Thoughts a Fruitcake: Highs and lows of life today – by Carolyn Aldis

SMOKING: After the high comes a crashing low.
SMOKING: After the high comes a crashing low.
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So, today I walked past the group of secondary school students who gather everyday outside the corner shop, filling their roll ups.

Although it’s encouraging to see them building a sense of community as they share their roll ups with each other, I find I am also disappointed that at 8.30 in the morning, they are looking for something to get them through the day. It got me thinking about the highs, both legal and illegal, that cause misery in our communities and to our emergency services. It’s been reported that the police and paramedics are seeing an increase in 999 calls linked to the effects from legal highs, often mixed with alcohol. The behaviour of the predominantly young men who take them becomes more hostile. See for yourself the footage on Newsbeat of a male youth being persuaded to get into an ambulance by 3 policemen, all trying to dodge his punches. The very people sent out to help him are themselves having to avoid getting hurt. On top of that conditions such as heart attacks, cardiac arrests, strokes, seizures and unconsciousness are being seen as the results of people taking these legal highs.

It got me thinking about the highs, both legal and illegal, that cause misery in our communities and to our emergency services.

In our very own county, we’ve got the first city-wide ban on people taking legal highs that came into force in Lincoln earlier this year, to discourage people from taking them and then hanging around and causing anti-social behaviour. Both of the city’s “head shops”- which specialised in selling legal highs - have closed. It’s clear that just because it is currently legal doesn’t mean that it is a safe thing to do. In reality, alcohol and cigarettes are themselves legal highs too and yet the health hazards linked to them are huge…the trouble with these substances is that after the high comes a crushing low and the cycle of needing to feel high again increases and so it goes on…you can see how the addiction begins.

It’s seems sad that we sink so low to achieve a high. The thing is, illegal or not, the desire to experience a high that has serious consequences, can lead to health issues, even possibly a premature death seems so wrong, not just on a physical level but on an emotional and spiritual one. Whether it kills us now or later, something has already died inside of us, to seek out such unsatisfying ways to feel high and great again…if our emotional well-being is hinged on the next fix, be that a cigarette, a doughnut, a ‘joint’, whatever, then surely there is something wrong with our inner lives and that is what really needs to be dealt with…

It’s a tough nut to crack. So where do we go from here?

How do we get to the root of the issue when we don’t really know what we’re trying to fix in the first place? Maybe to start with instead of looking for the high we just need to look up: I’ve found that getting Heaven’s viewpoint helps put some perspective on it: it could be the outside medicine we need for the inside pain.