The Definition of Insanity…

…is, as is widely quoted, doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result.

When I spoke at Holy Cross College in MA a couple of years ago, the head of the Naval ROTC detachment, a Navy officer nearing on 30 years of service, who I dined with prior to the lecture, offered this observation: “I’ve been in the Navy since the early 80s. I have spent over half that time, nearly 20 years, in and around the Middle East. First hand, I can ask, what have we accomplished?”

Professor Andrew Bacevich of Boston University, a historian, philosopher and 23 year military veteran, and a personal hero of mine, asks this question on Bill Moyers. If you have twenty some odd minutes, take the time to watch one of our country’s keenest minds and perspectives on foreign affairs, national security, and national conscience and values.

And, if I may extend the definition of insanity theme to a personal issue: when I struggle with drinking, when I have that desire to drink, to give up and submit, to take a bottle and wash my misery afloat in my head and strangle my soul, it is often that thought, that understanding that drinking again will do nothing more than it ever did before, that helps me gain control again and think rationally. I’ve found, or, more aptly, I’ve been taught, that if I can withstand the first 20 or 30 minutes of desire for drink and surrender, then rational thinking and reason can assume priority and I can avoid relapsing. As always, if I can be of any help to anyone struggling, please contact me.

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