What Happens When We Attempt to Medicate Our Pain Away

What Happens When We Attempt to Medicate Our Pain Away

Evan had been going through an extraordinarily difficult time with Layla. He wanted so much to be in a committed relationship and was pouring his heart and soul out to her. They would get together at times, but Layla was not willing to see Evan exclusively. Knowing that she was seeing other men was causing Evan enormous amounts of pain.

The individual healing sessions that I facilitate bring the emotions that have been held within the body to the surface. These emotions need to be brought to the forefront, so they can be processed.

Evan admitted to doing shots of tequila one night after a session. After all that hard work I was disappointed to learn that Evan had shut down the healing process by self medicating.

Alcohol and other recreational drugs will momentarily anesthetize the pain, but they will never make it all go away. The substances we use to escape our suffering and numb ourselves actually compound the pain. The painful emotions remain trapped within our bodies where they incubate. And as these painful emotions continue to accumulate, we end up feeling much worse about ourselves. We’re more likely to feel anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. It becomes a downward spiral because we feel like shit and so we continue to self-medicate and then we feel even shittier.

The combination of an anesthetizing chemical agent and the accumulation of all those stagnant painful emotions compounds our suffering by preventing us from doing the deep level processing that would enable us to heal and let go of a person, people or situations that are not working in our lives. It also keeps us locked into the dysfunctional holding patterns that elicit more of the same painful emotions.

It is so crucial for us to give ourselves permission to fully experience whatever it is we’re feeling in response to the people and issues concerning us or circumstances playing out in our lives. It’s also critically important for us to keep our bodies and minds free of numbing or intoxicating chemical agents that prevent us from feeling and doing the deep level processing needed to heal our emotional wounds.

Not everyone is drinking or doing other substances to drown the pain, but many of us have our nightly glass of wine or take a few tokes or bong hits throughout the day. Our daily fix a crutch and to some degree it’s crippling us because it’s preventing us from being fully present. It’s also totally unnecessary. We need to stop dosing or at least cut way down on our use if we’re truly serious about healing and personal growth.

Pharmaceuticals

We as a society possess a very limited understanding of our own body – mind and it’s innate healing process. So many of us are grossly ignorant of the substances that we’re putting into our bodies. And that accounts for our willing to take whatever medications are prescribed without ever stopping to question or investigate the substances we’re ingesting and their potential side effects.

Anyone considering taking antidepressants or other psychiatric medications needs to be doing their homework. Look up any of the commonly prescribed SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Lexapro, Celexa and Zoloft and you will find a whole range of side effects. Some of the more common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea, upset stomach, constipation, muscle tension, weight gain, impotence and difficulty having an orgasm. Some of the less common, but more severe symptoms include high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, confusion, irregular heartbeat, headaches, slurred speech, seizures and hallucinations.

Not everyone suffers these side effects, but the fact that many people do tells us that these medications are to some degree toxic substances that have a seriously negative impact upon our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Another cause for concern is that psychiatric medications may react adversely to other prescribed medications.

Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers prevent nutrient absorption and/or deplete the body of CoQ10, Magnesium and Vitamins B 2, 6 and 12 and other essential nutrients. Deficiencies in essential nutrients can lead to unwanted side effects and declining health. These deficiencies can exacerbate depression, anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms. The symptoms resulting from deficiencies of essential nutrients are in many ways similar to the side effects attributed to psychiatric medications.

Emotional detachment, numbness and sexual dysfunction are all common side effect of antidepressants and other psychiatric medications. Many people that have gone on these medications are saying that it’s had a disastrous impact on their love lives because it shut down their sex drive along with their feelings of romantic love.

We’re learning more about the long-term side effects resulting from the use of these medications. Many people using antidepressants are reporting problems remembering. Prolonged use may result in cognitive decline and dementia. Many report feeling apathetic or a loss of motivation that causes them to not feel like doing anything. The reduction in bone mineral density resulting from the use of antidepressants increases the risk of fractures in the elderly.

Genital Anesthesia

Men and women are posting messages on the SSRI forums about genital anesthesia, the loss of sensation in the genitals. Some report that physical sensation and their libido returns to normal after having discontinued the medications for some time. Others are indicating that their sex drive, ability to experience pleasure and romantic feelings have not returned.

Coping during times of crisis

People have on many occasions told me that the medications helped them to cope during times of crisis. And that may be true to some extent. What many of us fail to understand is that there are valuable learnings that take place when we’re in the midst of a crisis such as a painful loss, when our survival is being threatened or the world seems to be crashing down around us. We cannot learn these lessons unless we are fully present to the realities of our daily lives and our authentic internal response. We cannot be fully present when our biochemistry and our state of awareness is being altered by substances that distort, deaden or in any way prevent us from doing the deep level processing needed to reconcile or come to terms with what is.

Saving lives or increasing the risks of violent outbursts and suicide

Some people credit antidepressants with having saved their lives. However, there is also a significant increase in violent outbursts and suicidal behavior among those who are taking these medications. Antidepressants come with black box warnings. A black box warning is the strictest warning put in the labeling of prescription drugs by the Food and Drug Administration when there is a reasonable evidence of an association of a serious hazard with the drug. In 2004 the FDA adopted a black box warning indicating that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in some children and adolescents.

I personally know of two people who ended up committing suicide after taking antidepressants. The wife of a man I once worked with told me about a violent outburst that took place late one evening as they were traveling between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The husband started punching his wife out while she was behind the wheel and it took everything she had to maintain control of the car and bring it to a stop. The husband ended up shooting himself in the head not too long afterwards.

A young woman that I worked with briefly in the Boston area had been on antidepressants for years. Her depression worsened as the medication she had been on for quite some time lost its effectiveness. The new medication prescribed by her psychiatrist was not alleviating her depression either. She ended up taking all the remaining pills of her old medication along with a bottle full of the newly prescribed medication. She died after spending a few days in the hospital.

Both of these individuals were deeply wounded. And yet they could have healed and have gone on to live meaningful and productive lives had they been willing to do the work necessary to facilitate their healing. Both just wanted their pain to be taken away.

Facilitating healing in those who do not possess a growth orientation can be a very difficult process. Those who lack a growth orientation are not all that willing to face their issues, deal with their own emotional responses or take other crucial steps necessary to facilitate their healing. They’re usually looking for simple solutions for very complex problems. Many just want someone or something to come along and take their pain away and make it all better.

There is widespread disagreement over the use of antidepressants and other psychiatric medications among mental health professionals. I have worked with a number of psychiatrists and pharmacists over the years. Some refer to the medications they’re prescribing or dispensing as poison and refuse to take them. One of the pharmacists that I worked with is now studying to be an herbalist. I have also witnessed the disastrous consequences in those who work in the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry who are themselves heavily medicated.

A psychiatrist friend refers to psychiatric medications as a chemical lobotomy. After sharing the notes for this chapter, he expressed his own concerns over the fact that the prevailing mindset in his profession is that natural human emotions are now considered symptoms. He went on to say “So many psychiatrists are now basically shills for the pharmaceutical industry. They might as well be pharma representatives considering that they prescribe the medications produced by which ever company happened take them out to lunch and give them the largest perks.”

Is it possible for people on antidepressants and psychotropic medications to heal?

One of my stepsisters suffered from schizophrenia and had been institutionalized since childhood. My stepfather would occasionally bring her home from the mental hospital. I distinctly remember how uncomfortable I felt as a child being in her presence. I could also see how she was deteriorating.

My first experience of working with a woman suffering from schizophrenia didn’t seem to go all that well. The young woman I was working with at the time had been heavily medicated and appeared to have an adverse reaction. Since that time, I have worked with many people who have been diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, schizoaffective and other psychotic disorders. Many of these individuals are incredibly sensitive, intelligent and perceptive. They may be a bit crazy by societal standards, and yet they often lack so much of the pretense and neuroses of those of us who are supposedly sane.

