Volume 16, Number 25
April 20, 2010

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This Week

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anna “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” F.D.Roosevelt

Each and every one of us, at a certain point in our lives has faced a problem that we were unable to easily deal with. These things catch us unexpectedly sometimes and throw us completely off balance. At this point we have to choose a way of dealing with the problem. There are many choices, but, usually, it's much easier to go for the easy solutions: to avoid it, to cover up problems with artificial happiness.

Now, let me be more clear. I want to discuss the generally accepted idea that certain substances, for the lack of a better word, “addictions,” can help us solve our problems.

First of all, I do not wish to criticize people, nor am I trying to say these things are bad or good. I would just like to ask, why is it, exactly, that so many young people nowadays rely on substances as a source of happiness? Is it purely psychological? Most of these substances come with warnings of being harmful or fatal. But people continue to indulge in them. Why? What draws young people to these things, like a moth to the flame?

Let's first look at the obvious reasons, the benefits: these “addictions” provide us with relief. They help us relax, focus, forget about our problems, lose control. We become more sociable, more fun, more confident. Now these excuses I can understand: our lives are full of stress, and people psychologically associate happiness with these stimulants. So, yes, they work. But the mind is such a powerful weapon! If you associate anything else with happiness, it will work for you. And it doesn't necessarily have to be an investment or be harmful. But, perhaps we just like the danger and feeling of rebellion?

There are many theories that explain such consciously destructive behavior. Some are created by scientists and some by psychologists. (Somehow the two never seem to agree.) Scientific theories say that some people are genetically prone to addictions.

“It is not I who become addicted,” said J.Cocteau. “It is my body.”

It's my personal opinion that the body and mind have to be in harmony. They are a part of one system, and cannot be separated. So this theory is irrelevant: The problem is not why people continue, but why they started. Find the source of the problem, not the consequences.

So…why? Always the same answers: enjoyment, boredom, social pressure. But people will never really tell you the deeper reasons, perhaps because they are not aware of them themselves. We have become lazy, forgotten how to find happiness naturally, we are afraid of confronting our inner problems. Unhappy? Low self-esteem? Loneliness? Feeling the need to be accepted? Work through your problems. Change your perception of the world. Evolve. Yes, lighting up a cigarette will make you feel better, but only for the moment. Life is precious, and we are in it for the long run.

Now, I would like to mention that, of course, we are not angels. And being young is mostly all about enjoying and experiencing life to the fullest. But, whatever you do, make sure it is your own conscious decision, not something you were pressured into socially or culturally. Stay safe.  


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