Thursday, July 23, 2015

Addiction - Part 3

We've come to the last of the big ones: porn. Last, perhaps, but certainly not least. This addiction is the most prevalent in our society. There are staggering statistics surrounding the use of porn, most of the boom in those statistics branching from the development of the internet. But I'm not here to talk about statistics. I'm here to talk about the lasting pain that porn addiction can leave. To quote the extraordinarily insightful catchphrase of the Fight The New Drug movement: Porn Kills Love.

Pornography alters the brain. It changes the way people see others. It objectifies human beings. It demotes a person from an equal to a subject. Porn makes it easy to believe that others are on this planet simply to please you. To do as you command. To serve you. It steals humanity.

An addiction to pornography makes you treat people differently. It promotes rape culture. It cultivates superiority complexes. It breaks trust. It destroys wedding vows. Seeing others as objects makes it easier to cheat on your spouse. If you condone seeing images of sexual infidelity for long enough, you can convince yourself that anything flies. 

It's hard to trust someone after they've betrayed you in this way. I once caught an ex-boyfriend using MY laptop for such purposes. It was the source of bitterness in our relationship until it's ultimate demise. See, the thing is, I never fully trusted him again. He had been lying to me, even lied to my face when I caught him. That's the thing about addiction. It beckons you to follow. It calls you into its shadows. It convinces you that what you're doing is ok. That nobody needs to know. That you're better off lying to everyone around you, as long as you get your next fix.

But real life doesn't work that way. You can't hide forever. Eventually, someone WILL find out. And when that day comes, you will have hurt the ones you care about the most. If you love someone, you won't lie to them. If they love you, they'll be there to hold your hand through the battle. If they don't love you enough to stand by your side, they clearly aren't the right person for you. You need to stand up for yourself, guard your heart against the poison of pornography. Protect those around you from the inevitable pain of your addiction. Let people help.

Contrary to popular belief, this addiction is not strictly a man's battle. The aforementioned statistics claim that a staggering percentage of women also struggle with porn. In example, when I was moving into an apartment in college, the girl who was vacating my new room had stacks upon stacks of Playgirl Magazine. Women objectify men just as much as men objectify women. We see Channing Tatum in the movies, Ryan Reynolds on the cover of a magazine, the "perfect" face, "perfect" physique. Then we expect our boyfriends, husbands to look and act like those men who are playing parts in a fictional story. We moan and complain when our man doesn't jump out of an airplane shirtless, displaying his six-pack abs, with a dozen roses, only to land at our feet producing a diamond ring strapped to the collar of a puppy.

Real men fart (my husband literally just did, FYI). They forget to take out the garbage. They stink when they sweat. Only gym rats have washboard stomaches. Only millionaires buy flowers once a week. Men are wonderful, simple creatures. They are humans, they have faults. They also have amazing redeeming qualities. We need to look at them as people, not pictures.

Men and women, we're destroying each other. Our addiction to the perfection of the human body is causing such horrible psychological side effects. Why do you think eating disorders are on the rise? Why is there a gym on every corner? Why is 80% of Pinterest packed with "healthy eating" and "fat burning workouts?" We've created a complex. None of us is flawless, but we can't be happy in our imperfection.

The next time you see a sexual advertisement, watch a movie with nudity, grab a "scandalous" magazine, or go online to browse through porn, think of the person inside that body. A real person with hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, feelings, habits. Let's stop seeing others as objects and start seeing them as brothers and sisters, tangible human beings.


Jackelyn Stange

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Addiction - Part 2

I think the topic of addiction is so deeply important that it deserves multiple blog posts. It touches so many lives, hurts so many people.

There are a multitude of forms of addiction. People can be addicted to all different unhealthy practices. Alcohol, drugs, porn, these are the heavy hitters, the major offenders. But there are others, the ones that seem small, that can quietly destroy us. Money, entertainment, food. If we give things the power to control us, even if they are perfectly innocent in small doses, they can tear us apart from the inside.

Addiction is selfish. It stems from our need to put ourselves first. Porn and food addicts put their mental cravings above that of their mental and physical health. They seek pleasure over stability. Alcoholics and druggies are simply searching for escape. They don't think they can handle their lives, so they do everything they can to forget them. They're selfishly ignoring the world around them, the people out there that need them, so that they can forget reality. They don't take into account that their actions could hurt the people who care about them.

I have someone I love dearly who is currently doing what he can to overcome an addiction to heroin. I've known him since he was little. He was so innocent. So happy. I remember the joyful light in his eyes when he was 7, and had been at an event with face painting. When he came to see me, his face was painted like a zebra. He was the cutest thing. We spent the day hiding in a closet, pretending to be secret agents. He was so full of life. He was so beautiful.

It's been 14 years since that day. He's been hospitalized on multiple occasions for overdosing, he's been homeless more times than I can count, not a soul in this world trusts him. He's bitter. He's hard. He's lost himself. He's paranoid. He thinks everyone is out to get him. Even me. It kills me. I love this kid. I want nothing more than to help him. To be there for him. But I can't. He thinks I'm the enemy. The years of drug use have rewired his brain, he has a long road to recovery.

His need to escape into drugs was a rebellious response to losing his own mother and brother to their addictions. Their selfish actions started a domino effect. Every choice you make can have an impact on the world around you.

You're not alone. There are people out there that care about you. Even if you've lost your family and friends and feel alone. This world is filled with compassionate hearts that bleed for those lost in addiction. We care. We love you. We want you back.


Jackelyn Stange