Archive for addiction

The 15% Solution – Part Deux

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2010 by dredslack

After the applause stopped, Simon sat down and readjusted his cam. “I agree with you,” I said, “it’s unfair to criminalize some people for the supposed good of the whole but I think your story misses a bigger picture; the fact that so many people equate drug & alcohol use with a BIG life, one that’s fully lived and experienced … and that’s just not true, it’s a myth, a romantic rock-n-roll excess ideation.”

“Go on” Simon said as he put his elbows on his desk, looking a bit spent from his theatrical diatribe. “Well I think its crap that so many people equate drugging and excitement when for most, it usually ends up being quite a bore. If it works fine but if it doesn’t, big deal. One of my clients was a bank robbing, don’t care if I die heroin addict, who had a miserable existence; he cleaned up, went back to school, got his degree and became a drugs counselor. He also took up competitive running, got into a relationship and created a great life. Who’s to say his life isn’t as good if not better than the client you we’re just on about? Who’s to say anyone who doesn’t use for whatever reason has less of a life? Perhaps the brains of the 85% who ‘can’t’ see and feel things more brightly than the 15% who ‘can’ because of some sort of perceptual or experiential sensitivity?”

His face looming large on the screen Simon scowled and said, “I don’t buy that ‘living large’ baloney either, I was simply saying dear Mr. Richards is not an isolated case. My client’s situation is also a small example of a much bigger issue; how the variety of abilities and capacities inherent in human beings is not respected. Sociologists speculate that we stopped being nomadic hunters and gatherers and became community based farmers so we could ferment beer. It seems pretty clear that most everyone wants to change their state of consciousness now and again, so it’s really a matter of how far it’s good to go, for each individual. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there’s a huge range in what can logically be considered ‘appropriate behavior’. If someone’s not hurting themselves or others and isn’t doing any sort of damage, who cares what they get up to? Hopefully, one of the next steps in our evolution perspective-wise, is to realize that and stop trying to have a ‘one size fits all’ society.”

“But what about the children” I chided, “won’t anyone think of the children?”

“I know you’re trying to be funny” he said, “but you’ve actually hit the nail on the head. Our desire to protect our kids and create a safe world for them is probably the biggest motivation for creating so many limits and so much ‘one size fits all’ thinking. This creates many problems and the drugs issue is a relatively small one. For example the laws prohibiting gay marriage or the type of sex consenting partners can have are completely irrational, that’s no one else’s business but the people involved. We’re an over mothered society choking on the fear based rules of people who think they ‘know best’ but who really can’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground. Resultantly, many people are unhappy and restricted because they go along with this normative charade. They won’t face the necessary risks to build a life that’s authentically theirs because that would be out of bounds. Then ‘surprise, surprise’ they end up depressed, self-stuck in crap lives.”

“Sounds about right” I said, smiling as I looked through my desk drawer for a Reese’s peanut butter cup, “but you know what? Look on the bright side; you won’t be going out of business anytime soon will you?”

Simon chuckled, “well I guess there is that. I gotta get to my one o’clock. Next week?”

“You got it. Say ‘Hi’ to Sharon for me”.

Eureka! I found one.

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The Subtle Music of Manipulative People

Posted in continued learning, enjoyable living, relationships, staying alive, trust, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by dredslack

 Each of us has a particular style of speaking. Not just our language, accent and word choice but our tones, tone emphasis, cadence and dynamic (volume & intensity) range. If we listen for all these factors when trying to understand another’s statements the communication becomes more than simple text, it becomes a music with rhythms, melodies and time signatures (cadence and speed). 

 People who would manipulate us have a particular type of music in their language that if we discern, we can see as a warning flag and possibly avoid a painful consequence. Most manipulators first work to gain their victims trust so they can exert influence over their decisions and choices. To get their potential victim to feel ‘in sync’ with them (and thus liable to trust) they will not only mimic tastes, values and perspectives but also facets of speech such as cadence or dynamic range, etc. If the manipulator sounds like the person they’re working on, they’re more likely to be trusted by the person unaware. 

 For those of us who are aware, we have the opportunity not only to just observe but to throw out ‘false positives’ and see if they reveal a snaky ‘tell’ by being followed. For example if we exhibit a strong interest in animal welfare and our possibly manipulative person also ‘reveals’ a similar interest, a ‘building trust by matching’ dynamic may be afoot. Similarly, if we use hesitations (pausing for a second or two in the middle of a sentence) or make our main points with a staccato (sharp, almost jarring) style and we notice a bit of those unusual traits cropping up in a possible manipulator’s language, a subtle yet potentially destructive person may be showing themselves. Particularly if the effect is predominate. Snakes like to work quickly and will sometimes ‘ham it up’ in an attempt to speed the trust process. Thankfully that just makes them easier to see. 

 I worked ‘in house’ helping drug addicts overcome their addictions for years, and that afforded me the opportunity to see this effect over and over again. During the early part of their stay many patients would desperately argue that they needed this or that medication for a plethora of rationale (drug seeking behavior). Their perspectives and vocal music would shift to match mine (and the other councilors) at an almost unbelievable pace while they were trying to get what they wanted. The psychopathy temporarily caused by their withdrawal / addiction provided a resplendent example of why it’s important to listen to the music. Whether it’s subtle or screaming, it has a lot to say.

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