Total Pageviews

Sunday, January 24, 2010

S.E.P.'s and how to achieve them

Short excerpt from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

“Shhh,” said Ford. He screwed his eyes up in concentration.
“Shhh,” Said Ford again. He covered one eye and looked with the other.
Ford was beginning to behave rather strangely, or rather not actually beginning to behave strangely but behave in a way that was strangely different from the other strange ways in which he more regularly behaved. What he was doing was this. Regardless of the bemused stares it was provoking from his fellow members of the crowed gathered round the pitch, he was waving his hands in sharp movements across his face, ducking down behind some people, leaping up behind others, then standing still and blinking a lot. After a moment or two of this he started to walk forward slowly and stealthily, wearing a puzzled frown of concentration, like a leopard that is not sure whether it's just seen a half empty tin of cat food half a mile away on across a hot and dusty plain.....

The sun continued to shine and Ford continued to jump up and down shaking his head and blinking.
“Something's on your mind isn't it?” said Arthur.
“I think,” said Ford in a tone of voice that Arthur by now recognized as one that presaged something utterly unintelligible, “that there's an S. E. P. over there.”

“A what?”
“An S.E.P.”
“An S...”
“And what is that?”
Somebody Else's Problem,” said Ford.

“An S.E.P., “ he said, “is something that we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. That's what S.E.P. Means. Somebody Else's Problem. The brain just edits it out; it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.

End of excerpt, beginning of blog.

I think, that by now, we have all come to the point of “Just exactly WHAT is this detachment thingy, and how the HELL do we do it?

Some of you have conquered it. Some of you never will. As in all the blogs, we can only share what works for us, may not work for you.

For me, and believe me when I tell you that upon hearing me utter the following statement, the earth will immediately develop an eccentricity in it's orbit caused by the collective dead bodies of uncountable philosopher's spinning in their graves...

Douglas Adams may just have been the most profound philosopher of them all. Although an Athiest, which I am not, he didn't, in his books, deny God.

Rather, he quirkily and engagingly wrote about the absurdity of life. How not much of it is ever going to make sense. That totally inexplicable things are going to happen, over and over and over and over.
Another philosopher I have studied is Viktor Frankl. He was a survivor of the Nazi death camps. To summarize his basic philosophy, “you cannot control what happens to you in life, but you CAN control your reaction to the event.”

So, back to detachment.

The addiction of your child. needs to become an S.E.P.

It already is actually. You just don't realize it yet.

You have finally managed to catch it out of the corner of your eye, and now you know that it is there, so it is no longer invisible.

In the book, they were actually talking about a spaceship which had landed, unexpectedly, on the Lord's Cricket Ground in London. Thousands of people were walking around it, avoiding it, but not even noticing it was there because it was an S.E.P.

Since you know your child's addiction, you notice everything about it. You notice their look, their eyes, their demeanor, their habits, their actions, their movements, their money, their sleep patterns.

If they live with you, it's unavoidable. They cannot be an S.E.P., not yet.

But, after they leave. After they are on their own, they CAN and SHOULD be relegated to the realm of S.E.P.'s.

Because it is NOT your problem. It is THEIR problem.

I think it is possible to send a known issue back to S.E.P. Status.

Of course, we had to find out they were addicts. Then, we all had to try and fix them. It didn't work. Won't work. Some of them happened to fix themselves long about the time that we tried to fix them and it LOOKS like the parent succeeded in saving their child. Wrong. The child succeeded in saving themselves, the timing was just Hinky.

After you have passed those two stages, finding out, and trying to fix them, you need to allow the situation to become an S.E.P.

“I only know as much about myself as my mind can work out under its current condition, and right now, its current condition is not good.” Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy.


  1. Great book, great analogy. Thanks for sharing it here!

  2. Clever post, love the analogy. I'd like to add..when we let it become S.E.P. it is still OUR tax dollars in the form of jail, prison, crime, rehabs, social services, ER visits, and junky yada, yada, yada.

    So, Fractal, I'll differ with you by saying it is always our problem to some extent!

  3. I loved that book The Meaning Of Life by Victor Frankl. He knew pain and powerlessness even more than most of us. He found dignity in his pain.

  4. That may become a new code word around my house.... love the analogy!

  5. Lou, I'll give ya that one !! but then it is a P O L I T I C A L issue and not a personal problem eh?

    So I think it can still be an S.E.P., and we can stay active politically to insure that our tax dollars do what we vote them to do?

  6. Fractalmom, I am so glad I found your blog. I just started reading it from where it starts. So much wisdom and I have so much to learn. I am just getting to the part of my recovery that I can even begin accept the S.E.P. concept. Thank you for sharing.