Parked in my Fiat Bravo at 3AM, I found myself breaking off more white rocks for my crack pipe. I was high, paranoid, and losing the plot. I had not slept in days and my mistrustful thoughts obsessed about the people, police, and enemies that were out to get me. Each hit sent me deeper into a dark and cruel world and each delusional thought sent shudders of panic down my spine . . . the drugs had me hostage.Wake the F#ck Up by Brett Moran
It’s a common story…
I have a friend who drinks too much. I want to shake her by the shoulders and shout at her that she is losing huge parts of her life because her alcohol sated brain cannot take in all that is happening. Other friends never drink a drop, yet they handicap themselves with other addictions and brain hobbles which put them behind the 8 ball and leave them incapable of dealing with many of their most important challenges.
Addictions, bad habits, a chain of bad choices stretching back through time, a history of guilt or shame that is covered over with such a thick layer of protection that we cannot touch or feel our lives… the list of the glitches, kludges, and dysfunctions in our lives is almost endless.
If you think all of this does not apply to you, then no — that word does not mean what you think it means. It is not a river in Egypt.
But there may be hope on the horizon. I am assuming that most of you have already chosen not to be surgically lobotomized, have half your brain removed, or to receive electroconvulsive therapy. And to most, meditation probably sounds like too much work. Here’s something new: just wear these ear buds!
They look like regular earbuds, but these headphones don’t play music, or produce any kind of sound. Instead, they produce electrical fields designed to treat disease.
By delivering electrical pulses to a nerve in the outer ear, the device hacks into neural circuits in the brain… Nēsos’s device taps into the power of the vagus nerve: the meandering superhighway of the nervous system that connects the brain to key organs in the body. This nerve has been the subject of a wide range of research. Scientists have tried modulating it to treat all sorts of maladies, including migraine, stroke, heart failure, depression, and inflammatory problems such as Crohn’s disease, with varying degrees of success.Source
This approach is called neuromodulation, and is often carried out using deep brain electrode implants.
But who would go through invasive neurosurgery for a deep brain implant when tiny safe non-invasive ear buds might do the job?
But seriously folks. Do you really think that stopping your migraines, smoothing your depressed moods, or taking the edge off your obsessive-compulsive behavior tics is going to give your life the meaning and purpose you dreamed of as a child? Or consider the poor alcoholic, crack addict, or compulsive gambler. Moderating such behaviors might go a long way toward keeping the bill collectors and mob enforcers from your door, but without those compulsions, what will give your life structure and meaning?
It is easy to blame outside influences for your problems — the alcohol, the crack, the gambling, the OCD, the massage parlor down the street. But there was a reason why you fell into that pit to begin with. Something important was missing and you tried to stop the gap with things that only made it worse.
If you ask different people what that “something missing” was, you will get a wide array of different answers.
I have often thought of Jordan Peterson over the past couple of years. He seemed like such a solid citizen — a professor who stood alone against academic conformity, a successful clinician and entrepreneur, an author/thinker/public speaker who shook the world. And yet he fell on his face — and almost died — because he could not control his dependency on a doctor-prescribed minor tranquilizer pill.
Sure, his wife almost died, and that would get most anybody down — especially since at the same time most of the media and pseudo-intelligentsia of the world were praying for him to drop dead because he was an inconvenient beacon of light contradicting their message of groupthink conformist dogma.
Yet Jordan Peterson had been fighting the odds all along, all the way from his childhood on the lonely prairie of Alberta up to the pinnacle of public intellectual life on the international stage. What was he missing inside himself that made him fall down and almost die?
It doesn’t matter here. I won’t present my thoughts on the matter, because I want to see Dr. Peterson work it out himself. The thing is common in many self-made men, and it is a weakness that leaves them quite vulnerable to unanticipated shocks from unexpected directions.
The point is that in everyone who gives in to self-destructive habits and behaviors, it is not the habit itself that is at primary fault — it is something else that is hidden inside the person himself that is hinted at by the compulsive behaviors.
As we have said many times here, when you want to stop a bad habit, you have to replace it with a different habit that is not as bad — or preferably with one that is good. Even then, you may not be solving the “problem.” But you will be mitigating the overall situation and will be making possible a great deal of good living in the meantime.