Spiritual Enlightenment – Do Drugs Help?

addictionOccasionally, I’ll look at the dashboard of this site, and one or more of the search terms will catch my eye. Mostly, even after the awful year I’ve had, the search terms that are the most likely to drive traffic here are “three boobs”, “motorcycle gangs”, and my personal favorite, “nipple shirts”. Let’s face it. Three Boobs and Nipple Shirts are subjects that aren’t really good foundations for a serious conversation about life. It’s just appalling to me that men wear shirts that show their nipple. Ugh. “Motorcycle Gangs” is more interesting, but again, I doubt I have much to contribute to that subject anymore. But today, I found one in my little collection that made me stop and say “hmmm”. The term was this:

meth spiritual enhancement

So, to the person who typed in this awesome search term, this one’s for you.

In my quest to understand what Chef was going through, I studied everything I could find about this creepy drug. What I found out could fill up volumes, but for this discussion, I’ll boil down some things I understand about the drug that I believe should be considered directly in connection with spiritual enhancement, or any kind of enhancement, for that matter….physical, academic, cultural, etc. Enhancements when you are high are only Huge Brain Farts when you sober up again.

To my understanding, the drug affects the pleasure center of your brain. This magnificent computer we carry around inside of our skulls works like a file cabinet, storing and categorizing things constantly. If a memory makes you happy, it tends to store that memory close by for future reference. If some memory makes you sad, it cleans up that cluttered file up, and safely keeps moving it back into the recesses of your brain. It’s the same for things that give us pleasure. It’s stored safely with reach. That being said, I do wonder if people actually stop and really examine what we each have stored there. If singing show-tunes on top of your roof in your birthday suit for the entire world to see is something that you derive real pleasure from, chances are this drug will enhance that desire in you, and your filter which considers consequences of such an action will be bypassed. You’ll dance, sing and traumatize the neighbors to your heart’s content, and you’ll feel good about it… “I finally get to be me!” you’ll be assuring yourself. Until your filter comes back to life again when you sober up, and you’re in jail for public nudity holding an eviction notice in your hand, and the creepy cat lady down the street is suddenly in love with you has baked you a cake with a shank in it. Suddenly, the problems you were trying to escape from in the first place don’t seem as bad as the ones you’ve just created during your “mental vacation”.

See how that works? If God, spirituality, religion, or some such thing is something you get pleasure from, you bet your booties, it’ll come up when you are high. I know, because when I used this drug, God was foremost in my thoughts and actions. And yet, even in my intoxicated state, while I felt like God appreciates all the publicity He can get, my conscience kicked in at the same time, imploring me to wait until I was sober before launching into whatever ridiculous thing I was poised to do for Him, like what I’d learned about Him while I was high. I’m pretty sure He’s grateful I didn’t try to “help” the cause during those moments.

It is my opinion that most people, especially men, tend to have sex in their pleasure centers, and women love. Meth is considered a sex enhancement drug, but it didn’t work that way for me at all. Because of my complicated relationship with sex, it didn’t actually take up residence in the pleasure center of my brain; but love did. As long as Chef made me feel like he loved me…high or not…I was on board with the sex thing. But if he didn’t, he was on his own. Meth is a very selfish drug. Right there, you can almost see why this crappy drug ruins marriages. One person wants to feel loved; the other wants pure, animal sex. And for most people, there is the ability to love someone without having sex with them, and to have sex with someone you don’t love. Hence, breakdowns occur.

I’d always be very careful about anything that you “learn” on meth, or any drug. Without that consequence filter, we are susceptible to accepting lies, and turning them into truths in our own minds, which invariably leads to being slapped on the side of the head with our “Oh-Crap!-What-Have-I-Done” brain-gag reflex instead. Can you learn spiritual truths when you’re high? Sure. You can probably learn anything on dope if it’s important enough to you.

Once upon a time, God made a donkey talk but just because you see Donkey jabbering at you while you’re high, it doesn’t mean you actually a) saw a donkey physically speaking to you or that you’re a character on the next Shrek, or that b) all donkeys secretly know how to talk and are laughing silently at us clueless humans, or even that c)  God had something special to tell you from this lively donkey. It just means you burned your brain a tad too much, and you’ve hallucinated a donkey sing a Tina Turner song  to you.

Render that little nugget of experience to the mental trash can it probably deserves to be in. If it was so important that God get a message to you that He’d use a donkey  or even more unbelievable, a Tina Turner song, He’d have probably waited until you were sober and there could be no question it was a miracle of God instead a miracle of Dope. We all look for reasons to excuse something we’re doing that we know we are wrong to do, by finding something positive enough to justify it to others, and mainly ourselves. I’ve found that the “I’m spiritually awakened” excuse is pretty common amongst those of us that tend to like to have a little chemical uplifting from time to time, and frankly, it’s a pathetic one.  Here’s life choices in a nutshell — you don’t owe anyone a reason or excuse for what you do or want to do; but by the same token, you’re the one stuck with the consequences, so don’t be surprised when you’re eating a bucket-full of guilt, shame, and general self-loathing. Own your crap, pay your dues, learn from it, and start a blog or something. Most importantly, forgive yourself and move on.  Don’t waste a whole lot of time on coming up with an acceptable reason or excuse that people will buy. Nobody really cares about that but you anyways.

