You’re ruining your life….and YOU know it!

head shot

by Kenneth Justice

~When we get past politics, religion, economics, and how much money you make….there is one thing that nearly all Western people have in common; addictions.

Before you hit ‘click’ thinking “I’m not an addict”, hear me out for one moment;

Addictions don’t merely come in heroin laced jars……..

In Western Culture; being an addict is as much a way of our life as apple pie and Chevy Trucks…..

We in Western Society are addicted to;

Fast Food

Cell Phones

Television

Soda

Facebook

Careers

Being an a** h***

Arguing

Dieting

and sooooooo much more!

I’ve written about feeling lonely, depressed, disconnected, and a variety of other psycho-social issues because these subjects connect with people.

Having studied academically and worked in various elements of the Human Service Field for the past seven years….I know firsthand the reality of our addictions as a society. As someone who has a certification in addiction counseling I think that I’ve progressed enough academically to have an educated opinion on the subject.

Western Culture….when we set aside the positive elements for a moment; contains a lot of negative elements.

*Nearly 7 out of every 10 women think about their weight on a daily and weekly basis.

*More than 50% of men (and women) are taking some type of prescription medication.

Don’t even get me started on how much television we watch as a culture!

I write about the problems I see with religion in Western Culture because as a people we are struggling with a variety of issues, yet; Western Christianity, and religion in general…..is letting us down.

I’ve never really seen government as the answer in solving psycho-social problems…..yet despite gallant efforts by European Governments and politicians here in the U.S.; the reality of the situation is that government has not solved these psycho-social problems.

I probably could write an entire piece on men who are addicted to breaking up.

Or maybe more specifically; men who are addicted to being non-committal.

If you live in Western Society and don’t struggle with anything related to what I’ve described: than you should go on a speaking tour….you should write books….because you are the outlier; you are the exception.

As technology increases…..psycho-social problems increase.

The correlation is profound.

If we travel to a less industrialized nation….we will find malnutrition, lack of education, health issues like AIDS, and other serious problems…..but the rate of psycho-social addictions is astronomically less than in most of Europe, the U.S., and Canada.

So, where is all this going?

Truthfully, I don’t know…….

Last week the number 1 song in the U.S. was Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason”….let’s put aside the obvious things we could talk about in relation to it being just another love song,

consider for a moment the opening stanza;

Right from the start, you were a thief, 
You stole my heart and 
I your willing victim 
I let you see the parts of me

Could it be that the reason a song like this one jumps to the top of the charts is because it connects with people, it hits them in the heart with where they are at in life?

People hear those lyrics and they can immediately identify with;

1) someone who has wronged them

2) feeling like a victim, but not merely a victim; a willing victim, we know that the choices we are making are often choices that lead to misery…..

walking

“Right from the start, you were a thief,
You stole my heart and
I your willing victim
I let you see the parts of me”

I don’t know a lot of things…..as the old proverb goes, ‘the older I get the more I realize I don’t know’….

But, one thing I am becoming quite confident of is our need in Western Society to begin a conversation….

We need to start asking some tough questions like; are we happy with where things are going?

If we aren’t satisfied, then what now?

For now……I can smell the aroma of coffee emanating from a french press so its time for me to have another cup….

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

54 replies

  1. Nice post, and great closing question. Cheers.

  2. I am definitely addicted to the internet 😛 And the little orange glow of someone liking (or better commenting!) on my blog. I wonder how I ever filled the hours before…

  3. Ah, yes, I like my coffee French-pressed, too! xoM

    • Margarita,

      for the true coffee connoisseur it is the only way to go 🙂

    • I got two words for you: Puh Leeze! The only way to get decent coffee at home is the Italian way. Here’s all you need: http://snapguide.com/guides/use-and-clean-an-italian-stove-cafetiere/

    • tongue,

      lol! careful now…you may not know who you are taking on in your little coffee comments…around these parts I am known as truly the greatest coffee snob this side of the Mississippi! and your words there; ‘them are fighten words!’ 😉

      I’ve tried every way, and I’ve decided I like French Press the best…

      and by every way….i mean every way….

      i see your italian link and I give you this <link> ….this is a Kosher Coffee house near where I live owned by a Rabbi….I bet you don’t have coffee houses near you with this kind of equipment!!!

    • OHMYGOSH! Caffeine is my favorite addiction and I must try this science experiment coffee! Gotta’ find it online now!

      Eh hem … but about your blog … I agree. IMHO, our sound bite, flash-n-go culture means that we process our foods and our lives. I know, right?! … How does this thing I’ve written really apply to this article? I am enjoying my morning caffeine delivery system and cruising the blogosphere, while planning in my head how I’m going to get ready quickly to be downtown for my new hometown’s “cleanup day” in under an hour. So I resort to my three favorite addictions – caffeine, wordpress hiking, and packaged foods. Point? Summarizing our lives into little addiction boxes is more convenient. ?

      Yeah – I don’t really think I have anything of substance to contribute but (and not to flatter you like a pastor there dude) I dig the daily culturemonk. Thanks for blogging Kenneth.

