Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Words Hurt.


By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

"Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" - George Carlin
"Samma Vaca" "Right Speech" - Buddhist 8 Fold Path
"The tongue has the power of life and death" - Proverbs 18:21

Words have power.  What you say and how you say it can affect someone else in dramatic ways.  For instance, if I tell you, "Guess what my friend?  I'm leaving you $15 million dollars!"  How would you feel?  What effect would that have on you emotionally?  Mentally?  Even physically?  I would wager it would make you feel very happy.  You would probably very seriously entertain the idea of early retirement.  You might physically feel giddy and full of laughter and joy.  I wouldn't blame you.  By the way, I'm not leaving you $15 million…I have to make it first!
    
In 1972, the late comedian George Carlin received national attention for a part in his show he called "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television".  Needless to say, people were outraged.  His use of 7 dirty words offended people nationwide.  He claimed he was protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.  Ultimately, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace.  

In Buddhist thought, there is the concept of 'right speech' or 'samma vaca'.  The idea is that one should only speak the truth and use their words in a positive manner.  Makes sense, right?  

The Bible says that the tongue has the power of life and death.  Drastic?  Perhaps.  But think about how easily words cut to the bone and cause the metaphorical 'death' of the soul in a young child.  

Why all this heavy talk about words?  Because words matter.  If you suffer from chronic pain, I am sure you've experienced the painful words instructing you to just 'get over it' or 'pull up your bootstraps' by friends and family when it comes to your addiction and your pain each day.  And if you don't pay attention to the power of words, then the words will have power over you.  And relapse is waiting to happen.  

Relapse occurs when we are injured, among other reasons.  A scorned lover drinks to get revenge for all the mean things their former partner said about them during their most recent argument.  An employee uses heroin after a long meeting wherein their boss calls them out in front of everyone for a mistake they made.  Feeling rejected, judged and belittled, they relapse back into life-threatening behavior with their drug of choice.  

Perhaps you are a recreational user and you hate yourself because of all the negative labels people use about addicts and alcoholics: Loser.  Idiot.  Mooch.  Immature.  Failure.  Words hurt.  There's no way to get around it.  Even when they're not accurate or true.  You are none of those things.  

That is why the fellowship of 12 step meetings are so healing for people.  To be in a room full of people who struggle with the same issues you do is very helpful in bringing a sense of peace and understanding.  They can speak messages of encouragement, life, hope, peace, and compassion into your life, your psyche, and your spirit.  Hearing such things can only help to heal and strengthen your resolve to stay clean and sober.  

Maybe you've listened to the words of the drug dealers for too long.  You know their message far too well.  You can recite it word of word.  Stop listening to their hurtful words.  You don't need them.  They are liars.  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We're here for you.  And we have nothing but good things to say to you!  

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