As a holistic health counsellor, I treat many people who have had an addiction of some sort in the past. They come to see me because they want to make changes and become healthier but they often mention having to give up just one ‘last vice’ before they reach this goal. One of the most common ‘last vices’, particularly for ex-drug addicts, is cigarettes. However, I don’t believe there is a ‘last vice’ because once we start on the path to health and self-realisation and undergo daily practice of meditative techniques, we naturally constantly refine our energy fields.
My first acid trip was, I thought, a beautiful spiritual experience. It satisfied the deepest desires of my soul. I understood the ultimate goal of human existence. I felt utterly complete. It was as if a filter had been removed and all my senses could finally function at optimum level.
A lot of my clients have been to several healthcare professionals and often to rehab centres as well before seeing me. I hear from many of them that when they raise the possibility of having had spiritual experiences on drugs including LSD, ice, speed or ecstasy this is immediately dismissed. They are told that what they had were hallucinations or symptoms not spiritual experiences. I don’t agree. Speaking as both a long-term drug-user and then a spiritual seeker I think the states derived from drugs and deep spiritual practices are similar and connected. The major difference, apart from the way the state is induced, is that drug experiences decline over time whereas spiritual experiences derived from specific practices improve constantly. There is a limit to how high you can get on drugs but not on how high you can get afterwards.
In our society Depression is seen as a business by the pharmaceutical companies and a pathology by Western medicine, something that is ‘wrong’. But could tens of millions of Depression sufferers all have something ‘wrong’ with them? Maybe they all actually have something ‘right’ with them?
I consider addiction a natural state because the desire to feel good, safe or real is natural. If I’m addicted to alcohol it is because, in my experience, alcohol is the best way to feel good, safe or real. This is either in all situations or specific ones such as rock star Jimmy Barnes who wouldn’t go on stage unless he’d first drunk a bottle of vodka.
From the body-mind perspective drugs feel good because they create a temporary union of body, mind and spirit. If the process of recovery does not capture this sense of union it can result in a feeling of chronic lack – as if something crucially important is missing in life. This is a major contributor to the cycle of addiction. In TCM quality of life and a sense of fulfilment is dependent on the effective functioning of the organs.
How marijuana becomes addictive
In my work I frequently treat people who feel they have become ‘addicted’ to marijuana. Most can’t understand why, as marijuana is not universally considered to be addictive – at least not in the sense that heroin, speed or painkillers can be. According to my observations in many cases it is not that the person is addicted to marijuana, but rather that over time they have progressed from using the drug recreationally to using it medicinally – to correct imbalances and mask symptoms. They feel as if they have become dependent on the drug because symptoms arise when use ceases, but disappear when it resumes. In most of these cases it is not the marijuana that’s the main problem but lifestyle. Read more
Living Now Magazine, June 2006, Issue 85
Western scientists have recently ‘discovered’ that matter, or all known life including the galaxies and stars, only constitutes 4 percent of the universe, the remainder is composed of 74 percent dark energy (a force causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate) and 22 percent dark matter. At this stage though it is unknown what dark energy and dark matter are. Ancient schools of thought, primarily Eastern in origin, also consider that the majority of the world or universe is unseen but this invisible territory has been mapped out. It is the realm of spirit, of other dimensions, of astral worlds. These astral universes host a myriad of life forms, good and bad, which are inaccessible to most of us most of the time. However, for some of us these other realms do become accessible at certain times either deliberately or accidentally. Read more
Art of Healing magazine, Winter 2006, Issue 15, p.10-12
‘Speed’, or methamphetamine, is now the most commonly abused illicit drug after cannabis. Like cocaine it is a stimulant but rather than being natural it is a derivative of amphetamine, a synthetic stimulant which emerged in the 1920s. During WWII Japan, Germany and the USA provided the drug to their armies to increase endurance and stamina (Anglin et al 2000) and it was widely prescribed in the 1950s and 60s as a treatment for depression and obesity. But in the context of recreational drug-taking, speed does much more than that: it can make you feel that you are spiritually, emotionally and physically perfect, a ‘master of the universe’ (UNODC 2004). Read more
Living Now Magazine, May 2006 issue 84
People who have never taken recreational drugs find it hard to understand the attraction of drugs, but they also find it hard to understand how a heavy drug-user feels after giving up. For most, it is a sensation of being hopelessly stuck in a rut, of not knowing what to do with your life, of not knowing what the purpose of your painful and empty existence is. Many believe they will never feel good again and that for the rest of their life they will have to battle with their addiction. This is not necessarily the case. I was supposed to be an addict unable to ever be cured of my ‘disease’ but now I can’t imagine anything more unpleasant than taking drugs or drinking to excess but this comes from within me. For me, turning down drugs is free choice rather than something I have to work at or reinforce at meetings. This is because I continued the journey the drugs initiated but I recaptured the highs holistically. Read more