  4. There’s definintely a lot of truth in this!

  5. I must say this is a fairly crude article that could be developed further, but it does sum up the fact our societies in the western world are held together by the (slowly disintegrating) polyester strings of materialism. Once the economy falls apart once and for all, where will we be? Do we really have the will to fight and support each other?

  6. i definitely have my “addictions” -the one to soda probably isn’t so much an actual addiction as it is no desire to use my self-discipline to say no to it; im more than happy to admit to my addiction to music. i love it. just as you said i can connect to that ALWAYS, even when i can’t seem to connect to family and friends. sadly i am one of those chicks that worries about my weight but i know i can do something about it its just a matter of actually taking that final step and taking that action (it’ll happen). as someone else pointed out, sadly wordpress is my sort of new addiction haha – yes that orange i love to see in the upper right hand corner. quite addicting. anyway – another great post. i do find that many people are not comfortable with questioning things though – they don’t like to rock the boat, but the strain of everything i think will force the issue eventually. seems like the political and economic environments are starting to boil to a sort of breaking point. we’ll have to see what happens. enjoy the coffee! 🙂

    • Jen, right on…

      I think that what you mention is partially connected to our educational system where conformity is a very real concept….we don’t train students to ‘question’ but rather we tell them, “this is what you must think’.

  7. I’ve occasionally wondered if addictions are in part a coping mechanism for the feeling of losing control. No matter how destructive they offer a certain measure of predictability, if not security.

    • Gregg,

      definitely truth in what you say…..

      In my post I’m pointing the course of the subject to culture…..because in other cultures they don’t have the same psycho-social elements at play as we do in the Western World so they don’t have to resort to addictive behaviors in order to cope…..

  8. I bet between the two of us coffee snobs we could come up with a pretty decent cup. My mom was Italian — no, I don’t mean to say that she was from New Jersey or Connecticut, she actually was from the old country — and I spent several years of my life in Italy, so I do know a thing or two about coffee. By the way, even the so-called French press is an Italian invention. I think you can see where I’m going with this…

    Being addicted to coffee is pretty much the only vice of mine I’m willing to admit. Well… OK, I’m also a contentious asshole. But I’m sure you deduced that by now.

  9. Barely done with my first cup but I’ll wade in on this. There’s another addiction that I’ve seen written about lately, people who are addicted to attention. They must at all times and in all ways be the center of attention. I first heard of this addiction in relation to Anthony Weiner and his re-entry into political life. Mark Sanford would be another, but I would argue that the majority of politicians, regardless of party, at least seem to be similarly addicted. They are not self-reflective, they don’t care that ideally one enters politics to effect some good in the world. Rather, it’s all about them and their desire to hold onto their fame indefinitely, even if it means betraying the very people who support and believe in them. They are driven not by a desire to serve but by a desire to be served. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of confidence in the voting public to not give these people what they want. Sorry, I’ve gotten off on my own rant. Probably should have finished my coffee first 😉

    • 1Writeway,

      I agree…..you’re more eloquent than I….cause I would call them ‘attention whores’….

      Social Media is creating more attention whores by the minute….people use Facebook to bolster their false belief that we care about what they are doing…..

      you are right on though…..

    • I was going to call them “attention whores” too! I first heard that label a few years in an interview with Bruce Springsteen. In his fifties then, the Boss was giving a tour of long, highly energetic performances. The interviewer asked why he still did these performances, and he admitted that he loved the attention and then added that one of his sons even accused him of being an “attention whore.” Of course, in the context of the Boss, it means one thing. In the context of Anthony Weiner, it means something so much worse!

  10. Hey, love your articles.
    By the way, you didn’t mention addiction to coffee.
    Ha ha!

  11. For me, addictions are the worst kind of diversions. Diversions from doing what’s meaningful, making a difference in the world, taking the time to listen, being a better person, changing the world. Most of us do not spend our time on earth as if it’s limited.

  12. I am addicted to fresh coffee!

    • Mums, the one coffee house I go to Roasts their own coffee….and they never serve coffee beans that are more than a week or so old! Talk about fresh!

  13. Suffice it to say, as a counselor also, I whole heartedly agree with this. Would you mind if I linked to this in a re-blog?

  14. Great article. The truth is scary, but I’m a huge fan of it. Yep, I read this on my phone while drinking a diet coke after wishing my niece a happy birthday on FB. Putting phone down now and going out into the world. Thanks!

  15. This hits home for me. I’m very aware of my addictions: mostly the ones to games and my laptop. When I’m not working, I’m making the rounds between my email, facebook, and blog several times a day. I get really frustrated when I publish something new and don’t get any likes for several hours, or when nothing new is posted to my FB news feed. I just want to feel connected to someone, but most of my friends are busy with their own jobs and kids. No one has time to get together. And then, for whatever reason, I feel socially awkward in most of my interactions…I come away questioning everything that was said and done. I could read, I could work on a novel I started, I could call someone or spend more time with my son. But when I’m tired or frustrated or lonely, I always reach for the laptop. It’s just easier to zone out.

    I comfort myself with the thought that I’m not addicted to food, alcohol, sex or cigarettes like other members of my family.

