Your 2-year-old is having a temper tantrum because he wants a new toy. Would you;
- Leave him alone until he calmed down
- Give into his demands
- Give him a tranquilizer
Your 7-year-old is anxious about next week’s Little League tryouts. Would you;
- Assure him that he can do it
- Practice with him and tell him to try his best
- Give him a valium every three hours until the game
Your 14-year-old is crushed when she is not asked to the sophomore dance. Would you;
- Fix her up with one of your friend’s children
- Tell her to go anyway
- Give her cocaine to pick up her spirits
Your 15-year-old is self-conscious about being 5 pounds overweight. Would you;
- Cook lower calorie meals
- Enroll her in a diet or exercise program
- Put her on appetite suppressants
All of these young people are experiencing what adults would consider “growing pains.” A little time, patience and positive reassuring will help them overcome all of these difficult situations.
The fact is, as long as anyone continues to develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, professionally or spiritually, they too will experience growing pains. Adults are prone to hurt, pain, sadness, depression and anxiety just as children are. These feelings are all necessary if we wish to continue to develop our minds and bodies. Without such growth, we would not experience happiness, satisfaction, contentment or purpose to their full extent.
The third choice in each of the above situations was, of course, ridiculous. We would not subject our children to chemical hazards to overcome such trivial problems. However, as adults we are fully capable of practicing such dangerous behaviors for our own relief. Take chewing as an example.
When you were still a chewer, how many times would you say you had to chew because you were lonely and sad without your friendly dip? How many times did you say that you had to chew because of all the stress in your life? How many times did you tell yourself that many social activities were just not fun without your chews? How many times did you say that you would gain too much weight if you quit chewing? All you were saying was that you needed nicotine, a drug, to overcome everyday life problems.
It was not until you were off chew that you realized you could overcome such problems without chewing, and in most cases more effectively than when you were a dipper. Once you had quit you realized just how much a source of stress dependence upon nicotine was to you. You were caught by a socially unacceptable and physically deadly addiction and were quite often aware of it. This is when you had the desire to give them up, but thought the pain of quitting too great to even attempt it.
Even today, you probably still desire an occasional chew. It may be in a stressful situation, at a party after a few drinks, or at a time when you find yourself alone with nothing better to do. The fact is, there is nothing worse you can do than take a chew. One chew will not help you over the problem. In reality, it will create a new problem, a disastrous situation of a revived and reinforced addiction, with all the physical dangers and the dirty means of delivery that come with it.
So, next time you have the desire for a chew, sit back and take a few moments to reflect upon what you are setting yourself up for. Do you need that drug? Do you want that addiction?
© Joel Spitzer 1982
The original article has been modified to be more relevant for dippers and chewers.