The majority of those I have worked with suffering from psychotic disorders were on various psychiatric medications. The medications do, to some extent, impede the healing process and yet were in many instances a necessity. We would work within the context of their current state of health and the medications they’re taking to clean up the stagnation in their bodies and facilitate as much of the deep emotional processing that could take place. Those who were dissociated or “out there” became more firmly rooted in their bodies. They were more in touch with their feelings and physical bodies, had a firmer grasp on the issues concerning them and the realities of their everyday lives and they were becoming more highly functional.

Finding the approach best suited for each individual’s needs

With each session, I’m observing the changes taking place in their mental and emotional states and demeanor of those I work with. I listen to their feedback while taking note of the changes in their overall ability to function. I’m also able to observe the corresponding changes taking place within their physiology and subtle bodies consisting of the chakras and layers of the aura. The majority of those I work with show significant improvement. Many have been able to reduce the amount of the medications they were taking. Others were able to get completely off the medications and function better without them.

I would like to think that there are natural alternatives whether it be herbal remedies, supplements or a combination thereof that would address these issues or at least mitigate the symptoms. But there may not be a viable alternative medical solution for a significant percentage of people suffering from mental health issues. Pharmaceuticals may be the best approach for some individuals, especially for those who pose a danger to themselves and others without the medications.

When psychiatrists overprescribe or prescribe medications that are not appropriate for the needs of the patient

Emotions such as sadness, disappointment and grief are all normal human responses to the losses and hardships that many of us experience over the course of our lives. For the past few decades, big pharma in conjunction with the psychiatric profession and their broken brain theories of biochemical imbalance have rebranded sadness, grief and other normal human emotional processes as chemically treatable depression. Now we have psychiatrists whose medical model is to a large extent created by big pharma either overprescribing or prescribing medications that are totally inappropriate for the needs of an individual. These medications do not address the underlying issues and they will never heal the deep emotional wounds. They are also causing significant damage in the people taking them.

My friend Anu’s husband suddenly died of heart failure at the age of thirty-two. Her father pushed her to see a psychiatrist who then prescribed Klonopin and an antidepressant. Klonopin is an anticonvulsant used to treat seizures. It also belongs to a class of drugs referred to as benzodiazepines that are used to treat panic disorder, mania associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Some of the harmful side effects attributed to Klonopin include paranoia or suicidal ideation and impaired memory, judgement and coordination and early onsite dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Klonopin when combined with alcohol can slow breathing and possibly lead to death. People have died from attempting to quit Klonopin and other benzodiazepines cold turkey.

Anu is an incredibly intelligent and capable woman and not the kind of person who should be heavily medicated with psychiatric drugs. When I asked Anu to describe her experience of being medicated she responded by telling me “The combination of Klonopin and the antidepressant left me feeling sluggish. I was numb, yet still very unhappy. The medications kept me locked in a holding pattern. I wasn’t progressing in my personal or professional life. I also gained a lot of additional weight.

It took me a full year to get off the Klonopin once I made the decision to do so. Withdrawal from Klonopin was a psychiatrist-inflicted torture. It became a traumatic reenactment as everything the medications had suppressed exploded, wrecking having in my body and emotional life. All the emotions that had been suppressed by the medication came flooding back. I was then left with all this emotional suffering and physical pain in my body. And it was all so unnecessary. That’s when I sought help from therapists and healers to heal the trauma.”

Grieving is a crucially important part of the process of healing and coming to terms with our losses. The combination of Klonopin and the antidepressant to a large extent shut down Anu’s grieving process. And that greatly impeded Anu’s ability to heal from the loss of her husband.

Many of us do experience anxiety and depression and some of us are deeply traumatized because we have suffered a great deal over the course of our lives. And we have lacked the resources and understanding that would have enabled us to facilitate the healing of our deep emotional wounds. We need to learn to understand our bodies and minds and to work constructively with our cognitive and emotional responses to the suffering that we experience in our lives. Attempting to medicate our symptoms away will in most instances only create additional problems that will invariably further compounds our suffering.

The importance of learning to work constructively with our emotions

A large percentage of the people who are on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications are taking them because they have never learned to work constructively with their emotions. They’ve learned from an early age to disconnect from their feelings, physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives that they haven’t wanted to deal with. The body – mind can no longer contain the backlog of charged emotion once it reaches critical mass. And then they find themselves overwhelmed by the accumulated backlog of anxiety, fear and pain.

Many people are able to manage in their daily lives until they find themselves in the midst of a crisis resulting from the loss of a job, a breakup, divorce, the death of a loved one or a debilitating illness. Triggered by chronically stressful and traumatic life events, they find themselves consumed by a flood of overwhelmingly painful emotion.

Our life experiences and any subsequent cognitive and emotional response we have to them need to go through a process in which they are digested. The following four basic steps will help you to facilitate this digestive process.

  • Acknowledge what’s happening in your life
  • Notice what you’re feeling in response to it
  • Bring your awareness to the areas in your body where you’re experiencing these feelings
  • Breathe softly and deeply while centering your awareness in any feelings or sensations that you’re experiencing within your body

It’s important that you give yourself permission to fully experience any feelings or physical sensations that arise within your body. Continue to follow any feelings or sensations you’re experiencing as they go through their progression. Anger for instance may turn to sadness as you continue to breathe. Sadness may change to a sense of resignation. And from there you may come to a place of acceptance and begin to feel yourself letting go.

Working with this practice activates the body – mind’s own innate healing intelligence and can make a huge difference in our ability to work effectively with our emotions. Practice alone may be all that is needed to help people possessing sufficient resources to cope more effectively with many of the issues, challenges and difficulties faced in everyday life. This practice will in many instances need to be combined with therapeutic interventions to help us facilitate the aspects of healing that we cannot fully do on our own.

Finding healthier ways of coping

Many years of heavy smoking and drinking destroyed my maternal grandfather’s health. My stepfather also drank very heavily. He came around the side of the house in a drunken rage with a butcher knife in his hand one evening. He then walked up, grabbed me, spun me around and kicked the shit out of me. I remember being paralyzed by fear at the time thinking he was going to kill me. I was only ten years old at the time. Alcoholism is especially bad among many Native American communities. I found myself in a number of dangerous situations while living in Native communities during my late teens and early twenties where I could have been seriously harmed or killed. It was the devastation that I witnessed while living among native communities in Oklahoma and New Mexico that after a few years compelled me to leave.

I have never relied upon pharmaceuticals or alcohol and other recreational drugs to escape the pain. But I could have easily gone that route had I not had access to the resources and interventions that have facilitated the healing of my own emotional wounds. The therapist I worked with when the traumas of my childhood and adolescence surfaced during my mid to late twenties never recommended or even mentioned antidepressants. I hate to think of the damage that would have been done had I been naïve enough to take them.

We all have some means of escape. I did most of my escaping by going up into my head and trying to come up with some explanation for other people’s behaviors or circumstances that didn’t seem to be working in my favor. I often saw relationships as a problem to be solved and kept trying to make them work. That was my way of resisting the realities of my life that I found to be painful.

There are times when we need to assert ourselves to create whatever it is that we desire in life and to work towards a viable solution. And there are also times when other people’s needs and desires or ways of seeing the world and doing things do not align with our own or we find ourselves having to contend with unpleasant and difficult circumstances that are beyond our control. We need to develop the capacity for discernment that will enable us to distinguish between those areas of our lives where we can affect constructive change and those over which we have no control.

Maintaining a state of resistance to the realities that were beyond my control only perpetuated my suffering. And yet it was also part of a necessary, but painful learning experience. I had to learn to come to a place of acceptance for what is. And I had to teach myself to become more and more fully present to whatever I was feeling in response to it. And by doing so I developed a fluid quality that has enabled me to better adapt to the realities of daily life.

I would often breathe into the pain I felt when people who were scheduled to work with me flaked out on their appointments because it was bringing feelings and issues to the surface that they were not willing to face. Teaching myself to go through the middle of the pain has enabled me to let go of those who are running, avoiding or just not getting it. Letting go has enabled me to focus my attention and efforts on those who are truly committed to doing whatever it takes to facilitate the healing of their bodies and minds.

I have on many occasions breathed into the pain that I’ve experienced when a woman didn’t reciprocate my feelings, broke off a relationship or ghosted me. It hurt like hell at the time, but in many ways these women were putting me in touch with pain that I was holding in my body that needed to heal. The pain that I held within distorted my perception and at other times blinded me. Breathing into the painful feelings facilitated a healing process by awakening the innate healing intelligence residing within my body – mind. It helped me to see what I could not see before that these women were either not healthy or a good match for me. It also helped me to let go, move on and get to a better place.

I could hardly sleep at night in 2008 as the bottom fell out from under me when Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and other financial institutions crashed the economy with their risky monetary practices. My income plummeted and I did not know how I was going to make it. I allowed myself to fully open up to the overwhelming fear and anxiety that I was experiencing. I would in many instances be laying there in bed breathing into these feelings for hours on end.

Fear has in many instances served as a doorway through which I have been able to access tremendous creativity and insight. Breathing from the middle of all that anxiety, fear and pain helped me to do the deep level processing that enabled me to become more fluid and adaptive. I gained the much-needed insights that have made it possible for me to reach a lot more people with my work and that have provided me considerably more income. It’s all about learning to use what life gives us as fuel for growth.

What I’m getting at here is that we are all faced with difficulties in our lives. And we all experience suffering. To the best of our ability, we need to be finding healthier ways to cope that do not involve escaping, shutting down or medicating.

Twice baked  

I spent my early twenties training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Horace transmitted portions of his own healing gifts to me. Since that time, I have gone on many vision quests, a traditional native healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. It’s during the vison quests that I have received many of the additional gifts that have enabled me to facilitate healing within myself and others.

People who have suffered from a wide range of traumatic experiences have come to me seeking healing from the time I began my practice. Those who have experienced significant trauma in their lives and have not taken the steps necessary to facilitate their healing hold tremendous amounts of overwhelmingly painful emotion in their bodies. In many instances, their biochemical makeup is also way out of balance. Their subtle bodies consisting of the chakras and layers of the aura are often damaged and disfigured. Their relationships tend to be hugely dysfunctional and their lives are chaotic. All that trauma eventually expresses itself through their bodies.

Many survivors of trauma find it difficult to cope with the overwhelming internal turmoil they experience. And they are far more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs or go on pharmaceuticals to either escape from the realities of their daily lives, numb the pain, reduce their symptoms or all of the above.

Much of the population drinks heavily, uses other recreational drugs, is on anti-depressants or a combination thereof to numb the emotions and blot out the realities they don’t want to deal with. And many people are also on analgesics to alleviate the physical pain in their bodies. All of these chemical agents have a numbing effect. And by numbing, we are to varying degrees impeding our ability to be present to ourselves, the world we live in and to digest our life experiences and our subsequent cognitive and emotional responses.

Many of us are hugely resistant to being present with the parts of ourselves that are having an emotional response to the events that are triggering us. Pharmaceuticals and recreational drugs that we use to numb out to the feelings and realities we’re so resistant to disengage parts of our body – mind consciousness. And in doing so, they disengage the faculties needed to do the deep level processing or digestion of the realities of our everyday lives and our subsequent cognitive and emotional responses. And that prevents us from developing many of the basic essential coping capacities and other internal resources needed to become fully embodied, adapt to our life circumstances and to successfully navigate our lives here on planet Earth. Consequently, we are nowhere near as present, powerful or effective as we could be.

Any thought process we engage in, activity we do or substance that we ingest that prevents us from consciously participating in and processing our life experiences and our cognitive and emotional responses stunts or stops our learning, growing and healing. And by doing so we are retarding our development.

I have found that the bodies of people I’ve worked with who have spent their lives shutting down emotionally are not anywhere near as responsive. The emotional content that they are not processing accumulates within the body as a heavy stagnant presence. It also forms the muscular body armor that causes people’s necks, backs and other parts of the body to become stiff and rigid. Heavy use of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and other psychiatric medications as well as alcohol and other recreational drugs adds a whole additional layer of complication and difficulty to the healing process.

