Brains. Amazing miracles of grey tissue capable of producing all of our thoughts, ideas, imaginings, loves, hopes, fears, sorrows. Brains are crazy amazing.
And yet, they can be the biggest jerks.
I have mostly, throughout my life, been able to love my brain enough to respect its needs, or at least many of its needs.
It needs fuel from food. It needs rest. It needs to grow in a relatively safe environment (as free as possible from harm from chemicals or physical trauma). It needs to play. It needs to work. It needs to just hang out sometimes.
In general, I do like my brain. But I also recognize that it can be a real jerk to me when its internal chemical mechanisms are a bit off, and its emotional environment isn’t healthy. It can start insulting me, like a melodramatic teenager biting the hand that feeds it.
But I still continue to take relatively good care of it, even when it’s being a melodramatic jerky teenager.
For whatever reason, I was gifted with some internal mechanism that allows me to stay free from the kinds of chemical agents that so many turn to to make their brains do something different.
I was never that interested in alcohol, although I do appreciate a good single malt scotch from time to time. No interest whatsoever in smoking, anything, because the thought of sucking stinky-ass smoke right into my lungs just squicks me out. And all the other stuff? I mean with needles and sucking up powder into your nostrils? Also so gross I can’t even.
But I also like my brain and I like the control I have with it. I don’t want to lose that control. Ok, if I’m really going to be honest here, there was that one time I was drunk enough to actually have a bit of a hangover the next day, but… well, that was that. Been there, done that, wasn’t that interesting, don’t plan on doing it again because there’s no reason to, really.
So I have a difficult time relating to people to seek out chemical brain amendments on a regular basis. And I especially find it difficult to understand people who do so much so regularly that it affects their families, their relationships with others, their employment – in other words, their ability to be a full human being in this world.
On the surface, I kind of get it. It’s like a temporary reprieve, or it can be a fun social lubricant. But so much, so often that it starts impairing you ability to function? I just can’t understand that very well. But I see it all the time. I see the need to escape, to run, to leave, to make the thoughts stop for awhile, or shut up, or slow down. I see that in people.
I see people who have lived with addictions for so many years that their thought processes are clogged up, like the arteries of someone about to have a heart attack. Their thoughts just go in endless circles, impervious to any kind of knowledge, information, wisdom, or logic that you try to throw to them, like a life preserver to a drowning man caught in a whirlpool. And it’s so sad, because you know what the problem is, you can see the problem so clearly from the stable shores of health and sobriety, but they’re caught out there in that horrible swirling sea…
So I am grateful for my own health, my own blessed, beautiful health. Some days are harder than others, some days my thoughts become dark and distorted and horrible, but I am so, so grateful that I have been able to get through those times.