Archives for Addiction
It's all about feelings. When a person struggles with a sense of self and they aren't sure who they are, they aren't sure how to experience, live with, or manage their thoughts and feeling. Feelings especially can become baffling, annoying or painful. In many years working in both mental health and addiction, I've found that in general, people try drugs or alcohol, and end up abusing them, because they want to change, forget or control a feeling or feelings. Changing a feeling can be as simple as
Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness, commonly referred to as "HOW," are three keys to recovery from addiction, according to self-help groups. These three keys are essential to being emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy as well.
To find joy is the hardest thing of all. It is harder than all other spiritual tasks…Put all your energy into being happy. — Rebbe Nachman of Breslov People struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses benefit from making joy a part of their mental health treatment plan. Joy's Power Joy's Dark Opposites: Joy is the opposite of nearly every draining emotion and feeling: Despair. Anger. Depression. Jealousy. Hate. You can't merely implant joy on top of negative emotions and feelings, but you can engage in joyful activities which are important to the healing process.
Drugs There were 46, 471 deaths from drug overdoses in the United States in 2013, the latest year for which there is data. About half of those were from prescription-drug overdoes. Another 8,000 were from heroin. (Painkillers are being abused more than heroin, cocaine, PCP, methamphetamines, and MDMA all combined.)
If you believe you're essentially like a hippo, starfish, pug, or sheep (or any other animal), then read no further. If you believe you are a unique, divinely-created soul, and that your soul and body are carefully-chosen mates; if you believe that your life circumstances are designed specifically with you in mind, to help you achieve a purpose or mission in this lifetime; then you probably already know: YOU CAN START OVER.
Trauma Can Change Us There is no doubt trauma changes us. When I (C.R.) was beginning graduate studies, my main focus was on what I call "legacy trauma." Personal interviews and experience has shown me that the children of those who are not spiritually and emotionally healed from traumatic experiences seem to be likely to pass down a legacy of trauma through the generations. This legacy affects every aspect of their children's and grandchildren's lives, from how they respond to positive or negative "news" to how they show their love for each other. I've seen this primarily with families of Holocaust survivors and this was to be my main research, but certainly other traumatic, national and personal events (my focus was on national, ethnic, etc.), from war in places like Sudan and Syria, to the Japanese earthquakes, to the Ring of Fire Tsunami, appears to leave survivors with a broad range of reactions, ranging from feelings of helplessness to developing suddenly acquired but abiding belief in God. But are there actual physiological changes that lead to a genetic legacy?
A well-trained and dedicated medical doctor will consider whether or not there is an emotional component possibly triggering a physical issue, such as stress in the case of fatigue. But often, those in the mental health field, especially psychotherapists, might not evaluate and rule out medical or other issues in the case of a client presenting with a mental illness. In training sessions with interns and therapists-in-training, I emphasize the importance of doing a comprehensive evaluation before diagnosing—and doing therapy with—a client. I explain that when it comes to a mental health evaluation it is as vital for therapists to determine which factors are contributing to or causing mental illness, whether that mental illness is mild or more severe. Yet many therapists jump right into talk therapy at the first or second visit; not everyone in private practice examines medical records or asks their clients to get blood-work done.
C.R. writes: A friend of mine's son left his home in Israel to travel through India and Nepal and returned shortly before the recent earthquake. He had trekked with his friends, searching for enlightenment, but returned home with a parasitic infection, feeling weak and also disillusioned. He described what he saw as the hypocrisy of some of the gurus and yogis he met (he called them "cash-rakers") and told how some of the Westerners who flocked to them seemed to magnify their worst personality traits after time spent following certain meditative practices. His email to me said: "They become intolerant of anyone who disturbs their "bliss", and they are like addicts being hooked on their drug," he told me. "Nothing bothers them unless it messes with their personal comfort and they seem to become really short on compassion."