‘Recovery Boys’ Another Great Documentary On Opioid Crisis

When I watched the parade scene in ‘Recovery Boys’ a Netflix original documentary created by the producer of Heroin(e), I felt like I was watching a parade in my hometown. The backdrop of the empty, gutted downtown looked eerily similar in concept.

But, in Preble County, an apparent change in the heroin supply, dropped the number of overdoses calls in Eaton, Ohio from about 10 per month in 2017 to about two per month this. Aggressive policing and court-mandated Vivitrol shots, also appears to have altered heroin use in the county — by driving the chemically addicted to using meth. According to an article in Saturday’s The Register-Herald, the executive director of our mental health and recovery board said,

“In the state of Ohio, Preble County is number one in meth use.”

Ohio has 88 counties, and with 40,000 or so residents, we are a small county.

What Can You Do?

As I interact with various locals on social media, though, there does not appear to be a resolve to solve the issue, rather more of a ‘let the professionals figure it out’ approach.

That is what is refreshing about Recovery Boys. The film is set in nearby West Virginia, and it chronicles the life of four men who are struggling with heroin addiction. All four have entered a rehab facility that is the brainchild of a man whose son is a recovering addict. Rather than resign the issue to the professionals — although he is trained in substance abuse treatment — the father decide to go his own way and create a unique approach to treatment.

What unfolds in a farm-based treatment center where the chemically-addicted work the farm in addition to the ‘inner work’ that recovery requires.

I won’t reveal how each of the four men did, but obviously with a chemical as intense and as addicting as heroin, it’s not always a win-win story. But, the producer does an excellent job presenting the humanity of these men — men who are often reduced to stereotypes in my county.

A minor, albeit troubling, subplot that unfolds in the story is the reality that the children, especially young ones, are extremely vulnerable in our country. One of the men lost custody of his two young girls (less than five years old), and one of his girls is molested by a foster parent. This is one of the side issues that gets buried in our culture’s ‘disgust with druggies.’ Their children often pay a high price, especially in small counties where adequate oversight does not exist.

The movies moves at an appropriate pace and it will make you think — and hopefully it will help the apathetic or the ‘they made their choice’ crowd, better understand the disease of addiction, so small communities like mine can shed titles like ‘meth capital.’

Rated 5 out of 5.

Categories: 8th congressional district, drug use, movies, My America | Tags: , | 3 Comments

‘Intuition’ by Osho Delves Into Our Other Intelligences

After watching, Wild, Wild Country, I purchased a book written about the spiritual guru, Osho, who was featured in the Netflix series.

Knowing that he taught a doctrine of free love, I attempted to steer clear of that topic, and chose ‘Intuition,’ but since the doctrine is, in many ways, at the core of his beliefs about repression, the subject did surface in this book as well.

Overall, though, I felt the book was basically a New Age work. I don’t say that to diminish it because I have read several New Age books and find their philosophy interesting. This book also leans heavily on Eastern and Buddhist teachings, which is no surprise, but Osho does seem to have an issue with Gandhi (a contemporary of Osho), which I did find odd. I presume there is a history between them.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the book were:

Have you ever come across a child who is stupid? It is impossible! But to come across a grown-up who is intelligent is rare; something goes wrong in between.

By your fixing a destination your future is no longer a future, because it is no longer open. Now you have chosen one alternative out of many.

Intuition is only a mirror. It does not create anything, it only reflects. It reflects that which is.

If I were to sum up the teachings of Osho, based on this book, (which I am reluctant to do), he is a believer in living in the moment and listening to one’s ‘inner guide.’ In that regard, his beliefs remind me of Quakerism. Overall, he is a believer in trusting oneself, but his morality is jarring to many Westerners because of his belief in open sexual relationships. He does believe that sexual repression is part of humanity’s problem.

For people who read self-help books, they would find this an enjoyable read, as would people interested in Eastern philosophy.

Rating 4 out of 5. This is an easy read and it flows well, especially considering the book was not written by Osho in the technical sense. It is compiled from his many speeches.

Categories: Books I have read | 2 Comments

‘The Righteous Mind’ Seeks To Explain What Divides Us

I have spent much of this year researching poverty while continuing to read politics, especially with regards to why, as a nation we have proven incompetent in solving poverty. Some of these books are academic in nature so I do not review them.

But, I took a break from that subject to ‘get some fresh air’ and one of the books I recently read, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion by Jonathan Haidt is about moral reasoning.

It is a very applicable in the current era.

The book is divided into three sections with a central metaphors for each:

  • The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant.
  • The righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors
  • We are 90 percent Chimp and 10 Percent Bee

The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant.

In this section, Haidt lays the foundation of his argument relying on various academic studies and theories of ‘where morality comes from.’ But he also deals with the concept of disgust and disrespect — giving some very — at least for me — off-putting examples. By doing this, though, he drives home his point, which is:

“People some times have gut feelings — particularly about disgust and disrespect — that can drive their reasoning. Moral reasoning is sometimes a post hoc fabrication.”

He also explains why he comes to reject a common theory that “morality is self-constructed by children on the basis of their experience with harm.”

What I found most interesting in this section is he offers real examples of study participants trying to justify their moral reasoning. In these cases, the participant was intentionally given situations designed to trigger a disgust or disrespect response.

It is in this section, that he drives home the reality that ‘intuition comes first, strategic reasoning second.’

The righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors

So, the first section lays the groundwork. It is filled with plenty of theory balanced by real-life comments by individuals forced into moral dumbfounding (where they ‘know’ something is wrong, but cannot ‘justify’ their position). In the second section he explains the five foundations of moral reasoning — that everyone uses. This is also where he begins to explain the divide between conservatives and liberals because of these foundations. They are:

  • Care/harm
  • Fairness/cheating
  • Loyalty/betrayal
  • Authority/subversion
  • Sanctity/degradation

Conservatives and liberals give different ‘weight’ to each of the five foundations. Once you realize this, you can easily see on social media, what ‘triggers’ a person. For example, as a liberal, I put less weight on the authority/subversion foundation which can create an issue on social media when I, for example, post something that ‘demeans’ a person in authority. Conservatives often find this disrespectful. Conversely, when conservatives show a lack of concern, for example, of the children’s fate in the Border Crisis, it can trigger a liberal because of their foundation of care/harm.

We are 90 percent Chimp and 10 Percent Bee

In the final section Haidt ties all his theories together using the chimp and bee as metaphors. The chimp, which studies have shown, does not work cooperatively is paired with the (worker) bee, who abandons all sense of individuality for the good of the hive. It is in this section where he also tackles more of the religious aspect of the book. In one study, he explains, that many of the religious ‘do good’ not so much because of their religious beliefs, but because of their bonding with fellow members — similar to the way combat soldiers don’t fight for the country as much as they fight for each other — due to the bond that has developed.

It is the first book on moral reasoning I have read, and I found it quite intriguing. Now, when I discuss things on social media, I am more interested in why a person reasons the way they do — as opposed to their ‘final decision.’ For me, the book has made it easier to discuss, and/or dismiss, a viewpoint — and to decide who to engage in longer conversations with — and who to move on from because they are engaging in the fallacy of deciding first, justifying later.

Rating 5 out of 5.

Even though this is a ‘deep book’ with lots of theory, studies and quotes from philosophers, it is written in a ‘down-to-earth’ manner. I will warn you — as does the author — some of the passages designed to trigger disgust/disrespect will trigger it. If you are truly interested, though, in why we are so severely divided, this book does offer insight.

I was first introduced to the author’s work when I read The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Truth which is another excellent read.

Categories: My America