If this is not the most prejudiced question I have seen in a long time! Let’s see, why do gamblers gamble as a means of escaping reality? Or why do overeaters eat as a means of escaping reality? Or why do workaholics work as a means of escaping reality? Or why do sex addicts use sex as a means of escaping reality? Why does man blame as a means of escaping reality? Ad infinitum! The Big Book (BB)of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA); in the “Doctor’s Opinion”, states: “Men and women drink basically for the effect”. This effect, my friend, is for pleasure; for peace; for love; and/or for acceptance. There is not a human being alive who is not seeking this effect! Any and all worldly pleasures are of the same nature, do not be fooled by your own justification of your actions. It is all selfish and it is all a means of escaping reality. To better phrase this: “We do this to create a reality that fits our imagination”!
I am an alcoholic. I entered the halls of AA on July 17, 1984 at age 24. I have not been “sober” these 23+ years, but, I have been “sober” for the majority of this time. And yes; my one and only excuse, for drinking myself into oblivion was; as the title goes, to escape this reality. In my journey to understanding me and my disease, I found this “reality” that I was trying to escape was a “reality” I created in the first place. I found myself seriously contemplating the idea of “reality” and what “sobriety” really means? One point worth re-emphasizing is this escaping reality is not limited; by any means, to alcohol and drug addiction. Any idea that any one wrong is better or worse than another is relative to man’s perception as a means to justify his own actions. In Jas 2:10 it says “And the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as the person who has broken all of God’s laws”. The idea that there are degrees of right and wrong are man’s way of escaping his guilt. The fact is; if you are right, then you are right. There can be no partial right and remain righteous. Justice is just in accordance to law, and law is in accordance to Truth’s immutability, not mans’ understanding of it. And; conversely, there can be no partial wrong. A little poison will kill you and it does not matter if you do not understand this, do not believe this, or think you were right. Here is where justification of guilt makes it stand. All justification of guilt is a means to escape the “idea” that one is wrong. I am not saying that wrong is reality. On the contrary, I am saying that the “idea” of wrong is not real. Any means of escaping it is not real and any idea that is projected onto another (aka: blame) perceived as wrong, is wrong. We all have heard that “2 wrongs do not make a right!” and any perceived wrong is just as wrong as the one perceived as doing the wrong.
The “idea” of “wrong” is the “fruit” of “lack of knowledge” which also produces doubt. All doubt produces fear. All fear produces belief in a false reality. A false reality is logically a “wrong” perception of what “reality” is. All false reality is insane; for by definition, sanity is synonymous with reality. And sobriety; by definition, does not just imply without alcohol; but, it means free from extravagance. The key in this definition is better understood through the word “extravagance” which states the quality of exceeding the appropriate limits of behavior or probability or truth. Breaking this down; sobriety means free from excessive speech, free from excessive work, free from excessive shopping, free from excessive eating, free from excessive sex, free from excessive worry, free from excessive drinking, etc. All these are concerning behavior. Then we have free from excessive “truth”; which infers lying, because Truth has no excess. Anything exceeding Truth is something other than Truth and there is nothing other than Truth, but only as perceived through the imagination. This is the where the probability factor comes in. Probability is the likelihood or chance that an event will happen. Let’s see; if you drink too much you’re going to get drunk, if you eat too much you’re going to get fat; if you worry too much you’re going to have stress and all its repercussions; if you spend too much you going to have financial problems; if you want for (anything) too much you’re going to need (anything you’re wanting for) too much; if you’re angry or discontent all the time you’re going to meet with trouble all the time; etc. Is this not the epitome of mankind? It does not matter which one of any of these particular behaviors; or combination of them that you are party to, and we all have at least one, the definition states that indulgence would be of a non-sober nature! Another most overlooked definition of sobriety is to be of sound mind, aka sanity.