I’ll leave you guys with one more observation that I’m pretty sure everyone can identify with. By a show of hands, how many of us know at least one old hippie-wanna-be who’s burned out his/her brain so much, we roll our eyes when they head down Enlightenment Lane?

Yeah.

Don’t be that person. Find your enlightenment and spirituality with a full set of brain cells working. That way, you’ll be prepared to defend your opinions and views, and not have people rolling their eyes as you walk away, telling their little children to stay away from you because you think you’re Shrek or something.

I’m just saying…

People from the Palace Beautiful

AustinSkylineLouNeffPoint-2010-03-29-bThis week I moved into my apartment! I officially live in Austin, Texas!

Of course, none of this would have been possible without my friend, Exodus. I’m both thankful to the Lord as well as for her faithfulness to Him too. She reminds me of the part of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan where Christian finally gets to rest in the Palace Beautiful.

“Atop the Hill of Difficulty, Christian makes his first stop for the night at the House of the Palace Beautiful, which is a place built by God for the refresh of pilgrims and godly travelers. Christian spends three days here, and leaves clothed with the Armor of God (Eph. 6:11–18),[14] which stands him in good stead in his battle against the demonic dragon-like Apollyon, (the lord and god of the City of Destruction) in the Valley of Humiliation.”  (ref. Wikipedia)

I’ll admit. I’ve gotten pretty used to things going south on me. Since Chef and I split up, I’ve encountered a million financial problems along this 3 year stretch. Broken-down cars, dangerous neighborhoods, and lower than median wages, which is the norm for most women. When the income was a dual one, that wasn’t a problem. But supporting myself alone has made me really take notice of the glaring differences in what women earn for doing the same job a man does. We’ve come a long way, but we still have further to go. So, when a problem presents itself these days, I immediately assume it will be almost insurmountable, and the solution will suck almost as bad as the problem.

Yeah. I’m full of sunshine and rainbows. I know. Life has just kicked me down enough to make me wary of it.

When things went wrong in Red Rock, I found myself literally adrift. Yes. My aunt and father would never let me be homeless; but somehow, that was just as bad. Being separated from how-to-wait-upon-the-lord-for-your-breakthrough-3-638my pets, squeezed into an already full home, and interrupting a very peaceful, positive atmosphere was just not something I really felt I could do. For about a day, I considered returning to Tulsa, to Chef, who has his own home, and is generous enough to allow me to stay there with him if I ever should need to. But, as Exodus pointed out, I hadn’t really given Austin much of a chance. I’ve only been here two and a half months. So, with her help, we set about finding me an affordable home that would allow me to keep Sparrow and Oliver. Most places here are very dog friendly, but mastiffs are on the lists of breeds not accepted in most apartments. Plus, remember when I left the ghetto apartment that first year Chef and I split up? Well, that broken lease was causing me problems too. In Tulsa, it didn’t matter. All you had to say was it was in the 6 – 1, on Peoria, and landlords would just nod knowingly and move on. Here, they have no idea how dangerous that neighborhood is. On paper, I just looked irresponsible.

I got rejected by the first place I applied. I intentionally picked one in a bad neighborhood, mainly because it was cheaper than everywhere else. When I got rejected, I was borderline depressed. If the Austin ghetto won’t have me, who will? For several days, I used breathing exercises to calm panic attacks, plus Exodus talked me off the ledge practically daily. However, when I found the apartment I’m in now, I had a feeling I was going to get in. It is much nicer than the first one, located 4 miles from work, and I could keep Oliver. I explained the broken lease, and the importance of using my middle name for the background check — (there’s a Catherine Irene Martin lighting the world on fire in Oklahoma), and paid the non-refundable fees. I, then, set back to wait the excruciating 4 days expected for a decision. You can imagine my gratitude and relief when I was called a whole day early to say I was approved. Yes, guys. The Lord had mercy on me.

I’ve spent two nights there now. Thanks to Exodus, Rebekkah, Dad and some of my friends at work, I have amassed a small amount of necessities to really make the place feel like my home. Today, I get some furniture!!

Getting in is only part of the journey. Now I need to maintain it and rebuild my bad credit; but the joy I feel is just amazing. I don’t remember the last time I’ve slept so peacefully. I just don’t.

How do you genuinely say thank you, both to the Lord and to those who sacrificed their hard-earned money and time to give a financially strapped person like me something as big as a home? I don’t really know. The words seem so cheap in comparison, and a card seems even worse. I’ll figure something out, but whatever it is, it won’t compare. I’ve spent some time with people from the Palace Beautiful, and feel refreshed and strengthened again!

~ Bird

Psalms 30:10-12

“Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
 That my [d]soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever”