Levittown We Have A Problem!

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Drug addictions run rampant today, especially in Bucks County, PA, contributing to crime as well as ruining lives of individuals, their families and other loved ones. Alcohol abuse creates similar problems. Places to treat these problems are mushrooming.

There are other problems – road rage and other forms of anger, depression, anxiety, violence. People today are hurting. There is even an organization called No More Pain. http://www.nomorepaininc.org/ 

There is a common root to all problems, largely character flaws.  I regularly attend the 12 Steps Journey program where participants learn to deal with character flaws, such as anxiety, depression, and pent up anger and drug and alcohol addictions. http://www.12stepjourney.com/ Drug addiction is just one problem, which in places like lower Bucks County is now in the limelight.

There is a way out, if you are willing to make the effort, pursue healing, and submit to God.

I consider myself a recovering romantic.  If I had a theme song, it would be Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love. “You’re gonna have to face it
You’re gonna have to face that you’re addicted to love

You might as well face it, you’re addicted to love”

And I’ve learned to admit to this and other problems and with God’s help, I shall overcome.

Addictions are described by Wikipedia as “a medical condition that is characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences…”  I’m not sure how much of the problem is biological, but it does entail flighty, compulsive behavior. Romantics are attracted to a person or an ideal, a fleeting feeling, which like a French Impressionist painting, immediately strikes your fancy but does not lead to further inquiry, as a Dutch 17th century landscape painting would do.

As a college professor told my class, Romanticism is an example of “the supremacy of emotion over intellect.”   The professor also said that the romantic would rather be there than here and in a different time.  Romantics tend to daydream.

William Wordsworth, one of the poets who helped launch the Romantic period in English literature in the late 18th and early 19th century, wrote “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”

Romanticism was a rebellion against the machine age, materialism and the intellectualism of The Enlightenment. Romantics were against rigid rules. They went the other extreme and rejected rules in general.

Another professor said the Romantics were a prototype of the Flower Children of the 60’s, which led to adverse consequences. A documentary on the hippies illustrated how communal living, where everyone and everything was held in common, including partners. There were no families. The kids belonged to everyone. But, as the documentary showed, as this free love mentality played out, people got jealous of other’s temporary partners.

There is no power in the flower.

Recently, I met a woman said she was deeply hurt after a guy played her. She said that she may end up going back to him, as “I am a hopeless romantic.”  The problem is that emotion is the driving force, and not the intellect. Learning more about one another and working through the vicissitudes of life together and learning to respect and care for one another is the right stuff for a successful relationship.

20th century writer and critic T.S. Eliot rejects the romantic notion of Wordsworth’s “emotion recollected in tranquility.”  and argues that emotion and intellect should be synthesized, with the intellect driving emotion.  http://www.literary-articles.com/2010/02/how-eliot-refutes-wordsworths-concept.html

Emotion can’t stand on its own. In Mel Brook’s Robin Hood Men in Tights a young lad approaches Robin and his men screaming his head off. The Merry Men wonder why; nobody was chasing the kid, nothing was wrong.

In my blogs, I have knocked modern psychology. But cognitive behavioral therapy, as the word “cognitive” suggests, has some merit. It requires people to think, rather than rely on fuzzy romantic emotions and effervescent feelings. This psychotherapeutic treatment helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behavior.  Emotion is driven by intellect, knowledge.

The key to healing, being right is knowing that God is working for your good. God knows what’s best for us, and the way to be in your right mind is found in scripture. The power of positive thinking, just feeling good about yourself needs a basis. Knowing God loves us and He knows what’s best for us is the key to getting straight, whether the problem be addictions or other problems that get us out of whack.

The first step in the 12 Step program is “We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from GOD-that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is a step in the right direction. I’ve witnessed people who follow this path straighten out their lives.

In God, there is hope, including for the homeless.