Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

SINCERITY – conveys the absence of hypocrisy, affectatiousness, sham or deceit. The sincere person is genuine and straightforward in his desire to learn and practice what is right. Conscientiousness and honorable conduct are closely associated with sincerity; but sincerity should be practiced with knowledge of right thoughts and actions because most of the evil and wrongheaded errors brought upon the Earth have been the result of sincere though misinformed persons. The acquisition of the other Virtues is impossible without sincerity and the depth of application it affords.

I was standing on-line making pizzas at a Domino’s, next to a University of Michigan Grad student who was in the Alcohol Studies Program. Like many schools, U of M has a long-standing Alcohol Studies Department.

I like science, as it gets us closer to reality. I have never seen science and spirituality as necessarily opposed. I have seen people, with so-called spiritual beliefs, who love to argue anti-science, but that does not get us closer to reality. That there is a Source, an order to the universe does not necessarily conflict with science and vice-versa. Science supports understanding of that order.  The bottom line; we are always trying to get to the truth, which demands I slog through my own beliefs that need to grow/expand therefore my paradigm assumes I am a student for (and of) Life, always (hopefully) learning and that our roles here are as Scientist/Philosophers. To me that’s the true Paradigm. As the saying goes, “The head is a great employee but a lousy boss”. I have to merge the heart.

I’ll come back to pizza and U of M but must digress. This topic was triggered by an energizing talk I saw from Dr. Kevin McCauley who Tom Edwards and Mariel Swiggard and the team at Pavillon brought to NC. Interesting guy, doctor, in recovery, lots of very interesting experience and research, a brainiac who surfed us through a more holographic snapshot of the Brain, Addiction and Recovery which will always catch my interest. My brain loves these snapshots though I don’t find them deeply altering of what I feel we need to do in response to the national calamity of dependence/addiction. This is where the spiritual enters. What begins recovery and ultimately heals us is; community. Deeper community is what’s missing, is what’s needed and what many are working to build. The New York Times recently wrote on meta-studies that point out; “Researchers Uncover an Epidemic of Loneliness”.  I’m over my limit of links to the NY Times so I can’t put it here, but I recommend it for perspective. We’re lonely, particularly as we age and it leads to illness.

In a world where overpopulation is a legitimate topic the thought of rampant loneliness seems troubling, even bizarre. There’s 7.4 billion of us and we’re lonely?!  Yes.  For perspective, if you go back say 100 years and read the studies of tribes around the world untouched by western civilization a fact that emerges is some areas, some tribes had no actual word for loneliness. They weren’t perfect, they were human and had problems but there was simply no concept of loneliness. Imagine.

I can link to this excellent overview of a 75-year study of what makes people happy. A summary, “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”


Back to Domino’s. Mind you, this was long before I quit drugs and entered recovery (some 35 years ago). I remember asking him, when he told me of his studies; “What do we know these days?” And he immediately said, “Well, alcoholism is clearly genetic. We know that”.

So I guess we “know” that even more now. And at some point it’s less relevant to me because of what William White points out. “We’ve studied the brain on alcohol plenty, how about we study the brain on recovery”. {I paraphrase}

To honor the head/science side, I am including a link to Bill’s recent announcement he’s taking a respite from writing and, as a service, linking a list of the more than 160 recovery blogs posted to date.

I want to leave you with this talk from Dr. Corey Waller on “Why what we do in Addiction Medicine Sucks”.  Our Executive Director Dr. Sara McEwan used it in a MAT class she gives; a serious talk from a very experienced Medical Director. His talk both resonates with my own experience and study and, on at least a couple of points, pushes my buttons and triggers disagreement.  I’ll keep coming.

For cappers here’s a William White interview with Dr. Waller, discussing his involvement in the ROSC efforts of Western Michigan.