28 April 2011

Post 376: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive by Steve Earle. ISBN: 9780618820962 (eGalley - publishes: May 12, 2011).

I've never done heroin or any opiate. I am actually terrified of trying most drugs, even natural ones like shrooms or marijuana. I don't know how to prepare them, and given the questionable morality of those selling those substances, I'm not sure there is or should be such a thing as a trusted source.

I worry about a society that seems to embrace drug use as a reasonable alternative to god/spirituality. There are certainly cultures which incorporate the use of drugs to reach higher states of spirituality, but that involves rituals and very specified times when it is acceptable use drugs.

Instead, many people seem to have replaced god or their spirituality in favor of a drug of choice. Rather than trying to attain that heightened feeling of awareness or oneness or peace or contentedness or bliss on their own, they take the easy way out and use whatever pharmaceutical or herbal means are at hand. This is incredibly damaging to the spirit and the body, regardless of your relationship or lack thereof with god. By the way, I have a somewhat different meaning for the word "god" than the traditional Judeo-Christian term. I am not referring here to the Guy in the Sky, but whatever your core values and beliefs are regarding what is Good and Right in the world and How We Should Treat Each Other as People/Living Beings. "God" is just a lot shorter than all of that mess.

I understand that reaching that feeling of bliss/spirituality is very difficult. Some religions train a little bit better than others to reach those heights. Some people are better designed to get there through the simple act of prayer or meditation. The rest of us have to work at it and I have to say it's been a long time since I've felt the touch of god. But then I haven't exactly been reaching out for much of anyone's touch lately. But reaching god through the easy way isn't the same as getting there on your own. There's less of a journey and I think it's more rewarding to reach that state through your own powers. It feels more real and exhilarating. Granted, the only other method by which I've felt that is alcohol, but I imagine even with the harder drugs it feels like something is missing.

The whole purpose of being connected to god is to know that there's nothing between you and him/her/them/it. Drugs are definitely something that can get between that clear conversation and complete relationship. And so while I don't really consider myself religious, I would say that god is a big reason why I've never touched recreational drugs.*

My review can be found on Goodreads. There's also an excellent article and interview by the Los Angeles Times.
LibsNote: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley.
*I don't have a problem with people who make the choice to use drugs occasionally, but I know that it tends to interfere with most people's lives more than they even care to admit. Because of this I prefer not to spend a lot of time with people who use drugs on a regular basis. And if you're wondering, I do think marijuana should be legalized. You won't see me using it though.

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