Tuesday, April 13, 2021 7:37 am
*May we not indulge in the very thing that will kill us…
By Ena Ofugara
I want to have a conversation with Abraham Harold Marslow, the great American psychologist and his hierarchy of needs and ask him this: Someone is hungry and he or she gets given 20 bucks. What will the following people do with the 20 bucks?
Man A, Alcoholic.
Woman B, crack user.
Girl C, weed smoker.
Boy D, Naija bet gambler.
Marslow had given us this “hierarchy of needs” that made food and water and shelter (physiological/physical need) man’s greatest and foremost need. I make bold to say that maybe Marslow was not so right.
If food and shelter were man’s greatest need, how come Money for RENT or Shelter is spent on gambling, alcohol, drugs, shopping, and…. and… and religion?
Yes religion. The story of the Widow’s Mite as told by Jesus in Luke 21. 1-4 of a widow giving her last Mite (money) to the synagogue (church) or of the woman feeding Elijah with her last morsel of cake and oil, FOOD she had kept for herself and ….We derail.
Addiction is our basest need. Our addiction is our refuge and solace and peace.
But substance abuse… phew!!!
Michael Jackson, Prince, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Avicii, and now DMX. These are stars. Everyday, someone who has sought to run away from the world, and like the snail, sought solace in the shell of drugs and alcohol, die.
But what are they running from? For DMX, his sister shared something that inspired this writing. She talked about his childhood and how his mother took him to an orphanage and lied she was coming back and left him there, where he was bullied. Was he raped? Swizzbeat, DMX producer says DMX even went to jail TO BE FREE, free from his “demons” and things no one else could see or reach him and heal him.
And X reached to God and prayed for others and for himself. His prayers may not have been loud enough for heaven to hear. Or maybe heaven did
“Plenty of times you sent help my way, but I hid
And I remember once you held me close, but I slid” Prayer Song. DMX
So NO. Mchael Jackson needed propofol, drug that relaxes your blood vessels and puts you to sleep over food and shelter. He knows it could kill him, still that refuge was all he sought. He barely ate. He needed solace from the pressures of the world, pressures his very soul felt, and none could reach him to help him.
Today, what is your refuge? What is your peace? What is your addiction? Is it sex? Has it ruined your marriage, career, relationship… Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein and many many men and a few women?
Is it shopping? Is it food? Do you shop or eat when you want to shelter from a pressure only your subconscious feels?
If it is religion, lucky you. May heaven hold you in her arms and comfort you.
For those like DMX to those who are in dark places, and who are;
“slipping and falling and can’t get up”
and who ask
“”Damn, was it my fault, somethin’ I did/ to make a father leave his first kid at 7 doin’ my first bid?” – “Slippin'” (1998)
or those who say to themselves
“”All I know is pain, all I feel is rain/ How can I maintain with that s— on my brain.” – “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” (1998)
Even when they have succeeded and been blessed by God and by their talent and hard work, still they reference their pain
“You wanna be me? Here’s what you do/ Grow up neglected by both parents and still pull through.” – “Do You” (2000)
Seek help. Maybe religion is a good substitute for the other refuges and solaces. Maybe you need a professional psychologist. I do not have the answers. I … I can only stretch out my hand in prayer, keeping my lighter in my pocket and like DMX say
“I come to you hungry and tired, …give food and let me sleep
I come to you weak, … give strength and that’s deep…”
That we all may say, as DMX said, but with better resolution than he had…
“It’s a wonderful feeling, to get away from the pain
And up under the ceiling, I get away from the rain
And the strain that I feel when I’m here, is gone
I know real so I wipe away the tears, with a song
May we not find peace, solace and refuge in the very thing that will kill us. Amen.
Rest now Earl DMX Simmons.
-Ena Ofugara, lawyer and public affairs analyst, writes from Houston, Texas, United States.