I’ve unwittingly spent the last two years of my life getting an Associate’s Degree in Stuck. This is among the less lucrative fields of study, and I’ve never heard anyone bragging about this achievement at cocktail parties. It was expensive, it took a lot of time and effort, and it takes determination to see it through. But, I ended up learning a great deal about being Stuck. So, for the benefit of those contemplating this field, I’d like to share what I’ve learned:
Enrollment. There is a magical process for getting enrolled! You won’t even know it happened, and you’ll be perhaps in your second year of study before inklings of what’s happening begin to leak into your gut. Interestingly, these inklings will often serve to solidify the undercover nature of your pursuit, because by then you will have learned in the Rationalization class how to think about it. (Rationalization is a pretty easy class, but it is quite necessary for continuation, so don’t take it for granted.)
Cost. Holy shit, is this an expensive school. If I only knew up front! (But see ‘Enrollment’ above). This is tricky stuff. Besides all the money you spend on living, and coping (see especially ‘Substances’ below), it turns out that, while in school, you’re not making the money you would have made by working at a job instead of being Stuck. This latter deficit is known as ‘Opportunity Cost’ and you won’t find that class on the syllabus!
Independent Study. This degree is unique in that all students are Independent-Study and so anybody can pretty much get enrolled, regardless of demographic. I certainly didn’t think I would be the type of person who could swing it, but the tremendous flexibility of the Program allowed me to continue through one nowhere experience after another, and without regard to what I thought I wanted out of life. Hats off to the progressive nature of the Program.
Mail. I learned that mail needn’t be opened. The Mail classes were proving grounds for who really wanted to be Stuck, and those who couldn’t leave mail alone ended up leaving the Program. It sort of functioned as a weeding-out class similar to Organic Chemistry or Physics, I suppose. But, once you learn to abandon your mail, your odds of being Stuck go way up. The Rationalization class proved very useful here, e.g. “I don’t have room for one more piece of bad news in my Life.”
Life. Speaking of Life, I was taught in the Program that there was something in my life so bad that I deserved to be Stuck. I didn’t believe it initially, but when I raised concerns about the possibility that other people might go through tough times too, and were not necessarily Stuck, I was strongly reassured by the Administration that although this may be true in some respects, I was special. I had a special grievance, and certainly belonged in this school. (I think that this reassurance happened right around ‘Enrollment’ time, but I can’t be sure as the whole process seemed to happen magically).
Sleep. The Sleep classes were my favorite. One every semester! I learned that sleep makes all problems go away and that the more you sleep, the more credits you get toward your Stuck degree. So, on any given day, if you don’t want to ignore mail, use substances, rationalize away issues, or do anything counter-productive or self-destructive, you can just Sleep. Getting college credits for sleeping most of the day away is like getting interest on money in a bank! And it sure feels good. This might be the thing I miss the most now that I’ve graduated.
Substances. OMG where do I start?! This has to be everyone’s favorite class, second only to Sleep possibly with certain people. I learned the value of active obliteration, and how things can really be other people’s fault and one can feel even more ‘special’ with respect to grievances as substances kick in. And, here’s the crazy part: you can feel like this and feel happy at the same time with the aid of substances. Gold!
Relationships and Feelings. There are no Relationships and Feelings classes taught in the curriculum, and these subjects are expressly forbidden in this way: if it is found out that you are thinking about, let alone studying, relationships or feelings, you will be kicked out of the school.
Tomorrow. Every morning starts with the mantra “There’s always tomorrow!” much the way the Pledge of Allegiance is taught in Elementary Schools. I, and I suppose others, said this warily in the beginning of the Program, but, sure enough, by the end I was chirping this out with confidence. They know what they’re doing at this school!
Someone Else. Here’s another truly magical part. Anytime I began to feel any reservations about what the hell was happening, or not happening with me, I felt that it was happening to Someone Else, thanks to the excellent Someone Else class I took early in the Program. A prerequisite to it is the Disassociation class, and that was equally powerful. I feel I learned the tools to transfer negative realities to a cloud in the sky that would transfer the bad energy to someone else that was walking around in my stead. I don’t think I could have lasted as long in the Program had I not mastered this.
Graduation. Like I said, I graduated; I’m guessing I wasn’t supposed to. And things aren’t the same, as they are getting better. I got too much support and love from my partner, family and friends, I guess. I’m starting to become UnStuck. (They don’t even let you say that word while Enrolled!) I applied for a job today, started exercising again, and am in a self-help group, and am excited about the Spring.
Don’t let this happen to you!