  16. I am with the war on drugs, and I have taken a few hits :0) Yes I am coming up against something of a brick wall with my own and other peoples addictions at the moment. When you can see how quickly people turn in behaviour when you come up against any kind of addiction, impulsive behaviour, or deeply ingrained habits. You will find a might forcefield of ignorance, bad behaviour, and generall cold hearted hatred

  17. In Eastern thought, or Buddhism, we call this attachment and aversion instead of addiction and it is clearly recognized as the human condition and the basis of our roots of suffering. The way out of it is to become present through meditation, and in yoga we also have the 8 limb path.

    I think the problem with the addiction view in Western Culture is that we sort of have hierarchies- alcoholism, cocaine addiction, smoking = bad. TV watching, being a good “consumer of goods” may even = good (given our culture and it’s emphasis on economy). So we look down on the alcoholic or the gambling addict or the sex addict, meanwhile we chug our coffee, diet soda, eat our candy bar, go shopping, or stare at the TV or internet and feel superior. :-}

    What I like about the Eastern thought is it sort of levels it all out and creates a path or way out of this for each of us, regardless as to what we are attached or averse to.

    Also, there is a lot of work being done with psychoneuroimmunology around how we can change our brain thoughts and patterns that drive our addictions/ attachments/ aversions, while also recognizing the impact that adverse childhood events have on brain development and the propensity toward addiction/ attachment/ aversion.

    I know I am getting a little complicated here (LOL), but I love this topic and thought I would add another view.

  18. I earned a degree as Holistic Addiction Professional. Need 2,000 hour internship et al to go into practice but I am too old for that and that was not my intent anyway. Your post is insightful. If it’s not drugs, alcohol or cigarettes most deny they have addiction problems and you have illustrated these include a very wide range of behaviors.

  19. Nice one! I have to admit that I was expecting more than a conclusion, in the form of a solution, but I guess the problem is unique for every man. And realizing it is half the story. Difficult to admit, that we live in a consumer’s society and part of the problem is consuming itself. And another part of the problem is the rapid change of technology and science and how it interferes with our lives. It is changing so fast and the priorities (call it morals) don’t have time to adjust so quickly, so we feel in a loss. Church as a solution, is a very big subject, to try and analyse it here.
    Also thank you for the Leslie link!

  20. regarding “As technology increases…..psycho-social problems increase.” – amen. Social media is anything but; anti-social media is more like it, the agora of the psychotic, mass hermitage, texting at dinner, the tendency to pay more attention to the thing in your hand rather than the other human in the room, all things digital susceptible to one magnetic pulse, not much any longer analog, in the world of the real. —–Chagall

  21. Reblogged this on jissel reyes and commented:
    This is a must read article.. =)

  22. my daughter and i were driving in the car the other day and the pink song came on… in her words
    if they want the same thing why don’t they just love each other…
    although she is six i feel the same way…it goes back to the idea of giving little kids three choices because if you give them too much they go into overload… in the westernized world there are so many choices and now with the internet there is even more syntax overload
    people feel there will always be “something better”… it is part of humanity… the grass being greener somewhere else… living in social media whether it be tv, laptop, or the gadget in your hand allows you to live in your head instead of reality…. putting your life on facebook allows you to make it whatever you want so that people can think your amazing… it makes you the author of your own story… you only show snipets of what you want… and with the short phrases ets… there need not be any emotional depth 🙂
    now i am off to my tea 😉
    happy beautiful sunday

  23. A very interesting piece and probably something we all know but don’t want to face. It’s sad the way our society is going. “As technology increases…..psycho-social problems increase”…this is a very scary fact and it scares me to think of what it will be like in 10 year time. Let’s hope we can turn it around somehow. Great post 🙂

  24. Awesome!
    I’m totally addicted to the internet and my iPhone. When I first realize i’ve left my phone behind I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. Then i give my head a shake and say, it’s just a phone. 10 years ago I didn’t have one and everything was fine. Its something i am trying to break before my daughters have the same addiction.
    Also…. totally addicted to caffeine.

  25. Great post and nice little baring of your soul in your last sentence. 🙂

  26. love this post…workaholic here, a daily struggle to be doing

  27. Great post. It’s an epidemic, really. And it seems much harder to get addicted to positive things like exercise and broccoli…

  28. Great post, you make some really interesting points!

  29. This is definite truth. I’ve been out of the country many times, and I see people with nothing…and yet they’re so free! The hardest place to be a Christian is America, because we have so many distractions, so many idols. We have so many excuses, but in truth it’s just too easy for us to find our identity in things of this world rather than in Christ. I think a lot of these things we reach for, branch from a deeper reasoning, a deeper longing that we may not even understand or realize, but once we do, it starts to make more sense. Maybe from old scars and wounds and such, and we want that void filled. That and of course we’re just dumb humans that get caught up in the world too easily.
    I’ve found it’s easy to think of this and say “well I need to make war on the world, because it keeps me from the depth with Christ that I need to have.” but more and more I’m realizing it’s not the world we need to make war on. It’s simply ourselves.
    Thanks for posting on the subject, I think it’s a topic that really needs discussed!(:

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