living “normal” lives by keeping up with the Joneses. Others rebel in various ways (typically in groups) and warm their hands by fires on either shoulder of the bell curve. The group to which Brand refers choose yet another approach: deal with this misshapen reality by altering it further.

“Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution,” says Brand. What a brilliant way to put it! It is unfortunate that so many end up trying to solve the problem with drugs and alcohol, but I understand completely how painful it is to live in a world gone mad while knowing deep down that it doesn’t have to be this way. To my mind, the trouble with drugs and alcohol is not that they numb the pain of the world as it has become, but that they also deaden the tenuous but all-important feeling link to the world as it once was and soon should and could be.

The world needs people who can think and feel deeply, people who aren’t willing to let themselves be overwhelmed by the the pain of this dreadful state that we’ve created for ourselves over time. The world needs people, real people who no longer succumb to the temptation to react to, rage against or acquiesce to the pathetic substitute for reality that is collectively and unimaginatively held to be normal.

Where this is the case there is a resurgence of vision, capability and fortitude, a renaissance of self-possession, dignity and grace. Where this is the case, the shoots of unreality will immediately and effortlessly break through the cracked pavement of this unimaginably tiresome reality that we’ve created for ourselves. When this is the case, we no will no longer need crutches to deal with reality.


3 thoughts on “Reality

  1. Carol

    Russell’s article helped me understand how difficult it is for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol to be rid of the desire even after years of being off the substance. He emphasized how important it was to be able to count on others to help him stay the course and found help from those who had had the same experience – former addicts. His recognition that he too could help others in the same boat struck a chord. Coping strategies are addictions and you’re right, not normal! We can look to see what is still present and do something about them but also when you’ve taken some land, to lend a hand to others so they release them too.


  2. Steve V

    Russell’s article gave evidence of his sense of compassion and service to those going through what he went through. As we provide the same for our world that remembrance of the Golden Age experience can be reawakened. Those in that time were noted to have such grateful hearts that what emanated from them blessed each other. It is good to see how this can be actualized in our living in this day!


  3. Coco

    Well said! The crutches have become red herrings in our society. We’ve let ourselves off on a technicality. We’ve developed a world that spends it centuries fighting against the very situations it self creates by its wanton core. Addiction to any substance is I’m sure torture to the person and certainly for their family that was depending on them for care or family that loves them. While it can not get a free pass, compassion and understanding are always the helpful response.


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