Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia is a city filled with historic locations and interesting places to visit. I am going to visit fun and exciting places in Richmond and all around so that you can too!

Just because you don’t believe it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

The question isn’t, “Are you listening?” as much as it is, “Can you hear me with an open mind?”

painted art multi color circular shapes within circle

This All Fits Together

During the last month I was talking to someone that told me that they do not believe alcoholism is a disease. I had to remain quiet for a moment because it is well documented that alcoholism is in fact a disease. It isn’t just a choice of a weak willed person. I paraphrased this quote that is found in a booked called, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism to the person talking to me…

“The disease of alcoholism is a two fold disease. It is an obsession of the mind, coupled with an allergy of the body. The obsession makes it impossible for the alcoholic to predict when he will start drinking, and the allergy makes it impossible for him to predict when he will stop drinking. Now, if he cannot predict when he will start drinking because of the obsession and cannot predict when he will quit drinking because of the allergy, then he is powerless over alcohol.”

The alcoholic can’t metabolize the sugar because they are allergic and in turn becomes addicted.

Earlier this year I wrote a post called, What You See Is Not Always What You Get where I discussed being an enabler. That was a very honest post about a core part of my personality. No one MAKES me write about these personal things. I do it because there is a stigma around so many topics that should NOT have any kind of stigma associated with them. Believe it or not, someone told me not to write so honestly about myself and that I should be writing happier things like art and architecture.

I wrote a post in 2012 called, 14 Reasons That You Should Read This Post About PTSD Now. Just as that person told me that they don’t believe alcoholism is real, I have also been told the same thing about PTSD and in just a few sentences you can hear my frustration in that older post…

“Do you know that there are people – normal, educated, functioning adults – that don’t believe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD for short) is a reality. I assume that since they don’t ‘believe’ in it, these people think that we make it up…

You know, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is as real as arthritis, cancer and heart attacks. Just because I’m not gushing blood out my ears or have an arm severed and barely hanging by the skin at the shoulder, doesn’t mean that my PTSD isn’t as real or painful or EXHAUSTING as any other disease or physical ailment. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be ‘in my brain,’ but it affects MY WHOLE DARN BODY.”

So let me summarize what I’ve said so far…

  • Alcoholism and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) have been scientifically proven to be REAL.
  • Alcoholism is a disease.
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is not a choice, but is caused by a traumatic event and can happen to anyone.
  • I’ve never drank a drop of alcohol, but if I did, I fear that I would probably be an alcoholic based on my obsessive personality tendencies. Therefore I will not ever drink and I’m really not ever tempted to drink.
  • I am an enabler of EVERYONE and not just alcoholics. I am working on not being an enabler.
  • There is no reason to have a stigma or make anyone feel shame for being an alcoholic, having PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), or for being an enabler. SILENCE about these issues only makes them worse and the people who are afflicted suffer alone because they don’t want to be shamed or treated unfairly because of the stigma.

close up painted art multi color circular shapes within circle

Now Let’s Talk About Listening

Listening involves much more than just hearing the words come out of another person’s mouth. Listening encompasses hearing, comprehending (understanding), retaining and responding.

The part of the listening process I want to focus on is comprehending.

In the discussions with the people who do not believe alcoholism is a disease or that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is real and not a choice, I can take several different approaches. One way would be to explain all the science behind the two conditions in order to prove that they are not choices by the afflicted person. In my opinion, this is the most logical approach, however, it doesn’t always work. Just because I explain myself thoroughly doesn’t mean that the listening ears are really listening.

Unless the person listening to me has an open mind and let’s go of all preconceived ideas, they will be unable to fully hear me.

Just because you don’t believe it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

If you are unwilling to fully listen, you will eventually paint yourself into a corner – a very uncomfortable, lonely and arrogant corner where no one else wants to ever visit.

hotel matches painted art multi color circular shapes within circle

When I Was In The Outer Banks…

When I went to my brother’s wedding on the beach in the Outer Banks, I thoroughly enjoyed riding around and looking at everything.

One day we came upon this big painting on the side of a building. Upon closer inspection, it looked like jelly beans within a large circle that was painted on the windowless side of a hotel building. These jelly bean shaped painted features matched the colors that the hotel had been painted.

That’s it. Nothing else about the painting.

No wait!

The painted features of this big painting were also textured which made them three dimensional. So from a distance it just looked like a giant circle with colored oblongs within it, but up close it was very textured.

At first glance you may be ignorant in a particular topic, but nothing stops you from learning except yourself. When you hear something that sounds absurd, frightens you or makes you uncomfortable, just squeal the tires and open your mind. Prepare yourself to hear and listen without judging.

Often what you THINK you know or see is NOT really the truth or the whole truth. Don’t assume the worst about someone or a situation and definitely don’t become arrogant in your ignorance.

textured painted art multi color circular shapes within circle

Just because you don’t believe it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

You’ve Got Issues

We all have problems, issues, opportunities, room for improvement, flaws or any other word you want to use to describe them. Your problems are not totally unique because thousands or millions of other people have the same problem. For instance, do you feel like you are the only person in the world who is overweight? too skinny? not smart? not handsome or pretty? scared? an alcoholic? a diabetic? afflicted with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? contemplating suicide? in an unhealthy relationship? mentally sick?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Other people are suffering with the same problem or problems that you now struggle with daily.

Imagine if people stopped putting a label of shame on all the different conditions that are to some extent out of your control at the moment. Imagine if everyone rallied around to support you in your journey to heal or change. Imagine if you didn’t feel like you had to hide your condition.

That has always been my choice while writing this blog…tell or not tell. When I get right down to it, if people don’t want to love me because they know the real me, then what am I losing?

That’s right. I won’t lose anything. If someone can’t love me just as I am with all my inadequacies, then I don’t really want to have them in my life to sit upon their arrogant throne and judge me. How’s that for being honest?

Are you listening? Do you hear me? Can I get an Amen, Giddy up, Hallelujah, Yeehaw or something?!!!

Hey, don’t forget…

Just because you don’t believe it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

palm trees with painted art multi color circular shapes within circle

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