Getting there

Getting there

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Free Hugs

I recently saw a video that resonated deeply with me, and although I needed some time to mull it over I knew I wanted to share it with you, dear friends. I saw the video at what may seem to be an unusual place to find it - a drug awareness presentation given by a law enforcement officer. Now, this video may seem to have little to do with drugs but it truly has everything to do with all forms of substance abuse - because it's about connecting with each other.

I strongly suspect that lack of connectedness leads to all sorts of societal woes, from depression and violence to drug and alcohol abuse. When an individual feels alone, forgotten, or rejected it is so very easy to fall into the abyss of addiction as it provides comfort - the kind of comfort that we, as a species, also find in each other. When we are lacking that comfort - from friends or family - we then may seek it out in other ways, giving rise to drug and alcohol abuse issues. When we make those connections, though, our interest in drug and alcohol consumption may wane because we know we are loved. We know we are cared for. We know we have a place in this world, and people who care about us.

I imagine most of us have known people who have drug and/or alcohol addictions. I know I have. The one thing many of them seemed to have, too, was a sense that no one cared about them, and they lacked the feeling of "connection" that we all desire. Humans are not solitary creatures - we are pack animals, designed to live in families and groups. When we are alone - or, when we feel we are alone - we then can become susceptible to things like addictions. When we feel connected we are happy - and less likely to seek out happiness in bottles, pill vials, or pipes. Even the very briefest of connections, just moments like in this video, can change our sense of connection to the people who share this planet with us.

I realize this is a simplistic view of addiction, and that it is far more complex. I also realize that there are addicts surrounded by loving families who struggle to find ways to help them - but I also can't help but feel that our lack of connectedness (despite this world with all it's faux-connectedness of Twitter and Facebook) contributes to these problems.

The drug awareness presentation opened my eyes in other ways, dear friends. It was given by a long-term law enforcement individual who took all my preconceived notions and beliefs about police professionals and blew them completely out of the water. I suppose I had this vision in my head of the police as individuals who thought they had all the answers, who looked at this sort of "connectedness" with suspicion and disdain, and who were not thoughtful or introspective in the least. Instead I found someone who has challenged that every belief and stereotype, and who has taught me once again to look beyond a label like "police officer" and see the person behind it. And there again is that need to connect, dear friends - in this case a need to connect with someone who can take those things we believe to be true and show us that perhaps we were misguided (or, in my case, clueless) and need to re-evaluate. I am a "connected" individual - I have family and friends I adore - and yet there is always space in my life to connect with someone new, to learn and to grow, and to see further and deeper. Perhaps this is why this video resonated with me on so many levels. Perhaps it's because it reminded me that I too need to stay open to this sort of connection. Perhaps we all do.

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