PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS
This summer has seen the severe disciplining of several major league baseball players for using performance enhancing drugs. One player, Alex Rodriguez, was loudly booed by the New York Yankee fans when he came out to play after planning to appeal his very lengthy suspension from the game. It wasn’t very long ago that the news media treated us to the sad, lengthy saga of Lance Armstrong for his using performance enhancing drugs in the Tour de France bicycle races. The National Football League has just announced a new study trying to discover whether or not its players are similarly involved. The media and large portions of the public seem to be offended and/or horrified by all this.
The same TV programs that bring us information about this feature advertising for such things as 5 Hour Energy, Cialis, Viagra, Levitra, etc. Simply put, these are performance enhancing drugs. In 2008 the public spent nearly two billion dollars on Viagra. Last year 5 Hour Energy sales topped one billion dollars and Cialis passed the $900,000 mark.
What makes performance enhancing drugs so appealing? Perhaps the belief that we are not enough is a major part of the appeal. Often we think that if we can just do more work, have more sex, keep going farther, longer, harder than maybe we will be enough. But it doesn’t work that way. A few years ago the NCAA ran some TV commercials about performance enhancing drugs that featured a human statue and showed various parts of it (arms, legs, etc.) falling off. The point was clear: the use of these drugs is physically debilitating. Sometime when you see the ads for these various products, listen carefully to the disclaimers which warn us about all sorts of dire effects that might result from using these medications---and Cialis even now has an “everyday” dose. Apparently our society is willing to sacrifice long-term health for a few more “high performance” moments. This is an awesome cost that we pay trying to appease the irrational belief that we are not enough.
You might think that some of these “medications” are aimed at actual physical health issues. However, the mass marketing betrays the producers’ belief that we all need these. Everyone gets hungry and we don’t treat hunger as a clinical condition. Everyone gets sleepy and we don’t usually treat fatigue as a clinical condition. The human desire for sexual gratification is not a medical or clinical issue. Some things change as we age. But old age is not a clinical condition. So we have a host of companies out there trying to convince us that we are not enough—and we, as a society, are buying into that belief with huge sums of money.
The belief that we are not enough is a spiritual issue with emotional overtones. It cannot be addressed by doing or obtaining more of anything. It can only be addressed by challenging the irrational beliefs we treasure and have sometimes inherited. Part of that means we need to understand what it really means to be human. Spiritually sensitive counseling, such as that provided by the Fresh Aire staff, can help people to break through the bondage of irrational beliefs and discover a new freedom as we celebrate our humanity---the God-created reality that we are enough just as we are.