Am I making a difference?

Our sky here in NM is covered with thick, grey clouds today.  Though the sun should already be lighting up my writing desk, I had to turn on the lights so that I can see clearly.

I’m all about clarity; I write and I teach about substance abuse and addiction so that as many people can learn and then understand the mechanics of what appears to be a sort of social suicide in progress.  In understanding this social suicide known as addiction, I hope that we can all turn the tables and begin to heal our families and communities.

I came across the following line in a recent book about substance abuse counseling: “one would be hard pressed to find real support for the generalization that the provision of information can be counted on to bring about desired changes in attitude or behavior” (Lewis, Dana, & Blevins; 2011).  Really, this line pretty much pissed me off because, as an educator, I spend quite a bit of time providing information in the exact hope of bringing about changes in attitudes and behavior.  But, this book is telling me that providing information can’t be counted on to bring change. What the hell am I supposed to do then?  I can’t live on anyone else’s behalf, nor can turn the tide on the social suicide occurring in my community by myself.  I have to write and teach and the biggest part of writing and teaching is doing the exact thing that this book is telling me can’t be counted upon.

The thing is, knowledge can’t become knowledge without information.  It’s up to everyone to take information they gather and then use it in some specific way.  If we can’t or won’t use information, then it will never become knowledge.  For me, the purpose of gathering information is to improve my world in some way or another.

For example, I love music and I read and practice as much as time allows.  I’m especially interested in how various frequencies can alter moods or not.  I do this research (which is nothing more than gathering information) so that I can use it as another tool to replace a substance.  If I come to know something, it’s because I took the information and applied it in some way or another.  Then and only then does information become knowledge.

Many times I’ve questioned whether or not I’m making a difference.  I think, though, that I’ve been asking the wrong question.  The real question is: Are you?

Me and other teachers (and doctors and nurses and pastors and priests, etc) do what we can to provide information.  We turn on the lights, but it’s up to you to act in the light.

  1. “We turn on the lights, but it’s up to you to act in the light.”

    You have a freaking good point, Mr. Blea. Accepting help from others is kind of helping the self, too, at the same time, alright.

  2. “We turn on the lights, but it’s up to you to act in the light.”

    You have a freaking good point, Mr. Blea. Accepting help from others is kind of helping the self, too, at the same time, alright.