My beef today is with over-consumption, shopping obsession, and using drugs to feel comfortable. The first two issues of consumerism over-indulgence and shopping OCD are founded in paradigms that unless one consumes and over-consumes then we can’t possibly be happy.
This paradigm is false. It is a deluded belief because of marketing and sales pitches which are made in all medias. Medias are supported by advertising and therefore consumer marketing is just that: a pitch at being more profitable and selling ‘stuff’ which we mostly can do without. Fashion marketing is aimed at brainwashing consumers to think that they need more than the basic necessity of being clothed.
The third issue of over-use of medicating substances, over the counter drugs, alcohol, pot, and other legal or illegal substances to feel comfortable in one’s skin, when alone, but mostly in public.
The social acceptance of over-medicating to feel comfortable is increasing. The move to legalize marijuana is just another indication of social mores moving towards greater acceptance of self-medicating to relieve stress and anxiety about self-identity, about self-esteem, about acceptance.
Because I come from a personal experience of chemical dependency to nicotine and alcohol I can relate to the feelings of ‘not fitting in’ and not being comfortable when in social situations, at parties, at school, at work, etc.
Part of the problem arises from the paradigm where consumption and substance use and over-medicating are accepted in society.
The focus on accumulating wealth and being workaholic to be able to afford all of one’s consumer cravings leads individuals to becoming dependent on chemical substances to cope, to celebrate, to party, to feel comfortable, to de-stress, etc.
Whatever happened to the belief that we only need to work as hard as we need to get necessities, to be free from over-consumerism and shopping addiction and OCD behaviours in accumulating ‘stuff’.
We can use the rest of our spare time in activities which nourish the soul and spirit, which contribute to building better society, assisting others through acts of goodwill and service for those who are disabled, old, incapable of mobility or communication who need assistance.
Our reliance on government agencies providing ‘home care’ to our old, sick, disabled and poor or indigent puts a heavy burden on these resources and gurarantees continued increases in taxes. Increased spending by governments on health and education means less money available for culture, libraries, and constructions which uplift the spirit and which create happiness values.
The availability of alcohol and nicotine and its being legal causes great difficulty for society to educate public on harmful consequences of these substances.
Because marijuana is illegal but prevention of use is not enforced by police makes it also a drug of choice because of its availability, even though it is labelled as illegal.
This summer I’m enjoying my 26th year of sobriety from dependence on nicotine. This means that I have abstained completely from smoking.
I consume alcohol moderately and never have the compulsion to ‘get drunk’ or to escape from social situations because I feel uncomfortable with my self-image or identity. There is a bottle of rum in the cupboard which my wife and I brought back from Cuba 18 months ago which hasn’t been opened. I admit there are times where I would like to have a rum and coke yet the compulsion is not strong enough to motivate me to open it and drink alone. Perhaps because the rum formally belongs to my wife, because she paid for most of our trip to Cuba, and I respect her too much to violate that boundary. She’s fine with our drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages when we have company over for supper yet I don’t use that ‘what if’ clause to invite people over just so we can crack open a bottle of red wine or rum. It stays in the cupboard and is aging graciously. I’ve been told that rum doesn’t age any more after 7 years, so I’ll have to keep track of time and make sure we have guests over before then. lol
I never ask myself anymore: do I fit in?, what do others think of me? Because I identify my’self’ as ‘soul’ I am free from mental and emotional encumbrances of self-esteem and self-image critical and judgmental thinking. If you believe that you are ‘body and ego’ you will continue to be entangled in the paradigm that ‘more is best’ and that ‘I never have enough’ which leads to craving, envy, greed, and suffering.
Free yourself from suffering by freeing yourself from craving.
The book which has helped me most in becoming free from craving is “Understanding our Mind” by Thich Nhat Hahn