About Addiction & Recovery . . .
"Alcohol gave me wings, but then took away the sky."
C. G. Jung, Alcoholics Anonymous, Addictive Behaviors
Healing Quest: Deepak Chopra on How To Deal with Addiction Behaviors
Spiritus Contra Spiritum *
* "Dr. Carl G. Jung noted in a January, 1961 letter to Bill Wilson, one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, "You see, alcohol in Latin is spiritus and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is spiritus contra spiritum.""
What is Recovery?
By: Susan Nevada Barnes Nebeker
There are many venues and avenues to recovery! Because every person is unique, each person's recovery is unique to them. I believe that recovery and relapse are like different levels of consciousness, in that they are in a constant state of flux, constantly changing. This notion occurred to me during my short one-year tenure as Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee (CDPT) at long-term co-occurring residential facility for women. It became immediately apparent to me early on that each women's recovery is different from her treatment cohort, and that the more staff tried to put them into a behavioral shoe box, so to speak, the more resistant that respective patient would become. Given that addiction is a psychically, socially, physiologically, spiritually, emotionally and even egoistically driven chronic and progressive disease (or dis-ease, depending upon how you perceive it) that often manifests itself through the unconscious, (Taylor, 2009; Barnes Nebeker, 2015) it would make sense that it be treated accordingly: holistically. It has been said that recovery is easy and that all you need to do is pull yourself up by your boot straps. Or, that recovery is simple, just follow the plan and all will be well. Yes, following a plan is a valuable modus-operandi and will directionally and emotionally support you in getting those boots on when your feet, so to speak, are tired and swollen! However, I propose that recovery is not just a matter of grit and simplicity; I propose that it is a very personal matter involving many variables, including, only to name two: personality and finding meaning in one's life. Is life always easy? Heck no! Plans change, yes? There are as many variables in recovery as there are in life. It would seem that there is almost always something to factor in when considering addiction, recovery and relapse, as there are in considering personal growth and growing ones consciousness. It has been my experience, and is my opinion that there is only one cure (and I use the word cautiously here) for addiction and subsequent long-term recovery, and that includes having the willingness (often times it comes without conscious involvement) to wake up psychically, the courage and tenacity to stay awake and feel the pain of, find meaning in everyday living and to do the work needed towards a higher level of consciousness. The challenge of it all is finding the joy in it all!! I believe that recovery is a series or process of physiological, psychical, social, emotional and spiritually based behaviors, born out of external and internal motivators, which elicit a holistically based body, mind and spirit wholeness. This wholeness translates into a balanced egosyntonic state and well-functioning differentiated self or personality. One of my loving admonitions to those graduating from any treatment program: "keep your flashlight close and turn it on as needed, and don't expect someone else to carry the flashlight for you. Light is needed in times of darkness.
What is Addiction?
By: Susan Nevada Barnes Nebeker
My biological father died at the age of 26 when I was an infant of 6 weeks old. He was a morphine addict, pharmacist and scientist who experimented with drugs and kept journals of his findings, a husband and father of three who died with a vial gripped in his hand. I am told that he wanted to quit using because his third child was about to be born (that would be me). My mother did not speak of Guy Langley much and so his children knew very little about him, and what we did know seemed somehow tainted and sketchy by mother's limited emotional capacity. My mother was what I would call a maintenance drinker or addict; she used alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine to medicate. Though quite proficient in many ways, she was emotionally stunted. I married two addicts, and have dealt with my own process addictions through the years. I completed a 28 day treatment program when I was 36 years of age and worked and lived a 12-step program of living ever since. And so I have an intrinsic, as far back as in utero to this very day, interest in addiction. A definition of addiction based upon my own research, readings and experience would go something like this: Addiction is a psychically, socially, physiologically, spiritually, emotionally and even egoistically driven chronic and progressive disease that often manifests itself symptomatically through the unconscious. It robs a person, a family, and even a society of their internal value system or compass; like a thief in the night, it robs one of their inherent sense of numinosity. In the beginning, the substance or process addiction seems like a blessing: making life easier, even ecstatic at times, taking away pains that made life intolerable; later on, it becomes like a curse: a demonic force that shows no mercy, kindness or forgiveness. The only cure for addiction is a willingness to wake up psychically, the courage and tenacity to stay awake and feel the pain of everyday living and to do the work needed towards a higher level of consciousness. Often times that willingness comes without conscious involvement, almost like a divine intervention. Archetypally addiction manifests itself through collective and personal patterns. It shows itself initially as a means to an end; when in its grip, it becomes the end all. If it could speak (personification) its intention would sound something like this: I would like to fit in; I would like to feel better; I would like to try something new; I would like to feel good about myself; I would like this pain to go away; I would like to forget how much this that or the other hurts me; I would like to understand more easily; I would like a pair of wings and the sky to fly in; I would like to feel freer; I would like more courage, I would like others to like me; I would like to forget that ever happened. The list goes on infinitum.