Super Heroes, Mercy and Recovery, Take on a Super Villain, Addiction

Fighting with Addiction Science

Addictive disease both fascinates and horrifies me, as an addiction professional and as a human being.  Poetry and philosophy I need for my soul because they uplift me.  There was no satisfaction for me to teach high school English, so I found a new career, which by the grace of God I do enjoy.  Over the years I have learned to wield the powerful teaching tool of addiction science to combat addiction, which I think of as an evil super villain.
I will speak to any group, anyone who will listen or needs to hear the message.  People need to understand how addiction mercilessly hi-jacks human brains, especially those of teenagers.  Without treatment it causes brain owners to die painful, lonely deaths–most of us are very aware of that.   So I preach and teach compassion for persons with the disease.  I admire the discoveries of brain science, which have been advanced by the study of addictive processes.
I highly recommend, When Society Becomes an Addict, by Anne Wilson Schaef.  She exposes just how deeply addiction permeates American Society.  Creating addictions which people initially enjoy, but sooner or later suffer from, appears to be very good for business.  Far too many of our best and brightest have fallen prey.
Expertly marketed addiction traps are all around us now.  These traps, in whatever form they arrive, have fooled us, but we shouldn’t be fooled any longer!  The developers of the new, legal addictions don’t care who their products hurt, even kill.  So it seems the best way to escape their oppressive clutches is for people to bring recovery into their lives, as a defense against the commercial onslaughts that launch out at us day and night.
To illustrate the real dangers that exist today for unsuspecting young people, I suggest you access an article that appeared in the Economist, “The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive,” by Ian Leslie, published in the Oct/Nov 2016 issue.  The scientists identified here are neuroscientists.
Introduction to Mercy, an Eternal Good
Theology is compatible with addiction science in this way: both fields of study involve Mercy.  Theology is the study of God and God’s relation to the world.  My favorite theologian is Dr. Scott Hahn, an astute scholar, yet a grounded, “regular guy,” whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a men’s conference in Milwaukee, where he was the keynote speaker.  Dr. Hahn is a witty author who writes about heavy theological questions very light-handedly somehow.
His style belies the fact that he’s an expert in biblical and mystical theology.  I’m enjoying reading his book, Lord, Have Mercy.  God’s Mercy inspires me, but it’s not my addiction, even though this blog is called, “Addicted to Mercy.”  Through this title I want to express that I’m passionate about God’s Mercy!
What is Divine Mercy?  It is a spiritual force, which engages human beings when someone, anyone, without deserving it, is gifted with what they most need at the exact time they most need it.  It’s a get-out-of-jail-free card, along with a love letter, because Divine Love is the source of it.
I hope you will someday know the pleasure and excitement I got from reading Divine Mercy in My Soul, the diary of Maria Faustina Kowalska.  It’s all about her direct and repeated experiences with Divine Mercy, as revealed to her by God, for the sake of all of us.
St. Faustina is a very different sort of saint, because she did not feel saintly at all. In fact she struggled greatly with self-doubt.  She was often downcast because of her sense of unworthiness of the part she was given to play by divine providence.  However, she was in fact chosen to reveal Divine Mercy to the world.  Her diary is about how that happened, back in Poland in the 1930s.  You can read her diary online, by going to https://archive.org/stream/St.FaustinaKowalskaDiary/divine-mercy-in-my-soul_djvu.txt.
I believe that we as individuals and the world as a whole need a transfusion of  Divine Mercy, which the saint writes is an “Ocean of Mercy,” unlimited and unfathomable.  Why do we need a spiritual force of that magnitude?  Because no matter how hard we try, we can’t be perfect.  We fail, we sin, we get lost in the dark.  The diary proclaims factually, through real events in Faustina’s life, that God’s Heart waits eagerly to rescue us from the Darkness.  He will not force us to receive His Mercy, however.  God is not a tyrant.
I will keep writing and talking about my greatest passion, Divine Mercy, and sending out warnings and cautions about this addictive society we have.  Those mood- and mind-altering chemicals and activities that are traps set to catch us and our families, are in that group of lower or least worthy goods of life.  Mercy and Recovery bring goods of the highest worth, which in turn bring joys and delights which do not harm.

 

