A culture supportive of institutions, behaviors, and mindsets centering around drug and alcohol consumption is not sustainable. Therefore, if we are aiming to build or support sustainable community and lifestyle, we must look critically at how we intoxicate ourselves, become dependent on chemicals, and form addictions.
Imagine if humans harnessed all the resources they spend intoxicating themselves and applied it to creating an ecologically balanced, meaningful, community-minded, lifestyle! I’m working toward that reality, and you can too. This work is not easy.
It has involved shifting my energy among friendships, studying rigorously, and looking deeply into myself in a very vulnerable way. I’m going to share resources with you to start a community dialogue about intoxication, chemical dependency, addiction, and recovery. Personal and social accountability are key aspects of sustainability. I’ll explain more.
First i’m going to share with you the reasons why I chose to use massive amounts of time, energy, and resources intoxicating myself with drugs and alcohol.
Why I chose to intoxicate:
- It felt good
- It was less scary than doing what I actually wanted to do.
- I knew how to get drugs, ritualize them, consume, and repeat. It was clear-cut.
- I thought that’s what “radicals” do.
- I thought the pain of living in an oppressive world was to much to bear. So I got high.
- I felt accepted, and part of a community of drug users.
Then something happened. I realized I was doing drugs and drinking even though I didn’t want to be ~ (this is how I define addiction) What changed?
I came to some very important realizations:
- I have (and have always had) the power to transform myself and the world from that which is, to that which ought to be. Living each moment as an embodiment of that commitment is more fulfilling to me than wasting one moment being stoned or drunk.
- Purposefully inhaling smoke into my lungs and drowning my brain with alcohol is actually not how I want to take care of my body. I’ve got plans for myself and the world, and want to keep me healthy so I can stay engaged.
- I want to be present for, and fully support earth’s beings as they feel the full spectrum and intensity of emotion that comes from living in an oppressive society.
- I want to feel the spectrum and intensity of emotion that comes from living in an oppressive society.
- I want to foster relationships that express the fullest peculiarity of human interaction, and don’t need nor want substances getting in the way of our revolutionary, organically mind-bending good time!
- Many intoxicants are produced, transported, and consumed in ecologically and socially violent ways. I want no part in that.
“Maintaining privilege and continuing to oppress a group of people (and earth-systems) is only possible when oppressors can see the people they oppress as less than fully human. A major tactic in the de-recognition process is the oppressor’s anesthesia, numbing oneself so as to be unable to empathize with the people (or earth-systems) they are relegating to a “less-than” status. – Nick Riotfag ~ Towards a Less Fucked Up World
I and others do not benefit from my intoxication and so I decide to stop intoxicating. I am recovering from addiction, and dismantling my chemical dependencies in each moment, with each choice I make. This work is an ongoing process. A process that involves not only shifting relationships to substances, but to people. Now I have more time, energy, resources to devote to dismantling earth and people-breaking systems! -and to building a sustainable culture in it’s wake.
I encourage you to form a study group with your friends, community, organizations, fellow farm-workers, meditation buddies, family, etc to read/discuss these pieces of literature. You can choose a facilitator (or co-facilitators) for each of your meetings, and prepare discussion questions before you meet!
You can also add or subtract readings, formulate your own unique way of engaging in this discussion, or just get together to talk about this stuff!
Here are resources that me and the community I’m part of are studying to look more closely at our patterns of intoxication, addiction, and recovery:
1) Rational Recovery- The Cure For Substance Addiction, by Jack Trimpey
A self-empowering approach to recovering from addiction. It involves separating the addictive voice from oneself, and negating its hold on behavior by practicing abstinence in each moment. It involves taking personal responsibility for creating, maintaining, and ending one’s addiction(s).
–I suggest reading the whole thing! But for efficiency’s sake, I’d pull parts from it to read as a group. Please contact me for page numbers our study group used.
2) Toward a Less Fucked Up World, by Nick Riotfag
Looks at the implications of being complicit in a culture of intoxication. This extraordinary piece of literature covers: how oppression and anesthesia go hand in hand; the connection between masculinity, rape culture, and intoxication; youth liberation through sobriety; the corporate influence of intoxication; social implications of intoxication; intoxication in oppressed communities, and in radical communities; and how intoxicating relates to “Autonomy” vs. Accountability.
Get it by following this link: http://www.sproutdistro.com/catalog/zines/organizing/towards-less-fucked-world/
3) Re-evaluation Counseling
Also known as co-counseling, this practice is an exchange of two or more people in deep and empathetic attention. It aims to unravel patterns in ourselves that keep us from our true nature (which is “inherently intelligent, cooperative, and good”). You can find more information about co-counseling at their website and learn if this method of counseling could work for your community! Contact them if you want to learn how to do it. – https://www.rc.org/publication/theory/about
4) Alcoholics Anonymous
There have been many people who have changed their lives for the better with the help of AA. Their main piece of literature is online for free. I recommend reading parts of their book in a study group and discussing how spirituality, or a belief in whatever universal force you believe in, can support one’s ability to recover from addiction. You can also discuss if group support in general can play a role in recovery or accountability processes.- http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/alcoholics-anonymous
5) My Edge Is Anything But Straight, by Nick Riotfag
Focuses on how intoxication culture disrupts and has subjugated LGBTQ liberation. It offers encouragement for queer communities to develop their social infrastructure around mutual-aid, care, and sexual expression rather than intoxication.- https://archive.org/stream/TowardsARadicalQueerCritiqueOfIntoxicationCulture/TowardsARadicalQueerCritiqueOfIntoxicationCulture_djvu.txt
Sustainable communities and lifestyles are greatly influenced by personal intoxication; as well as the set of institutions, behaviors, and mindsets that support the consumption of drugs and alcohol. If we are to create a sustainable world, a permanent culture, we must look at and discuss how we get pleasure. We must learn to seek pleasure for ourselves in a sustainable way. We can do that! We can write our history of revolutionary earth-revitalization, and be fully in our bodies and minds while we do it. The success of our movement may depend on it.
Please contact me to talk more or with questions, comments, concerns, feedback, etc – turkeyboy@riseupnet