Date Tags help

Many of us had a hard time getting rid of this dependence. Some never did. As for me, I waddled along for the first three or four weeks rather confused and sometimes indifferent. Later I began reading and thinking about this and that in therapy. Instead, look for strategies to manage your stress when the storms hit. And show some self-compassion. CRIMINAL JUSTICE If we wanted to design a system that would worsen problematic behaviors like addiction, we couldn't have come up with anything better than the US criminal justice system. We've tried punishing and criminalizing for hundreds of years. Crime hasn't ended, and now we've got the highest prison population per capita in the world. Nor is shaming people an effective response. If negative consequences or stigma stopped addiction, there wouldn't be addicts. Racist drug policies are devastating. Communities of Color are unjustly targeted and then funneled through a discriminatory mass incarceration system that irreversibly destroys lives. Not Always: She's really under the gun these days. Since people don't tend to suddenly shift from caring to uncaring, the former has a more permanent feel about it, while the words these days hint at a temporary cause. Scenario #2: You and your teenage daughter have been arguing more lately. Always: Teenagers like to argue. Not Always: She's in the middle of final exams and feeling stressed out. The first sounds like an unchangeable rule: you have to simply accept the nature of teenagers until they grow out of it.

The second is temporary: once exams end, the arguments will abate. Scenario #3: Your marriage has lost physical intimacy. Always: Intimacy has a shelf life. After a certain number of years, it's over. I read what I wanted. I found myself digging for understanding. I felt no pressure from you or the class. I read for myself. I learned for myself. I was satisfied with myself but never became smug about it. I came to class to see what I could glean from the free exchange of ideas; I verbalized my own when I felt I could and listened to others struggle with the issues in therapy. I felt I was really in it. The hour grew shorter each week. People of Color convicted of drug possession are often given disproportionately harsh sentences. When released, having a criminal record prevents them from getting the jobs and housing they need to reestablish their lives. To add further insult to injury, those with criminal records are denied the right to vote, robbing them of the opportunity to express how society has failed them and distracting us from addressing how society should and can correct these injustices. A war on drugs means we are punishing people for being traumatized and abused. What is really needed to address addiction is to remove the barriers between people and connection. I'd rather conceptualize a society that is more compassionate and equitable, where instead of incarceration we helped people find reasons to live, like meaningful work and livable wages.

This would remove the need for drugs or damaging behaviors to escape or to get that dopamine surge. When crimes are committed, a system of restorative justice can help us repair the harm and build community (more on this later). I'd always subscribed generally to the idea that white people have it easier under our economy and our laws. But it turned out I had to travel--away from home and out of my comfort zone--to learn it in a personal way. Not Always: We've both been distracted and tired lately. Again, the first is permanent: intimacy just ends. In the second, the word lately suggests a temporary state. You can see how an Always explanatory style can get in the way of your ability to problem-solve and cause you a great deal of stress in the process. If you settle on an Always cause, you're saying, in essence, that the problem doesn't have a solution. This can lead to some pretty damaging feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Dimmed sparks in the bedroom can be reignited with a little effort and creativity; A friendship that isn't going well you can work on, but a flawed ability to get along with anyone and everyone is pretty pervasive. What's your default? Are you more of an Always or Not Always? I found myself wrestling with the ideas discussed in our class and consequently missing many essential notes in the 9:30 class. Classes should not run together like that. I believe a lot of effective learning is lost by not having time immediately after class to think over the material discussed. I felt completely free in this course. I could come or not. I could come in late and leave early.

I could talk or be silent. I got to know a number of the students rather well. I was treated like a mature adult. I felt no pressure from you. While getting to know Atlanta for the first time, I met a Black man about my age. Like me, he was visiting Atlanta. Unlike me, however, he was returning after a twenty-five-year absence to a city he'd known well, having grown up there. We bonded, reminiscing about our teens and early twenties. We found a lot of common ground and shared experiences, including, for example, our drug abuse and shameful behavior while under the influence in our younger years. In the intervening years, I built my career. Where had he been for the last twenty-five years? For doing the same crap I had done. The difference between our adult lives, even though we'd been making the same choices, hit me hard. As a white person living in predominantly white suburbs, I was far less likely to get busted for doing drugs and other illegal activities than a Black man in an economically depressed neighborhood. EVERYTHING VS. NOT EVERYTHING When you get hit by adversity, do you tend to focus on that specific problem or look for causes that spill into other dimensions and domains of your life? Scenario #1: One of your friends hasn't called you back. Everything: I'm not good with people. Not Everything: I don't handle this friendship well.

Scenario #2: You and your teenage daughter have been arguing more lately. Everything: She's impossible. Not Everything: She can't handle criticism well. You'll notice that in the Everything scenarios, there's a character judgment involved--of yourself or of someone else. I didn't have to please you; I didn't have to believe you. It was all up to me. I went at my own pace and surprised myself. I never did as much reading for any single course as I did for your course, and besides that I believe it was the most meaningful and effective reading I have done. I also believe that this emerging confidence in myself carried over into other studies. My wife has noticed my new attitude toward study and my lively interest in my work. We are both happy about it. Note that it is the freedom from pressure, the acceptance of his silence or talking, the fact that it is all up to me, which seems to have had the greatest effect upon this student. The work of Anderson (8) has shown that classroom climate or atmosphere can be objectively measured at the elementary school level. As a result, I was able to build a career and use my gifts. He was deprived of that same opportunity. Making the same choices I did took him on a very different trajectory. That's how our unjust system works. Yes, I've worked hard to get where I am, but hard work alone is not what defines outcome. Let's stare directly at this ugly truth.