Thursday, September 03, 2009

When Did It Start?

So, 70 years ago today Britain & France declared war on Nazi Germany (as required by their treaties with Poland). Germany had crossed the Polish border on September 1st, giving the world a first glimpse of what would come to be called "blitzkrieg" (lightning war).

Traditionally, Sept. 1, 1939 is marked as the "first day of World War 2"... but that ignores the Spanish Civil War, the Anschluss in Austria & the annexation of the Sudetenland. We must also consider that the Japanese invaded China in 1931. (Sadly, too many Americans have narrow "U.S. First" blinders and see the war as beginning on December 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor.)

So when did it start? While that may be an important question for history tests, it blithely assumes that we can assign simple cause & effect rules to the decisions of nations & world leaders. I do not believe we can circle a date in red marker & declare it "the beginning point of a cataclysm."

In the same way, I think it's important for those of us who struggle with addictive issues to remember that the battle to stay "clean" (whether not taking the next drink or shoveling the next bit of food into our mouths or clicking on the XXX link) doesn't have a particular starting point. The struggle to avoid a shopping addiction isn't the moment you hand the sales clerk your credit card... it begins much earlier, when you fondle the merchandise on the shelf, or when you get in your car to drive to the mall, or when you begin dreaming about how good it will feel to have something new in a shopping bag. In my case, the battle with porn didn't begin with the pictures or the erotic text - it started in the moments where I felt powerless & tired & unappreciated.

It doesn't even have to be an addiction - for example, the decision to rent a hotel room by the hour & have an adulterous affair doesn't start with handing the hotel desk clerk a wad of cash.

Where does your battle start? Whatever just popped into your head, think again. Maybe it starts a whole lot earlier.

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