If you receive an email from me or browse my home page, you see I note I haven’t filled a load of trash since 2019 and last flew in 2016. I have also picked up litter daily since 2017.
People tell me it sets too high a bar for people. They tell me people feel like they can’t catch up so why start.
Recently I realized why I say it: for the reason recovering addicts say how long they’ve been sober. I haven’t been an alcoholic, but when I read on a message board someone say how they haven’t had a drink in three months and some other person says “I’ve been sober one year. I know how hard it was for me. You can make it. If you ever need help, I’m here,” I feel touched and inspired. It warms my heart. I don’t know if they tell each other when they recover to help others but I imagine they know what would have helped them.
I was addicted to behaviors that pollute and harm people. I felt helpless and hopeless, full of shame, guilt, and denial. Now that I’m off the addiction to flying, doof, binge television, social media, and all that craving-inducing stuff that kills people and wildlife, undermines democracy, and makes us miserable, I stopped lying to myself that it improved my life. I’m sharing that I’m sober for years.
Sadly for me, my messages to the world almost never find someone sober longer from this addiction to offer helpful words. I suspect if someone trying to kick heroin told their heroin buddies of trying to kick the addiction and they weren’t ready to kick theirs, they’d feel rejected and try to pull them back in by discouraging them. They’d say it wouldn’t work, that life is better this way, and all the bullshit I hear from people still addicted to doof, flying, and so on.
For once, I’d like to hear someone offer words of encouragement, let alone interest in trying to kick their addiction to polluting behaviors too, but they never come. People just tell me why they’re sticking with their addiction and other denial, as if their disposable coffee cup or shopping bag magically disappears without polluting.
In the meantime, I’m sober from flying nearly six years and doof nearly a decade. Every day is another victory.
As for picking up litter, I don’t accept living in the detritus of others’ addiction, what feels like a crack den. I don’t care if I can’t fix the world by myself overnight. I don’t accept garbage from a system you fund in my world. I hope you join me, partly be helping clean the world, but mainly by trying to kick the addiction.
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