Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Greatest Love Of All

I have taken a small break from writing. I have been dealing with a few things in real life-- playing problem solver for myself in the crazy winter of Chicago. I sat by when a few monumental things happened, writing in my personal journal, but abstaining from posting my thoughts here for you all to read while I was on my self imposed hiatus. But, the hiatus is over because there are a few statements I need to make that would serve no one if left to my private journal.

Facebook and Twitter are great tools for connecting and social media. There are days that go by when I wonder what I would do without them. Then there are days like yesterday- when social media allows people to express the thoughts that would be better left unsaid. I think I put up on both Twitter and Facebook that "I might be bitter, but some of y'all are heartless..." and I meant it. The comments that came across my iPhone when Whitney Houston died were just so... pathetic and attention seeking. Here's the deal: we all have a m.o. (modus operandi), right? My m.o. (the way I operate) is to point out the every day things that go on around me, throw in my two cents and move on to the next opportunity to comment. It just so happens that a lot of the things that bother me, bother others, so they agree with my assessments. There are, however, limitations to my critiques. I routinely choose not to comment on some aspects of people's lives because of some of my friends are going through the same thing, or because whatever it is they are going through does not need to be worsened by some snide comment that I come up with. With the revelation of Whitney Houston's passing yesterday, some people forgot to exercise their filters. So, here is the Hot, Black and Bitter reminder that you should not share everything you THINK in voice, text or video.

In 2010, it was estimated that 25 million Americans suffered with substance abuse. 25 million directly affected; upwards of 40 million were indirectly affected (think family members and loved ones). Nearly 55 million people in this country suffer from at least one addiction. Fifty- five million. Just to be able to provide some perspective, the city of Chicago (not the metro area, just the city) houses about 2.7 million people and is considered the third most populous city in the country (behind NYC- 8.1 million and LA- 3.8 million). If you add up the populations of all three cities it only equals 14.6 million-- a very large number, that would almost have to be quadrupled to account for all those suffering from addiction in the United States. I point this out to say, with a number that large, we all know someone who is suffering with some sort of addiction. We have all been close to a situation where bad choices were made, people were hurt, responsibilities were skipped, relationships fell by the wayside.

To make this personal- I have seen addiction in a person that I love. The transformation was swift and heartbreaking. I believe that if given the chance, he would not have put himself or his loved ones through this all encompassing, bumpy ride. I would venture to say that NO ONE wants to have something/someone that they just can NOT say no to. Something that controls their time management, their happiness, their money, their... life. No one wakes up and thinks "you know, I would really love to alienate the people that have always loved and supported me, so let me overindulge in this activity/drug/alcohol/sex/obsession." Since there is a high probability that we all know someone, dated someone, loved someone with at least one addiction, the comments that I read last night about Whitney Houston's stunning death seriously blew my mind.

In the early hours after anyone dies, speculation runs ramped over what happened, who did it and what will happen now. People look closely at the days prior trying to make their minds understand the loss they are suffering... and the dissenters make their appearance. Those that comment about drug use, drug abuse, loose morals, sexual proclivities and the like. People begin to take joy in the fact that the newly departed's life was somewhere lower than their current station in life. People like that. They get off on it. They shout louder and louder on social media so that others can see how "great" they are; what a great example they are; how we should all strive to be like them. It is pathetic. Yesterday, the music world lost a legend. I am sorry if people refuse to see that. In the wake of her death (the cause of which has yet to be determined) let me posit that maybe we should use this time to think about who we know who would benefit from our help, instead of our judgment. Maybe we should use this as a starting point for grasping the fact that the things we complain about DAILY are relatively small in comparison to fighting an addiction. Maybe, just maybe, this tragedy will awake someone to the fact that they have a problem or cause another to begin a non-profit that will help those struggling with addiction.

To those who find it necessary to slam dead people, I have a couple thoughts. 1- get a life. If you have to degrade those who can no longer defend themselves, clearly your intelligence (and power of persuasion) is questionable. 2- find a heart in your empty chest, I mean, really it is possible that Whitney Houston had thick enough skin to disregard her haters, but can the same be said about her daughter? Her mother? Her extended family? Could you give them a little grieving time? Finally, 3- when I was in college a wise friend once told me that guys with the smallest dicks acted like the biggest dicks... If you are acting like such a huge dick, what is small in your life? We all have problems that we don't want others to see. Shouting about someone else's problems will never make yours go away. Show some compassion, because when your time comes, it is what you will wish people will show to your family.


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