What’s it going to take to get us sober?

Our addiction to fossil fuels is killing us — and the rest of the planet. We just named Trump our higher power. When will we hit rock bottom?

BRATTLEBORO — There should be a 12-step program for oil addiction. One in which our nation could humbly admit our powerlessness in dealing with our addiction to this substance and turn our country over to god.

There isn't, and we didn't.

We gave it to Trump.

It often seems to take a sobering event to create change. What's it going to take to get us sober?

In our case, the sobering event is ubiquitous, but the greatest of human flaws - trying to avoid suffering, a.k.a. denial - is running the show fueled by a savvy few making money off of feeding our denial and turning us against one another.

* * *

We want to change; we voted primarily for change.

We had an honest candidate, one who pointed out the sources of our illness. He was more than shoved aside, despite the fact that he offered appropriate change. It was just too easy to make way for more of the same old money on the same old table.

Left with a choice of the same-old and inappropriate change, we voted for inappropriate change.

We now face four more years of not getting sober.

Sobriety would require us to recognize that our addiction is killing us and all of the rest of the people (not to mention other creatures) on this planet. The anthropomorphic-god- based 12-step program gets us to turn our lives over to god and respect the body that god has blessed us with. But we have to look in the mirror and take a sober look at ourselves and the destruction our denial-based lack of reality is creating.

We don't have to look very far.

Often, well-intended others enable addictive behavior without the addict's awareness. In our case, we have others who, once again, faced with limited options, have had to choose to channel our money/business to those who manufacture the lowest, rot-gut whiskey form of our addiction: tar-sands oil extraction and the pipeline distribution of it, including the Dakota Access Pipeline.

And most of us don't even know it.

* * *

When I heard that the state of Vermont does its banking with TD Bank, I went looking for the connection between the state and this bank. It didn't instantly show up in my search.

So I looked up the 2015 Annual Report from the Office of the Treasurer and finally, on page 62 of the 70-page report, I spied in the fine print: “TD Bank, N.A. serves as the State's master banking contractor.”

A quick search online reveals the fact that Toronto Dominion Bank is deeply involved in tar sands extraction investment and multiple pipelines. During the debate over Keystone XL, James Hansen, at the time NASA's top climate scientist, famously wrote in The New York Times that if these “dirtiest of fuels” are fully exploited, “it will be game over for the climate.

It is predicted that in 34 years, the rivers that flow into southeast Asia and the India subcontinent from the Himalayan glaciers will be gone. Miami is already flooding, people's ability to farm and eat and feed their families is being thwarted by the weather we've created.

The Leonardo DiCaprio/National Geographic film “Before the Flood” does a brilliant job of outlining where we stand and actually reveals one realistic solution. (It is offered for $2.99 on YouTube.)

We have got to get off of our addiction to fossil fuels fast. Getting our state to figure out a creative new way of doing banking has been the focus of many people's efforts already.

Kindness, self-compassion, and forgiveness are key elements in finding one's way out of addiction. After all, blame, guilt, and shame get it all going to begin with.

We've made mistakes with the best of intentions. Let's get this one cleaned up and get into recovery.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates