I stopped at a coffee shop on the way to Chicago, and the tables were full of young entrepreneurs discussing their aspiring business options in the marijuana industry. They didn’t hitch their wagons to the craft beer industry that has taken off so well in Michigan so now there’s a new way to tap into American’s propensity to numb out and get rich.
We are a nation of people who can’t – or won’t – cope with the world sober. If we aren’t shopping, vaping, watching porn, sucking down ramped-up caffeinated drinks or eating sugar, we are drinking or working to make marijuana legal. The news came out the other day that alcohol is killing more people than ever – all ages and mostly women. And let’s not forget the opioid crisis that looms over us. We are killing ourselves in an effort to be numb.
As a person who has been sober most of my life, it saddens me to watch people drown in their addictions and long for more ways to check out. Do we not know how to cope, or have we just given up trying because it seems easier to give in? Life is so short, and I love being able to be present for all of its ups and downs. It’s not easy to face pain and challenge without anesthetization, but living sober is just about the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. If you numb out, you miss joy as well as pain.
I’m a misfit. Even yoga classes now feature drinking in order to appeal to the masses. And forget dating. My sobriety rules out a whole generation of men – my own – who think fun can only be had with a buzz. I don’t mind others drinking, but they surely mind that I don’t. Last night I found myself talking to a man who is not even divorced from his 27-year marriage who is on three dating websites in an effort to distract himself out of the adjustment period to single life. He assumed this was perfectly normal, and I could see the sense of desperation and opportunity written all over him as he realized I was single and in town for the weekend, too. I couldn’t get away from him fast enough.
I don’t know how to tell who will become an addict and who won’t. But I do know that we keep inventing new substances to addict us. The brain will latch on to something. More and more people will become addicted to these substances and cease to function. Each one of these people are important contributors to our society. It’s such a loss to lose them – either because they are numb or because they are dead. At this time in our history, we need all of the young minds and abilities focused and leading us in the right direction.
We are the richest country in the world. Why don’t we see life as worth living any more?