2014 was another tumultuous year. Within a few urban zones, tensions between police and citizens have again exploded into violence. Our troops are still abroad after being deployed to fight in Afghanistan 13 years ago and in Iraq 11 years ago. Now those old enemies have somehow evolved into an amorphous “State” that threatens the peace.
Losing an Icon
We lost one of our great entertainers when Robin Williams departed. As a note, the media reported, after toxicology reports came back, that Robin had no drugs in his system. This was false. He was using mirtazapine (Remeron), an antidepressant with 10 regulatory agency warnings citing suicidal ideation as a side effect.
Additionally, his bottle of Seroquel (quetiapine) was also missing 8 tablets, indicating he had likely used the drug some time recently before he died. Seroquel is a powerful antipsychotic whose side effects include psychosis, paranoid reactions, delusions, depersonalization and suicide attempt. These facts point to the harmful effects and withdrawal symptoms of psychotropic drugs.
None of this got airtime in the “mainstream” media, presumably because roughly 90% of the media is owned by corporations enmeshed in multi-billion dollar advertising deals with pharmaceutical companies.
None of this changes the fact that Robin Williams was a national treasure who gave us a heady mix of laughter and drama for decades and will continue to do so from here on out.
Meanwhile, 300 Million Miles Away
On a positive note in 2014, the Rosetta space mission got its lander to successfully touch down over 300 million miles away, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, onto the surface of a comet careening through space at over 40,000 miles per hour. At that distance, communication traveling at the speed of light between Earth and the craft took half an hour, thus the entire descent was pre-calculated, uploaded and run automatically.
Whether you identify yourself as a space buff or not, the feat was an impressive display of science and ingenuity meets dedication and teamwork (with the help of $1.58 billion).
The Advance of Science
Back on Earth, we also witnessed genuine medical miracles with prototype robotic (“cybernetic”) limbs enabling amputees to pick up objects and move them around using their brain and willpower. While the Terminator may be quite a ways off, these breakthroughs are promising new developments for our returned vets, children and others with missing limbs.
So while the pseudo-scientific and for-profit psychotropic drugging branches of Big Pharma continue to outrage the well-informed, real medical science is doing its job and working to make life better for those struggling with disabilities.
Obstacles to Prosperity
But no matter what is going on in the world, for the most part people are concerned about their personal lives, immediate family and close friends. This is only natural considering the obstacles we face on a daily basis – obstacles to just getting by and being happy.
But the road is especially rocky when one is burdened with a drug or alcohol problem. Life is rough enough, but when complicated by abuse of drugs and booze, it can get downright unlivable. Whether you’ve managed to quit or not, I always recommend contacting one of our addiction specialists so you get some options. But regardless, 2015 should be a year where you remain free from the ravages of substance abuse, but on that same token it should be a year of prosperity, productivity and joy. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Goals for the New Year
Many base their New Year’s resolutions on what they want to quit doing and what they’d like to be doing instead. “I will quit smoking, I will exercise more and I will eat better” is pretty common. And while all those things are valuable, another approach is to decide what you intend to do within the next year. In other words, you give it a finite time frame of twelve months and work out what you will get done within that chronological parameter. But you can and should break it down further, as in what you must accomplish in January to forward your goals for the year.
Work this forward and backward and the process should prove enlightening and put things in proper perspective. On one hand it may be a rather sobering experience because you’ll realize all the things you didn’t do last year. But it will also boil down to doable steps that aren’t overly formidable.
What does this have to do with sobriety? Factually, it has everything to do with it. It has to do with having a purpose in life and a reason for living. Working toward a goal and making tangible progress equates to an inner sense of self-worth and an expanding outlook on existence.
Switched On and Tuned Out
Why do so many people fail to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions? One simple explanation is that they lack sufficient self-discipline. They say they’ll exercise every day but they just don’t do it. They watch “The Voice” or “The Vampire Diaries” or “The Walking Dead” or whatever instead. I’m not on a roll against television, but I am on a roll about you reaching your goals.
You could always make the bold move of removing your TV. But in lieu of that, you could lay some ground rules such as “Don’t turn on the TV before 9:00PM” or “Only watch the two or three shows I am genuinely interested in and don’t channel surf for hours” or “Limit TV consumption to one or two hours per day maximum.” Something like that may be just the thing to get you in gear. You could also read books instead.
The interconnected digitally-enhanced world in which we live, while being a marvel of instantaneous communication, has been progressively built up to distract you and suck your attention. Personally, I suspect that the “news” largely exists to distract you from issues that are truly important. While the media may cover some important subjects, it also blows them up and keeps hitting you with the same messages and images over and over again.
The “News” You Don’t Need
As an exercise, don’t watch the news or only watch very little. Also steer clear of all the internet nastiness that people get obsessed with. After a little while, see if you feel any better. You can also check sometimes to see if there is anything potentially important that is being utterly ignored by the mainstream media. You may find this rather enlightening.
If you are stressed out or in a state of depression, desperation or anxiety, step back for a moment and see if you aren’t possibly being inundated with bad news. Ask yourself if you really need to be hit 24/7 with upsetting material. If something bad happened and you feel you must know about it, you could read about it once instead of hearing about it again and again and again. You’re almost certainly getting a twisted version of it anyway, so is that really doing you any good?
It’s almost as if the vast array of mass communication channels are trying to upset you so that you feel you might need to alter your brain chemicals, and then you’re hit with advertising that says you need heavy drugs that alter brain chemistry. Wait a minute! That sounds like something that might be done if the media and drug companies had an arrangement of mutual cooperation so they could make a ton of cash. But all of that sounds just a little too diabolical to even be true…or does it? Last I checked there was no shortage of diabolical plans hatched by men with less-than-noble intentions.
But fortunately the vast majority of people are well-intentioned, want to get along better in life, and want to see others prosper as well.
A Positive Example
Focus on imbuing the world around you with goodness and positivity. You taking care of yourself, raising a family, building a business, chasing a career, engaging in creativity, helping others, making your community and the world at large a better place – these are the types of things that really matter.
You can set a positive example of sobriety and prosperity and have a great time doing it. Let 2015 be your year to do great things. Over to you!