Hurry Up and Read This!

Modern life is too messy, too complicated, and too fast.

We want instant gratification for practically everything we do and we want it now. Forget the adage good things come to those who wait – it takes much too long.

We occupy a time when the word slow has been practically obliterated from our vocabulary. It’s all about fast and nothing less. We want our food fast and easy; we want our internet connections fast and then even faster — woe to the websites that load a few seconds longer than our attention deprived threshold can endure as anyone born at the beginning of the new millennium and wired from birth can attest.

We want our planes, trains, and automobiles to be quicker and get us to where we need to be pronto. We’re content to give up a portion of our highways to briskly move along in high-occupancy lanes. Checkout lines have express lanes so we can get out of the store quicker – who among us hasn’t tested the patience of the cashier or other customers when we try and sneak in an extra item or two on the 12-item limit? Guilty as charged.

What about relationships? Even this most basic of needs – to connect to other human beings in a meaningful way – hasn’t escaped the clutches of our fast-paced world. We now have speed-dating – certainly a social, quirky fad but it does say something about how far we’ve fallen down the speed hole. It’s all about fast, quick, and easy. No mess, no fuss, no strings attached. Let’s skip the commercials and see how it ends up.

Services we rely on are fast-tracked if we’re willing to pay a premium. Forget free universal health care – pay as you go and you’ll see a doctor or have a medical procedure done faster. And it’s not just the medical profession but the corporate world too that have smelled big money in our ever-growing impatience, including substance abuse therapy.

Quick, down, and not-so-dirty fixes have been the rage for quite some time now. For big money, people can leave their troubles behind and endure painless therapies that end up not working as advertised.

Why do people think that something so worthwhile as rebounding from the destruction and torment of addiction should be easy? Perhaps because getting addicted in the first place was easy enough. Yet, the reality dear reader, is like day to night. Addictions are most often disparaging and rebellious behavior intended by the person with addiction issues to reverse a profound sense of hopelessness. This destructive path is usually grounded in something deeply personal and troubling for the individual. Yet, we want to hurry up the healing because reflecting and feeling the hurt is too much to bear. When the healing is beyond our reach, substitute ways are sought that often result in unhealthy living.

People with addictive behaviours are not inherently self-destructive. They do tend however, to easily go down that road because they feel trapped and see no other way out. The dysfunctional cycle repeats itself over and over again until … they want to change their life.

Addiction shouldn’t define who people are. It’s a dangerous form of impulsivity separate from the rest of a person’s life but triggered when weighty events provoke the behaviour. Learning about these triggers and why they exist is the key to better coping skills and that takes time. That’s why Caritas exists; we give addiction and concurrent disorders the time demanded. As much as we may wish it could be done faster, it simply can’t.

Thanks for reading this. Have to run.

Tullio Orlando MSW RSW (Ph.D. in Social Work Candidate)