I know denial is man’s greatest means of escape from reality and many readers will balk at the next comment I am going to state; but the Truth is, the mind of man is in a state of insanity. We so love to point the finger at others whose behaviors are not considered “the norm”. But, this “norm” is always relative to the things that are familiar to us. This is where “Familiarity breeds contempt” and all this contempt is prejudice! Prejudice is defined as judgment made beforehand or without knowledge. People believe their experience; being their “familiarity”, constitutes “knowledge”, and their opinions and decisions based on this experience, yields an informative; therefore, “sound”, reliable, realistic opinion or decision. This could not be farther than the Truth! All this prior “knowledge”; being this experience, is excessive, as it pertains to the “now”. What is actually happening is a recreating of the past. We do not “see” things as they are; we are looking through the “eyes” of the past through “smoked screened glasses”, as the saying goes. This forms a judgment tainted with all the feelings of the prior experience. This judgment was made beforehand and without or “lack” of knowledge of the “now”. “Now” is not “then” and to put the “then” in the “now” repeats the “then” “now” and “now” we are asking; insanely I will add, “why me”, again and again! This is wrong or; perhaps better stated is our imaginary reality. All is a result of “lack of knowledge” which is not “lack” in the way we think of as “no or little” knowledge; but rather paradoxically, it is excessive knowledge of the wrong kind that leads to a judgment of “ill repute”. It is our experience that we deem worthy because we can see it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or hear it. We never contemplate that these are just feelings; of a seeming tangible nature, that are used as a tool to interpret; through the 5 senses, Truth. This interpretation, being “now” our experience, is not; in and of itself, the Truth; but, rather, just an interpretation of Truth. As our interpretation is concerned, it is in excess of Truth, since Truth needs nothing to be Truth. Truth is “being” not doing. This is a bit confusing, but; Truth is immutable. To be changeless implies no motion; as in doing or experiencing, because all motion constitutes change. Interpretation infers a change in Truth to fit understanding and a belief that this interpretation is real because it has been experienced. This is backwards thinking. Truth does not conform to our idea or interpretation of it and it is for this reason that “you reap what you sow”. Paul states in Rom 12:2 “Be not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind” for this very reason. You will continue to live in an imaginary reality as long as you continue to believe that your interpretation is real. This does not matter how “good” or “bad” your intentions are, both are “fruits” of the same tree and are relative to your interpretation. Okay, let’s go on
Any and all wrong due to “lack of knowledge” produces the idea of a world where one could; through imagination, escape from, by the means produced by this “lack of knowledge”. This is insane. How could one escape from an imaginary reality through imaginary solutions? It is impossible! This is where “people are destroyed” through “lack of knowledge” as God states in Hos 4:6. This destruction is through all means; of no particular degree, that man uses to seek the peace, love, and joy he never seems to attain. Short, fleeting moments perhaps; through any of the things he believes will serve as the means of escape; leave man empty and no closer to the door of freedom that the Truth promises. Perplexed and frustrated he sits alone and lonely; wondering, “why me?”; “what have I done to deserve this?”; “why can’t have I what they have?” or “why can’t I be like them?” This is the curse of mankind.
Alcohol and drugs are “fruit” of a much deeper problem. The BB of AA says alcohol is a symptom. What is a symptom? You may find the definition quite interesting, I know I did. The definition states a symptom is: Pathology: a phenomenon that arises from and accompanies a particular disease or disorder and serves as an indication of it. Syn.: signal, token, MARK. From a medical standpoint, a symptom is not the disease! But, it is a signal; as a warning; that there is something wrong. Pain is a signal something is hurt, bleeding is a signal something is cut, crying is a signal of sadness, laughing is the signal of something funny, simple enough, right? Addiction is a symptom, a signal, A WARNING, a MARK of something too! A symptom; as a token, is like a “fruit”. Jesus says “a tree is known by its fruit”. The flu is known by its “fruit” which are many; fever, headache, sore throat, etc. But, all are “one” disease “the flu”. Addiction, medical science has now acknowledged, is a disease. Yet, like the flu, it has many different symptoms. The disease is sin, spread through guilt, and manifested as fear. Deception is the many roads or “symptoms” we seek to escape through justification and it is a “mark” upon the head of man. No one is immune! This “mark” is fear in its many form of deceptions. It states in the Book of Revelation that it is on the forehead or on the hand. The forehead is where the “mind” sits and the hand (representative of the 5 senses) is what feeds the mind. It is insanity; fed and nurtured by experience.
This “mark” placed on Cain; who, as the “first fruits” of Adam and Eve, was a murderer. Murder is defined as to deprive of life. When God said to Adam “in the day that you eat of the forbidden fruit you will surely die” and Adam obviously did not die; for the bible says he lived to be 930 years old, one must logically conclude that this death was not of a physical nature. Death would no doubt be deprivation of life. One of the definitions under life is actual reality. I’d like to pose this question for curiosity sake: “Are we really alive when we are in bondage to alcohol or drugs or food or bling bling or gossip or shopping or gambling or anger or depression or stress or hypertension or high cholesterol or cancer or diabetes, etc.? It seems all we do is work to maintain the reality we are told is “normal” and then we use every imaginable thing possible as a means of escaping this imaginary reality we think we need to maintain. But, get this, we created this imaginary reality; as a standard, we think we must not only maintain; but, adhere to. God gave man dominion over the world, and man gave it to the world! This is insanity and insanity is all vanity and a chase after the wind! The one and only cure from this insane, backward, thinking false reality we created is to “know the Truth, and THE TRUTH will make you free!”
1 Cor 3:18 “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may become wise. (“the wisdom of this world” is as I spoke above, our experience that produces prejudice and wild imaginations of a false reality):19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
All man deceives himself and his futility is evidenced in the endless sea of the lusts of the flesh (aka lake of fire), and the way God catches the wise in their own craftiness is evidenced in what he is reaping. Man’s escape methods are getting graver and the prognosis is not looking good for his future.
Eccl 1:2″>He catches the wise in their own craftiness “Meaningless! Meaningless!” Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.”