Too Soon Old Too Late Smart

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” Vee grow too soon oldt, und too late shmart.” (we grow too soon old and too late smart)   -old German saying

Like beat poet Allen Ginsberg, I see the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness. People’s lives are being destroyed by drugs, alcohol, and other destructive behavior. In Bucks County, PA, Steps to Recovery in Levittown, PA will host a ceremony in remembrance of those who lost their lives to overdoses. It will be held on August 30th, International Overdose Awareness Day.

Seeing all this destructive, deadly behavior, I have to quote Astro, the dog on the old Jetson’s cartoon: “Rumtins rong rear Reorge!” (Something’s wrong here, George). I also quote Bob Dylan: “Something is happening here, and you don’t know what it is. Do you? Mr. Jones.”

Back in the 50’s, as depicted in Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl, there was the beat generation, people who ruined their lives with drugs and other destructive behavior but they were on the fringe of society. Today, this behavior has become more mainstream. In fact, drug use and other erratic behavior is an epidemic!

People I know personally in Bucks County have and are still engaging in destructive behavior. Some have a chronic problem with booze and some with drugs. One guy, who almost died four times after abusing alcohol, landed back in the hospital again. Soon after got to a nursing home, he escaped! Somehow, he ended up in another hospital. He just wants to keep abusing alcohol and smoking. As a friend said, they are his god.  “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” -Proverbs 26:11

Chronic drug and alcohol abuse are examples of besetting sin, a sin that has a strong hold on you and you just can’t seem to shake. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” -Ephesians 5:18

One friend licked his substance abuse problems. He went through a 12 Step Program and went to and stuck with God. He now has a good job and acts responsibly and gets along well with others.

Although I don’t know anything about Steps to Recovery in Levittown, I was glad when I looked on their website and saw that they include the 12 Step Program in their treatment program.

Even with good rehab programs, people with big problems have to do their part. Resolving these problems is not just a matter of following steps. If you make a paper maché volcano and shake baking soda into the center then pour vinegar and red food coloring, then it will become effervescent and simulate a real volcano. Human behavior is not so predictable; doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you just have to walk away from people you are trying to help and let God take care of them.

Sometimes people just have to learn the hard way. I did. Although I can have a glass of wine and walk away and don’t do dope, I’ve engaged in destructive behavior in other ways. After I lost my job, my house, my wife, was alienated from relatives and suffered other problems, I finally started coming around.

Likewise, a guy I knew from the community meals for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County finally came around. His cousin told me his Aunt (the guy’s mom) asked him to help his cousin straighten out. It was to no avail. At one of the meals, a host ministered to the guy. Sometime after that, when I was visiting a friend with an alcohol problem in a local short-term inpatient treatment center, I ran into him. He realized the seriousness of his problem and said he was determined to get with the program. He transferred to another place and the last I heard his recovery was going well and that he had a little job.

Back in the 50’s, if you were a drunk or a doper you were an oddball. In the 50s people went to church and took their faith seriously. They read Christian authors such as CS Lewis as well as the Bible. Families prayed together and stayed together. Hearts and minds are the root of one’s character. You are what you think and where your heart is!

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” -2nd Corinthians 10:5