Discovering Divine Mercy in Our Postmodern Addictive Society

We don’t generally doubt what we are seeing when we look at a solid object, but we often doubt or dismiss the traditional beliefs of earlier times.  Our intellectual history has brought us into an age when everything is in doubt, including God; especially God.
I do not propose to deny the right of atheists to not believe in God or the notion of God.  I rather wish to protect it, because I believe that freedom of choice is an inalienable right.
How did the culture change from one of faith to one of doubt?  Certain philosophers introduced the world to Modernism, which is based in skepticism and anti-realism, meaning we can no longer trust in any certainties.
It began in the seventeenth century with Descartes, the “I think, therefore I am” French  philosopher and mathematician.  Modernism can lead to resignation.  After doubting everything you can think of, which people used to take for granted, you are left with the scalding sense that life is hollow and quite absurd, completely.
In the nineteenth century, when Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche announced “God is dead,” explaining the universe without God became exceedingly more difficult.  It threw the stable world of accepted truths into a general panic, prompting many to search for meaning without God.  I wonder if this erosion of the general certainty that God is real deprived future generations of a spiritually sustaining truth, which we need now more that ever before.
Welcome to Postmodernism, which is a continuation of Modernism.  In Postmodernism, you actually can find yourself doubting you’re perceiving something real when all of your senses insist you are, but you simply can’t trust your senses anymore.  However, there’s nothing wrong with being skeptical in general and withholding your belief until you have some evidence.
In the twentieth century, in 1942, another French philosopher, scholar and literary romantic, Albert Camus, penned his famous philosophical essay, The Myth of Sisyphus.  In that essay he described the Absurd Man, representing modern man, who seeks a meaning to a God-less human existence.  The Absurd Man is painfully aware of absolute futility because life is worse than a cosmic joke, in that his life has no apparent purpose.
So it became quite a challenge for people at that time to rise in the morning with those depressing assumptions hanging over them.  However, Modernism didn’t shake up America too badly.  Over here we were still able to whistle a happy tune, as Europe grew more grumpy and dour.  That was due, in part, to writers on spiritual subjects, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James.
Message in a Bottle
So where did that leave the questioning, postmodern person, as we rolled anxiously through the twentieth century?  It led to the writing of dozens of popular books, like A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and films like Dr. Strangelove, treatments of existence very grounded in a postmodern worldview.  When they came out, they spoke to me, because they fit the world I lived in.  To this day I still admire both the novel and the film.
In the 1980’s Sting and The Police called out an S.O.S. with the release of “Message in a Bottle.”  Who didn’t relate to that lament of private desperation and societal alienation?  Therefore, inviting God back to fill the enormous vacuity Nietzsche announced to the world was and is still certainly worth our consideration.  Others may hold a different view, and I respect that.  I have atheist friends and our differing views do not disturb our friendships because we choose not to allow them to.
What the World Needs Now: Divine Mercy
At birth we come into an exceedingly unbalanced, violent and unpredictable world, where we have an exploitative global media waiting for us, media which feed upon a steady, dizzying and unending chain of crimes and catastrophes, to which we tend to become numb and reach out for the supposed curatives for our malaise, solicited and pandered by the grinning hosts of our Addictive Society.
I’m not much for the Big Bang Theory, I will admit.  And I must disagree with Stephen Hawking that the universe doesn’t need God.  Theories about the origin of the universe abound, and at the top of that list are Creationism, Intelligent Design and Evolution, which touts the unsettling notion that we all arose out of some primordial soup.  Well, nobody, including me, was there to verify what actually happened.  Today, because of what I have experienced in my life, I believe that God is love.
Consider another explanation for our existence:  God’s Unfathomable Mercy and Love.  That particular origin theory may conflict with postmodern doubt, or it may not.  Each person is free to decide.
This blog has for its’ logo the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a symbol of Christ’s love for all of us.  The thorns around his heart symbolize his suffering for us and the flames bursting forth symbolize the intensity of that love, so great that it called for the ultimate sacrifice.
Consider, why should God, omnipotent and entirely self-sufficient, Who claims to be the source of life and all that is, whom billions believe to contain all that is good, pure and holy, create humans, animals, nature, the earth and other worlds among untold galaxies and quasars, unless He loved them?  After all, He receives absolutely nothing for his efforts except the joy that every giver receives–the joy of expressing of their love.
I know many people in our day avoid thinking about God, because God reminds them of organized religion.  The grateful founders of Alcoholics Anonymous faced the same problem, which they solved with the freedom to choose your own higher power, and that might be God, or might not.  It’s up to the individual.  And then again, like me, you might be led to find the real God, the God Who made heaven and earth, Who is the source of Divine Mercy.
Becoming Addicted to Mercy
The essays I write in this blog called Addicted to Mercy in large part come out of my work with addicts and their families.  Addiction is a progressive, life-threatening and incurable illness, which without treatment is fatal.  One of its’ key symptoms is for the sufferer to continue doing what brings misfortune on themselves and others.   Addiction may adhere somehow to our inborn self-will, giving it further power to destroy lives.
All addictions were disarmed and profoundly out-gunned by what became known as “The Spiritual Solution.”  In 1934 Mr. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith were guided to that Solution, for them and all addicts after them.  They were inspired to create Alcoholics Anonymous, which grew out of the revelation that God loves alcoholics.  My Dad, an alcoholic, got into recovery and later so did I.  My life has never been the same.  But why bring up in this context something called Divine Mercy?
I discovered the reality of Divine Mercy through the diary of a humble, Polish nun, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, who lived around the same time that Bill and Bob did.  That diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul, is the story of God’s free gift to the human race, His Divine Mercy.  She tells about it graphically, powerfully and personally–it’s worth reading, I guarantee.  She’s known as the Secretary of Divine Mercy, because although she wrote the diary she is not the author of this “ocean of mercy.”
You will find that her supernatural experiences equal the most wonderful and amazing narratives in literature.  Divine Mercy is persistently reaching out to restore hope to broken hearts and scarred souls, which may have been damaged by organized religion in the first place.  Divine Mercy is not essentially about religion.   It’s about the enormity of love from above that’s waiting humbly and patiently to be received by anyone at all, no matter how “bad” the world thinks they are.
So in closing I want my reader to know that God’s Mercy is there for you when you need it, as you walk onward, hopefully not alone.  Thanks for stopping by this blog and take care.