Medications are good, I am most defiantly among those who appreciate science and take meds when I believe it is a helpful strategy. Heavy narcotics are prescribed, and mostly useful, in certain situations, most are meant to be used in something of a bodily crisis and used only for a short time.
For example, I had a friend who had a surgery and post operation he was given some very potent narcotics to take and then ween himself off of over a period of time (let’s say two weeks, but I don’t remember). One day during the first week he was watching the news with his wife and they saw that a major drug bust had happened at the Canada-USA border, like historically big numbers…the drugs? The ones he was on but meant for illegal sales. A careful, responsible man, a husband, father and grandfather, he turned to his wife and said he thought perhaps he had already had enough of the narcotic and would rather handle the pain in other ways as he recovered, smartly fearing the long term pain that may come from finishing his prescription and finding himself hooked.
There is an evening practice that many Christians do called the examen. Part of the practice is to review the day. I wonder how often we review the day rather than watch netflix/drink wine/fight on Facebook, watch the news, and the like. No judgement I am human too and binge watch more than examen. I have been thinking about the examen on a broader time scale because this pandemic is just hanging on and I cannot help but ask myself in what ways have I been self-medicating my way through the pandemic?
I have my own answers to that, I will keep them to myself.
I am writing to prod you into thinking about your answer and whether or not the patterns are ones that lead to health and flourishing or do they suggest a darker, maybe even more sinister, outcome? It is normal to medicate, and it is good to do so for a while, but as we come upon the two year mark of the pandemic (feels like 3 right???) We all might do well to ask ourselves how we have been handling it and if it might be time to face the pain and fade out the narcotics/coping strategies that don’t lead us where we want to go.
For some this might mean literal drug use like narcotics and alcohol, or lower lying drugs like sugar-fat-carbs in perfectly packaged delectable treats. For others it might be a certain lack of patience with family, or a lack of service towards others where there used to be more love and generosity of spirit and time. Maybe it is hours in front of Netflix…Like I said, we all have our things, I can only vaguely guess at them.
I know that when I do this it makes me want to pull my socks up (not just because it is cold and snowy outside:)
I know Jesus and so I know I am loved and live in grace and freedom, at the same time I want to know him more and to live in ever greater freedom and help others to as well, and I know I cannot do that if I am enslaved in some way to anything other than him. I believe now is a good time for reflection because the longest darkness night are over (both for the winter and—here’s hoping—for the pandemic) and it is not too late to recalibrate and get on the track we want to be on, even if we had to leave it for a while.
Spring is just around the corner.