Are We Creating A Pill Popping Society?

Sometimes I feel like the world is becoming a pill popping society. It seems as if there’s a medication for every type of ache and pain one may ever get. Advertisements for new wonder drugs are showing up everywhere these days staking claims how they help alleviate this symptom or that symptom. What I’m beginning to wonder though with the emergence of all these medicines is whether we are just training our minds and bodies to become reliant on a pill to fix us, rather than to do the work to heal ourselves from within.

Anytime I write or speak on this subject, it frequently can receive a lot of backlash, usually by those who regularly take prescriptions. So let me say immediately as I always say when dealing with this topic, I’m not against medicine. What I am against though is when a person refuses to look within themselves at how they’re living their life, which often can be the sole reason why they’re on some of their medicines in the first place.

The first image that comes to mind when I think of a person like this is the smoker who gets bronchitis or pneumonia. I have often seen complete denial of a cigarette addiction come from many smokers when this occurs. Instead of looking at their dependency, they choose to believe they randomly got sick and only need a little medicine to get better. But that type of unhealthiness is obvious. One that’s a little less obvious though and is a growing issue in this country is when a person feels some pain in their body and seeks a painkiller to make it go away.

There are so many people now who have chronic pain in their backs, shoulders, hips, and various other parts of their bodies. Sure doctors can generally find some reason why they believe the person may be feeling these pains, but they’re often never totally sure of their diagnosis either. While doctors may do random tests and conduct physical therapies, many patients never get the relief they’re seeking. Some end up getting surgery again and again in the same area and still they find little to no relief. Sadly, during this whole process, they are prescribed pain pills, which provide immediate relief. That in turn starts creating a mental dependency in the person that the only way they will feel better is through a pain relief pill. Some spend the rest of their lives in that constant cycle of taking these pills to cope and seeking doctors for more of it. But what many don’t ever do is look within to see if the pain is coming from something other than a physical condition.

There are so many factors that can cause a person to have pain besides a physical condition. Unhealthy eating habits, other addictions, and lack of exercise can cause some of these conditions but so can burying traumatic experiences. I once tried to completely forget about my father’s suicide after it happened. During that period of time, I developed serious left knee pain that landed me on those pain relief pills and in a surgery room where nothing was ever found or fixed. When I worked through my father’s death though, all of my left knee pain went away.

When I lost my mother in a tragic way, I tried to bury her death as well. That only led to me to go deep into a sex and love addiction, which in turn caused me to develop severe depression and anxiety. I then became dependent on medication to cope and I remained that way until I finally worked through my mother’s death. Once I did, and once I stopped the behaviors of that addiction, all of the anxiety and depression disappeared.

Through a lot of introspection, healthy changes in my life, and help from my Higher Power, I have been able to heal myself from many other health issues that have arisen over time as well. I continue to stay on a pill free path currently in life and I pray to remain that way because all the pills I ever took were no different than using a Band-Aid, as they only ever covered up my wounds.

The bottom line is that I don’t want to cover up my wounds anymore nor return to having a counter full of prescriptions again where the side effects of one only caused me to have to take another. The only solution I’ve ever found to successfully heal from any of my pains is to look at not only how I’m living my life, but also at what I may have buried deep within me long ago. Thankfully in continuing to do both, I seem to becoming more and more healthy each day, but more importantly, I’ve been able to stay away from that growing epidemic of the pill popping society.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Syndrome

There is a condition that affects most everyone who ever finds themselves in the deep throngs of an addiction. It’s called The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Syndrome.

For those that don’t know the story of Jekyll and Hyde, it actually is all about one person (Jekyll) who injects himself with a serum that ends up creating an alternate personality in him. While Jekyll is good and kind, this other personality (Hyde) is not and instead is very mean and evil. I’ve come to believe over time that the substance of any addiction a person chases after is no different than that serum Jekyll injected in himself. Why? Because I spent over two decades of my life succumbing to so many of them.

The time I spent as Jekyll or Hyde over the years truly depended on how severe my addiction had a grip on me. With alcohol and drugs, I spent the first few years mostly as Jekyll where I was fun to be around, the life of the party, and had many friends. By the end, when I couldn’t go a single day without being drunk or high, I transformed into Hyde more than not. In that role, I became vicious and angry, would scream and yell, start arguments, throw things, and chased anyone away that tried to get close to me. After I found sobriety from alcoholism and drug addiction, I slowly transformed back into Jekyll.

Over the course of the next twelve years or so after that, I’d bounce back and forth between those two personalities depending on what level of addiction I got myself involved in. The greater the amount of caffeine I consumed, the more I flip-flopped away from Jekyll and turned into Hyde. The greater I chased after money, power, sex, control, or anything else, the more the same thing would happen. I kept turning into Hyde over and over and over again because of my addictions and it was never pretty. As Hyde, I was so nasty, selfish, and dark in such a way that I carried a cloud of negativity around me just about the entire time.

When I found the 12 Steps of recovery, it was almost as if I had discovered an antidote that prevented that transformation of Jekyll into Hyde. I found the more I submersed myself into those steps and my recovery, the more days I remained free of evil Hyde. I also found the more I got away from those steps and my recovery, the more Hyde’s malevolent ways crept back in.

I’ve spent the past two and a half years now being almost completely free of Hyde and I’m incredibly grateful to my Higher Power for that. I don’t allow myself to drift from my recovery work anymore because when I have, I start injecting myself with that serum again and it comes in the form of another addiction.

Thankfully, it appears that The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Syndrome no longer has control of me, but I know for it to remain that way, it’s 100% contingent on staying immersed in my work with the 12 Steps. It’s the only thing that has ever been able to keep Hyde at bay and trust me you wouldn’t like that part of me, as no one did. I thank my Higher Power for helping me to find that antidote, as life is so much better lived as Jekyll.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

No More Reindeer Games For Me

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer tried everything he could to join in those reindeer games in the beginning of that classic Christmastime movie, but he wasn’t allowed to because he was so different. Ironically, I’m the exact opposite of how Rudolph originally was when it came to being a part of those games, as I don’t want to be a part of them at all these days. The games I’m referring to here reference the many groups of people who often come together, form a click, and maintain an unhealthy group mentality that you either follow, or you end up being chastised in some way if you don’t.

I spent many years of my life trying to be just like Rudolph first was. I covered up my “shiny nose” and tried to become more like everyone else. I gave up plenty of things I loved about myself that were truly unique and different. I changed my image to blend in with my surroundings all to look cooler. I gossiped with everyone else as they gossiped. I judged with everyone else as they judged. I backstabbed with everyone else as they backstabbed, and so on and so forth. In doing this, while I gained friends, I lost my true identity and myself. In all essence, my “shiny nose” became dim and eventually burned out in the process.

For years, I remained afraid to step out on my own, beat to my own drum, and be myself like I had done as a young kid. I was so scared of going back to those days where I always felt intensely alone because of being that different. Back then, no one ever wanted me to be a part of their reindeer games because of it and I thought that seeking those games was what my heart truly wanted. How wrong I was. Chasing after them not only burned my special “shiny nose” out, it brought great pains to my heart. I felt like such a fake every single day I was part of those games but even worse, I hurt many souls who never fit into my group of reindeer that played them. Thankfully, the work I started doing in my recovery and on my spiritual journey began to show me how unhealthy it was to remain a part of them. Slowly but surely, I proceeded to back away from being a part of any of them or demonstrating any of their mentalities. That’s when I was able to rediscover the original me and proceed to improve upon it.

Today, I do my best to stay away from all the people who play any type of reindeer games. I avoid them like the plague particularly the ones that include the constant sexual banter, gossipy talk, and negative judgments of others who don’t quite fit in. Taking part in any of them only takes me away from the spiritually centered person I know my Higher Power is helping me to become. Unfortunately, there’s a side effect to me doing this though.

Several have said lately I’m full of ego, which in all essence means they feel I’m better than them. I know that behavior well, because I spent many years saying the very same thing of others who were living far more spiritually than I ever was while I played those games. It was easier to tear them down then than to look in the mirror at how lopsided I was living. Thank God that’s not the case anymore as my ego is so far from being in charge of my life.

The fact remains that I choose to live on a spiritual plane nowadays that does not segregate, hurt, ridicule, gossip, or sexualize the world in any way, shape, or form. While that may set me completely apart from what often happens during those reindeer games, I’m ok with that today, even when those reindeer are saying I’m full of ego. There’s only one simple reason for that.

My “shiny nose” has finally returned and while I may be quite proud of that, it’s not about my ego, it’s about being ok to stand apart and just be my spiritual self.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson