It seems that addicts, especially in early recovery, are exceptionally inclined to find fault with other entities, whether people or organizations. This is especially true early on when we’re in denial about most everything and our fellowships are beginning to strip some of it away as we kick and scream. But it’s also true about the world at large, and not only those of us who admit to addictions are guilty. Psychologists believe this is partially because it enables people to feel better about themselves, but also due to the human tendency toward binary thinking: wrong v. right, good v. bad, black v. white, our tribe v. them, our warriors (teams) v. theirs, and so forth.
Binary/black and white kinds of thinking may come from upbringing by caregivers who thought that way, religious influences, our desire–perhaps need–to believe we are superior to others and counteract our own doubts, or other reasons. Actually, regardless of the reasons, we’re stifling our ability to understand others and broaden our own horizons. Continue reading →
Our brains evolved (or were designed, if you must) to be judgmental, to assess situations at a glance and classify them as good or bad, dangerous or advantageous — just as you are doing with regard to the first part of this sentence. The ability to do this quickly and form opinions rapidly helped keep our ancestors alive in an uncertain world and assisted them in evaluating the relatively simple issues of their lives and the lives of those around them. They passed these abilities on to us. These inherent skills serve us well in many instances, but we have to be careful. Life is more complicated now.
Down here in Southeast Florida we have a lot of panhandlers. Our moderate weather makes the living endurable, if not easy, so not only our own homeless but those from other states tend to migrate south and stay here. Unless the local constabulary chases them off frequently — some do, and some don’t — you can bet there’ll be a man or woman with a sign at the side of each expressway ramp, or in the median of major suburban intersections. Most of them hold signs ranging from simply “Please Help” to long dissertations regarding their health and the needs of their families.
Many people view these folks with contempt, and I’ve heard disparaging remarks about them from people you’d think would know better — people supposedly in recovery. Continue reading →