The stagnant emotional content that people are not able to process while under the influence of these various substances goes through a further process of degeneration. It sits there putrefying within the body where it remains indefinitely. An acupuncturist friend refers to this stagnant emotional content resulting from suppressed emotions that have gone through this further stage of degeneration as “twice baked phlegm.”

I act as a conduit in the work I do with people in that I allow another presence to work through me to effect healing within the bodies and minds of others. The presence working through me transmutes the heavy stagnant and painful emotional content that people hold within their bodies so that it can be digested. Once assimilated, this emotional content can then be utilized as fuel for growth.

It is so much harder to purify or transform the stagnant life force in people’s bodies once it has reached the level of putrification that my friend refers to as twice baked phlegm. But this toxicity is typical in those who have spent much of their lives attempting to medicate their pain away.

Showing up fully present

I was carrying the traumas of my childhood and adolescence in my body, had huge abandonment issues and tended to attract women who were rather abusive. I had to teach myself to become present to all that pain in order to reformat the deeply ingrained patterns that were causing me so much suffering and heal the wounded parts of myself. I did that by fully immersing my awareness in the middle of all those feelings and sensations while breathing softly and deeply.

I did lots of deep tissue bodywork, worked with a number of gifted healers and went on numerous vision quests, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. These wounds would have never healed had I medicated or found other ways to escape from the pain.

The only way we can truly heal is to become fully present to those parts of ourselves that are hurting, fearful and confused. We do that by bringing our full awareness to those wounded parts of ourselves. We then breathe softly and deeply while immersing our awareness in the middle of what we’re feeling. We also need to be making use of the therapeutic interventions that will facilitate the aspects of the healing process that we cannot fully do on our own.

It’s important for us to understand that we’re never going to get very far if we only dabble in healing. We need to keep putting one foot in front of the other until we come out the other side. That means intensive daily practice and consistent use of the therapeutic interventions needed to facilitate our continued healing and growth.

Our educational system teaches us to develop our intellectual minds, but we’re never taught many of the essential basic life skills needed to help us function and to successfully navigate our lives here on planet Earth. We’re never taught how to be present with and work constructively with our emotional responses to the issues concerning us and the realities of our everyday lives. Many of us cope the best we can by attempting to maintain a state of happiness, wellbeing and a positive mental outlook despite our woundedness. We try to maintain surface appearances of having it together. And then we think something is wrong because we cannot sustain the illusion of wellbeing.

Not knowing any better, we often become somewhat fearful of ourselves. We’re afraid of the reality of our daily lives and our feelings most of all. We see our emotions as a threat to our wellbeing. And then resist the feeling parts of ourselves that we have deemed unacceptable. We operate with this misconception that says that ignoring difficult emotions makes us stronger, but that cannot be any further from the truth. Operating from a mindset that says we have to resist the feeling parts of ourselves that we deem to be unacceptable leaves us continually at war with ourselves.

We are in many instances taught or made to deny or dissociate from what we’re feeling. Our feelings are an essential part of us and our reality. If we feel ashamed of what we’re feeling and then try to hide them, then we’re letting society destroy our inner being. Our internal state of being becomes horribly unpleasant when we fail to do the deep level processing that would enable us to digest our emotional responses and come to terms with what is. Our internal hell creates the compulsion that drives so many of us to reach for the bottle, light up, shoot up or pop the pills.

The part of our body mind consciousness that experiences feelings is just as much of an essential component of our psyche as our intellectual mind. In fact, our emotional states have a huge bearing on the functioning of our intellectual minds. The parts of our body – mind that experiences feelings comprise a whole bandwidth of our consciousness. And yet individually and collectively we possess such a limited understanding of and in many cases a gross ignorance of our own feelings and the crucially important role they play.

Trying to force our feelings to go away or pretend that they do not exist consumes enormous amounts of our life force. We can learn to deal with difficult emotions in a much healthier and more effective way by allowing ourselves to experience them from a place of self-acceptance. Giving ourselves permission to fully experience our feelings as they are without trying to make them go away or change them into something else increases our capacity to contain powerful emotions and deal more effectively with difficult or challenging issues and situations.

