Saturday, January 8, 2011
Healing Substance Abuse: Clearing Your Body's Energy
And it's killing people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people died just in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that "nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually. " This makes alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
And this is just two types of substances in only the United States. Obviously, the numbers of people who die from substance abuse worldwide are far higher, and the number of people impacted by the deaths and destructive power of a substance abuser is greater still.
This substance abuse shows us just how many people don't feel okay with themselves, yet our bodies already have everything we need to feel good. With basic exercise and decent eating habits, most of us should feel good most of the time. Obviously, there are cases of disease and imbalance that some people are challenged with, but those are different scenarios than what most people experience.
Clearing Out Your System
You have to stop doing the substance to which you are addicted. Depending on the substance you're abusing, how fast you can let it go will vary. Something like being addicted to caffeine will have less harmful withdrawal symptoms than being addicted to heroine. I know that mentioning caffeine can be jarring to some people because they "have to have their coffee" or some other caffeinated beverage. But my immediate question and your immediate question should be "Why do I have to have this?" That need is the addiction speaking, and many people have gotten addicted to substances to givet hem more energy, which suggests that they don't have enough energy for all the things they are doing. It's time to stop and look at what you're doing to yourself. There is a cost even with caffeine, and you're probably already paying for it in stress on your emotions and body. You can't keep living this way if you want to feel healthy, and you certainly can't keep doing this if you want to open to the spiritual path.
Cleaning out your system is crucial. I already mentioned fasting in an earlier blog post, although that's most likely a later stage. First, you've got to get off of the substance. If it's a serious chemical addiction, you should look into free recovery information and local clinics to get off that substance. There are support groups and, in some instances, prescription drugs that can help you defeat the addiction and heal your body. This may involve a lot of courage to do, but I assure you that you're worth it. You're going to feel so much better, although initially this will likely be hard. Then again, it'll be a lot easier now than paying the price later on in life as your body falls apart from the toxins.
"But This Makes Me Feel Good, It's The Only Way I Feel Like Me"
I've heard the above statement before around pot and alcohol. When I hear this, I'm usually struck by how much this person doesn't like their ego--doesn't like who they normally think that they have to be. Aside from the perceived comfort of a physical state of being, alcohol and marijuana become crutches to suppress or turn off the ego. They may also be a way for a shadow side of the personality to come out because this person doesn't feel that that personality is allowed to be in society.
As you can tell, the real problem is the ego and the social structures that the person has decided to live in. And being drawn to substances creates more structures around you. So many of your friends are often drinkers or substance abusers. Stopping drinking means losing friends too, and that gives you a kind of double hit that makes this change hard to do. Once again, it's why I encourage people so much to find and develop a spiritual community. The support you need to move through a major shift like this is significant. Some people can do it alone, but it can be so much easier if you have a helping hand and a few extra kind words of support.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem. There are all kind of reasons it happens, and not every situation is the same. I certainly believe that there are some kinds of chronic problems that people have where they may need to be using a prescription drug for an extended time to deal with pain and other issues. However, for most people, I also believe that these substances need to be temporary.
In situations with PTSD and dealing with trauma, mood-altering drugs need to be paired with effective therapy. Otherwise, you can end up trapped using the drug because you aren't healing the core issues. If you haven't been in therapy and are suffering from trauma or some other mental health illness, I highly recommend finding a good practitioner. Sometimes people try to come to a spiritual teacher like me instead of seeking therapy first. My work with people can be intense, and most people need to be already familiar going into issues and working on them before working with me. Therapists can be a wonderful start, and they can help you work through a number of issues and find inner stability.
However, there should be a plan to get you back off of whatever prescription drugs you are using, and if you find that you are becoming dependent, this is something you should take up with your therapist or find a new therapist with a better idea of how to help you heal. I want to emphasize that healing is often uncomfortable, but you can do it. And you can let go of any prescription drug dependency you may have developed (with the help of a proper medical or psychological professional). I think you have to if you want to be fully healed.
High States and Altered States of Consciousness
In a different way, many substances get abused in efforts to reach altered states of consciousness. I've heard marijuana used this way, and in some situations, peyote has been used this way as part of Native American rituals. Psychedelics like LSD have been used in this way. Ayahuasca, Iboga, and other substances are also getting popularized. However, this crutches perpetuate the notion that you need an external source to achieve an internal state. That's simply false. You have everything inside you. Many people have already discovered that focused breathwork or ecstatic dancing can create many similar high states of consciousness. In those spiritual tools, you have much more influence over your body, and you don't have to worry about any chemical side effects. Certainly, some of these substances can be mindfully used to heal and to grow, but they are ultimately not necessary.
Further still, for the spiritual people addicted to high energy states that some of these substances offer, I encourage you to think differently about spirituality. Spirituality is not about achieving a high state experience. In fact, if that's what you think it is, you're actually going into a form of addiction. You will be miserable on your spiritual path because you will so rarely feel yourself in an elevated state of consciousness. There's a lot of reasons why you won't feel high all the time, but ultimately the spiritual path is about accepting yourself in all modes of consciousness. The true bliss that you're seeking comes from that acceptance and releasing resistance to the current moment.
Becoming a Clear Channel and Spiritual Awakening
Ultimately, clearing out substance abuse is for your own protection if you're headed to awakening. Spiritual awakening fries all your old ways of thinking and being. It can be hugely disorienting and re-orienting at the same time. Having a healthy body helps you to figure out what's right for you when everything suddenly feels out of whack and in shift. If you're not healthy, this process can become even harder. The desire for the old sense of safety and comfort can drive you further into substance abuse. This in turn makes it harder to heal and grow, and it can make your life excruciatingly painful.
Because you really can't go back after awakening, and too much awareness in you knows the truth. It's like coming out into the daylight after hiding in a closet. Even if you go back in the closet, you know what it's like to have daylight on your skin. Before you could only imagine it. Now, it's just that much more real and way harder to forget.
The level of clarity you'll need to have in this life depends on the work that you're supposed to do, and it can be difficult, especially if you're abusing substances. But it is imminently worth it because you get to reclaim your body, your soul, and your life. What else could possibly be more important?
If you need some help with addiction, please go to this link at the National Institute on Drug Abuse's website:
Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction
Here's another blog of mine to help you continue to heal your body:
Next blog: Awakening Your Body With Exercise
Post updated on 7/17/2016