Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Think About This When Your Life Seems Like Crap

I'm on the Fort Berthold Reservation this week learning about Community Reinforcement methods for prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

Bruce Gillette, the Licensed Addiction Counselor who organized the program keeps making this point:

If you want to grow a good crop, what do you put on it? Manure, right? All that crap you are going through in your life can make you more productive in the end. All we need to do is plant some seeds in it. 

What do we mean by seeds? A seed can be thoughts and beliefs that you can be something more than this. I know people who had severe problems with alcohol or drugs for years, and one of the key factors that helped them turn around was that little voice in their head of their mom or grandma  (sometimes long after she was dead), saying,

You are somebody special. You are better than this.

A seed can be planted by a coach or a teacher, who gives you that idea,

You 're smart. You're talented. You could be a doctor. You're great with machines, you could be an engineer. You are a good football player, but you need to get in better shape. 

Maybe it could even be a blog (-:

The point Bruce is making is that the crap you go through -  working three jobs, going to school full time and going to college full time, having a baby at 16 years old, needing to work, find day care and finish school, screwing up and ending up in jail for a year - all of that makes you stronger in the end, once you start to grow.

You really will be stronger in the broken places. You'll learn that the past is the past, that's why we call it that. It's over. You will learn that you can overcome difficulties. When you are at the top at that pinnacle, you'll still understand what it's like to be at the bottom.

Let's assume you are sitting somewhere reading this and asking me,

Fine! I've gone through plenty of crap, now how do I get the seed to grow?

I have an answer for you (didn't think I could hear you all the way here in North Dakota, did you?)

 Want to go learn to be a programmer? Watch a video on javascript on youtube, buy a book, go to a forum on Ruby and read the section for newcomers.

Want to graduate from college? Check out the website for your local community college. Start looking at four-year schools that interest you. (Hot tip: Do NOT sign up with a for-profit school. They're not worth it.)

Want to be a world champion? Go outside and run. Do some push-ups and sit-ups right now. Write down how many you did. Do it again tomorrow

My answer is this: start. There is always one thing you can do. Do it. Sprout!


LsP said...

This post reminds me of that 1992 tv film, The Broken Cord. And of a poem, "Evolution" by Sherman Alexie.

My people are the Nanticoke but we don't have the problems you describe en masse because we weren't forced onto reservations.

Laura said...

This blog post reminded me the story of this girl. (My story is about the same). https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=231&v=U7wg1h3oM78

Jacob said...

I really enjoyed this blog! It is true that life throws a pile of crap at everyone in life, but you're right doc, it helps us later on. Your mean parenting blog came to mind while reading this. Though a kid might hate their parents for making their lives "miserable", it is true that the kid will possess a much better attitude and character because of it. As I get older I have witnessed old friends from middle school just go down the wrong path, get involved with drugs, alcohol etc because they never had that strong guidance from their parents. Everyone also desires confidence or that "seed" as you called it. I actually graduate high school in 2 weeks, and all year I have been taking advanced classes, classes I don't like, to test myself and help gain confidence for college courses this summer. Oh, and don't worry, no for-profit college for me lol.

Great Blog!

mike ripple said...

i assume your frame of reference is the native american community...but it seems to be a tall order to expect a people who, not 4 generations back, were nomadic in nature and existing in full harmony with their surroundings and in tune with the planet. I understand their depression, their plight. We, as conquerors, have not only stolen and desecrated what was once their land, killed 98% of them, stripped the survivors of their culture, spirituality and heritage....but now expect what is left of them to adopt our destructive ways, our constitution and our bill of rights... that states all men were created equal until we decided that they, the american indian, were not....and we wish them now to become computer programmers.
All in the name of freedom.
I can see the difficulty they must have.

Anonymous said...

Thank you

Ventus said...

I completely agree and i can confirm this is true from personal experience, as many others can or do already.

The most important thing here is to actually know this is possible, that this is how things can work. Knowing this makes a huge difference in how one approaches reality and how one is affected by it. And then, in turn, how one affects reality from that point onwards, not just to himself but others that are affected by you.

There is no way to avoid different "bad things" to happen as much as there is no way to avoid rain from ever falling on you in your life. Of course that does not mean you should go out and get soaked every time it is falling. You can take shelter, or cover or build different things to protect yourself, but you cannot completely avoid it. I would say it isnt good to hide from it all the time.
And even if you could manege to somehow avoid all the bad things personally, people you are connected to wont. If you try to completely hide from it you will probably end up as one hurting others too.

Then the question becomes - how to react to it?

Does it bring you down, make you think nothing else exists, does it make you think you should become bad yourself? When you think about it, isnt it clear that is very similar to being infected by a virus and then spreading it to others?

Or... could you actually use it as fuel? Thats how i approached that black sludge. I made gasoline out of it. Fueled my engines with it. In hindsight, i can see how that created some pollution and CO2, yes... or looked like a Mad Max movie,... but hey, thats why this blog is so good.

It gives you better, wiser metaphor's to use, to turn into truths and make your lives better and more worthy.