Every feeling we experience, no matter how seemingly intense or overwhelming has its own natural life span. Feelings that we find threatening or overwhelming will dissipate, losing much of their emotional charge as we allow ourselves to become more fully present to them. Many of these same feelings will resurface at times, but they too will soften and become more defuse when we remember to relax, let down our resistance and breathe into them.

The storms will come and go. And yet all that we experience along the way becomes fuel for growth as we learn to embrace our lives and work constructively with our feelings. Our connection to the authentic core residing deep within grows stronger, showing us the way forward, while providing us with the insight, creativity, increased capability, resilience and other essential resources we need to cope more effectively with the challenges we face in our everyday lives.

Sliding into and then climbing back up out of dysfunction

We can easily slide into dysfunctional patterns of one form or another over the course of our lives that we have a tough time getting ourselves out of. We then end up existing in a perpetual state of imbalance. Many of us spend much of our lives avoiding the feelings and issues we don’t want to address. We’re spending hours a day watching television or scrolling through our Facebook or Instagram news feeds. We’re not allowing ourselves to get enough rest to replenish our bodies and therefore keep ourselves jacked up on caffeine to get through the days. We’re eating unhealthy processed foods that are full of all kinds of unnatural ingredients and other toxins. And then we’re consuming way more than what is healthy for us. And many of us are also smoking, consuming alcohol and other recreational drugs or/and taking antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals to numb ourselves to what we don’t want to feel.

Those of us who are struggling in different areas of our lives and are not feeling good about ourselves often reach for our drug of choice to help us cope. We become psychologically dependent upon the chemicals we ingest to the extent that we depend upon them to help us cope with the realities of our everyday lives and our subsequent emotional responses. Our body – mind also adapts to the chemicals that we ingest to such an extent that it becomes a part of our biochemical makeup. We end up going through withdrawal symptoms or have some other kind of adverse reaction if we stop drinking or taking the other recreational drugs or pharmaceuticals that our body – mind have become so dependent upon.

One of the things I enjoy most about my work is helping people to get their body – mind and their lives back on track. The presence working through me during the individual healing sessions does a reset in that it helps to restore the body – mind’s normal biochemical settings. Those who continue to work with me over time will in many instances have an adverse reaction to or lose their taste for alcohol as a result of the changes taking place within their bodies. They naturally find themselves gravitating towards foods and other substances, people and activities that nourish their body – mind.

Addiction is such a complex issue and there are many variables that determine how a person will respond to this work. I am cautious about making claims, because not everyone who has the opportunity to experience this form of healing intervention will stop drinking or using other substances. A man who recently regained his health after having suffered the devastation resulting from h-pylori continued to drink heavily after having worked with me. Crystal meth is extremely addictive and does horrifying damage to the body – mind of those who take it. The two men that I have worked with thus far that were doing crystal meth both relapsed. Those I have worked with who were using opioids also continued their use.

A large percentage of the people I work with who drink or use other recreational drugs do reduce their use significantly or stop all together. Others have reduced the dosage or discontinued their use of antidepressants and other medications. Depending on the individual, the changes sometimes happen quickly and with others it’s a gradual process that happens over time as we continue to work our way down through the layers.

One man I have been working with recently said “My desire to self-medicate or seek out some other escape route has decreased as the uneasiness, low-level anxiety, emptiness and sense of dissatisfaction with myself decreases. As that happens I’m experiencing more of a willingness and desire to remain more fully present to myself and my experience of everyday life.”

Many of the people I have worked with that have struggled with chemical dependency issues who had been overwhelmed by their feelings and the realities of their everyday lives have become more grounded while developing the internal resources that enable them to cope more effectively. They’re less likely to medicate because they feel more comfortable with and accepting of themselves and are more confident in their ability to function and meet the demands of everyday life. They’re also able to derive greater sense of enjoyment in the experience of their own feelings, their physical bodies the lives they’re living.

©Copyright 2018 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a gifted healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

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