Dat dere title is definitely dominated by “D-words!” Okay, okay, enough of the shenanigans, I’ll get to the meat and potatoes!
I want to take a minute and talk about things we can’t seem to do without, our crutches, our fix, you know.. dependencies. Dependencies come in many shapes and forms. Although most people think of drugs, there are other things many people become dependent upon over time. Let’s brainstorm some examples, drugs included:
- Prescription medication
- Prescription eyeglasses
- Grocery store merchandise
Do you partake in any of the above on a normal basis? Don’t worry, I’m not here to preach to you about going to AA meetings, or getting the patch. I’m far from perfect myself. I just want to provoke some thought on your part.
Let’s start by discussing me for a moment. I am an ex-pack-a-day smoker, 3 soda-per-day drinker, who enjoys a good libation now and then, and used to be blind as a bat. So, as you can see, I fit nearly every category I listed above! I think it’s important to tell you where I’m coming from because I want it to be clear that I m not being condescending when I say, we can do better! WAY better. Why? Because during a disaster is NOT the time you want to be going through withdrawals from those dependencies. It’s NOT the time you want to be blind, and it’s definitely not the time to be without any food storage/supplies.
A few years back, when I was still smoking, there was an ice storm in the town where I was stationed (you can read that story on the About Me page.) The ice storm knocked out power for weeks. Do you know what two things the local stores sold out of first? As sad as it is: tobacco and beer, and as a smoker I found this alarming. It wasn’t alarming because I thought people had their priorities mixed up, it was alarming because “Oh no! I’m going to run out of smokes!” and I did. I was miserable.
I was an addict, going through withdrawals, without power, in a disaster, and it was torturous. Then I ran out of soda, and with ice on the roads, stores weren’t getting their deliveries. So now here I am, an Emergency Management Volunteer, hardly able to see straight, “CAN I JUST GET A SMOKE AND A DR. PEPPER ALREADY!$@#” Now, to top it off (yes it got worse,) I slipped on the ice, fell, and lost a contact lens. My last one. So there I was, a cigarette yearning, caffeine deprived, blind young man that you did NOT want to mess with. Let me say it again: I was miserable.
Fortunately, as an Emergency Management Volunteer, I was exposed to some people with dependencies that simply cannot be overcome with sheer will-power. People such as elderly folks on oxygen, patients of all ages on dialysis, and more recently, my 12 year old niece who is a recently-diagnosed Type 1 diabetic and completely dependent upon insulin injections. It is a sobering realization. One that, for me, created a feeling of responsibility to do what I can to be more self-sufficient and independent.
I decided then, it was time to make a change.
- I started working on food/water storage to reduce my dependency on grocery stores during short term outages.
- I quit smoking (well, I still use an electronic cigarette without nicotine from time to time.. I know, I know. I’m just being honest.)
- I saved up and had LASIK eye surgery to eliminate my contact lens dependency.
I can certainly do more, and I can certainly do better. But can’t we all?
Consider YOUR dependencies. Be honest with yourself. Maybe you just cant live without chap-stick? Sure, you can stock up, but imagine if you just didn’t have it. It wouldn’t be fun, right? Look, I’ve been through my fair share of disasters. They all suck! Why compound the suck with the anxiety of withdrawal from those must-haves? What can you do today to lessen the burden if a disaster hit tomorrow?
Getting prepared is certainly not an overnight process, it takes time, careful consideration, and sometimes money. I’m not here to try my luck at motivational speaking, all I ask is that you consider what things you can do to make it easier to cope when a disaster hits. Follow-through is up to you, but I’ll tell you, just the three things I’ve changed (listed above) have made a dramatic difference for me. I’m very proud of where I’m headed. You will be too.
Remember, being prepared is about minimizing risk! The less dependent you are, the easier a disaster will be on you. The more you do now, the less you’ll have to worry about later.
Have you made a change? Maybe you kicked a bad habit, started storing food, or like me, got eye surgery so that you could see without glasses. Congratulations! I’d love to hear about it. Don’t be shy, hop in and tell us about it in the comments below!