Everything about taking drugs is initially incredibly positive, otherwise no one would do it, but afterwards everything is negative. All the media on drugs is negative. Its all about the drug problem or drugs and crime, drugs and addiction, drugs and death. Every single patient with a drug history comes in to see me looking glum and grim. They think they will never be happy again, they think they are diseased, addicted and have wasted years of their life. Part of the work I do in holistic drug recovery is identifying what can be turned into a positive from a drug past and I believe many ex-users have the potential to convert their pasts into an asset by becoming therapists specialising in recreational drug- recovery.
Its a way to make a living as well. According to the UN there are currently 200 million recreational drug-users. Of course this figure is based on countries volunteering statistics and, as this is by no means the majority of the world, the true figures would probably be astronomically high. There are scores of countries where drug use is endemic (Yemen and Qat use for example) who contribute no statistics. Either way, the fact is that all of the hundreds of millions of drug-users are going to have to stop sometime. Drugs are temporary, they only work for a certain time and every drug user knows this. What will happen next is the big question. The answer is recreational drug recovery will also become one of the biggest businesses in the world. As you can’t take more drugs to fix drug-induced problems, the solution will be found in the natural therapies rather than Western medicine.
I believe natural therapies can heal addiction. This is because an essential part of total recovery is recapturing the states created by drugs. If this happens you don’t need drugs and addiction doesn’t exist. In my experience, these states can be recaptured as the result of regular bodywork, acupuncture, therapeutic herbs, nutritional supplements, medicinal food intake, exercise, chi-work and meditation. All of these contribute to perfect health and perfect organ function. In addition, once you follow this path I recommend finding therapists who have used drugs and recovered holistically. It is always great to find a therapist who has experienced what you have whether that be whiplash, Graves disease or panic attacks, because they have real insight both experiential and academic into what you are going through and how to help. Just the knowledge that they have been there too and recovered is very inspiring and it can accelerate the healing process. This is especially important in drug recovery work because many drug-users who have gained enough confidence to seek help from a therapist (which often takes a huge effort) have been met with judgemental attitudes, lectures or even in some cases an outright refusal to treat them. This can be extremely devastating for the patient.
This reactive response is the outcome of the one-sided, fear-based media portrayal of drug-users as junkies on the street (who are in fact a minority) and the war on drugs (which is in fact a war on drug-users). I am not suggesting that drug use be encouraged or promoted but, given the scale of the industry and the fact there are a lot of young people suffering needlessly who really need help, I think some honesty and balance needs to enter the drug debate. Hundreds of thousands of people are desperate for non- judgemental help and they are not finding it because of the war on drugs. After each workshop I do, around the country, audience members flock to me asking for recommendations for therapists who have had recreational drug experiences or training but I find myself struggling to suggest people. I know a lot of therapists have been drug- users in the past but do not acknowledge it because there is a perception that drugs taint you, and you will lose credibility or respect. I can understand this. Drug use is a complex issue and there are legal considerations but, as it will soon be the majority of the population who have taken drugs, we do need a shift in approach or we will be facing a global tragedy. The damage done to the organs by drug use will not repair by itself over time, it is essential to actively work on it. If you don’t you can be left with severe depression, anxiety and fear and we don’t need hundreds of millions of people in this state. To prevent this we need role models who can stand up and say I’ve done drugs and recovered and learned about myself and gone on to achieve my goals. People need to know that there is life and hope after addiction and depression rather than a sentence of being permanently ‘diseased’.
The Daoists say that to help others you need worldly experience and this is one thing drug-users have plenty of but it is undervalued. If you have dehypnotised yourself from society, lived outside the box, dealt, scored, been in the underground, lived as an outcast, broken all the rules and been an adventurer, instead of trying to get back into the ‘normal box’ turn all that experience into an asset. If you really understand pleasure and pain, and have also created pain for your family and friends and had to deal with the ramifications of this, it might not help you become an accountant or salesman, but if you want to become a therapist it can be priceless.
I see young people all the time who feel lost and empty after drug use and after ten years as a lecturer I can sense that many would make great therapists. This is not an easy path though. By the time I got to college to study TCM I hadn’t done hard drugs for years, I rarely drank alcohol, I had quit smoking. I looked healthy and normal. But internally I had the classic post-drug internal organ condition manifesting as low-self esteem, fear, anxiety and paranoia. I thought I was worthless and I had no confidence in my ability to help others. I kept expecting that at any minute someone at college would ‘out me’ as not being a ‘real therapist’ but at the same time I knew I just had to keep going and never give in to the doubt. Each day I focused on my studies and on building my Chi. But for a long time I wasn’t operating from a position of strength and there were a lot of things I didn’t agree with but I couldn’t express this because worthless people don’t express their thoughts. For example, at college they taught ‘professional dress codes’ and really pushed students to cut their hair, wear collared shirts and look professional. If you want to specialise in drug recovery I think individuality is really important. Keep your dreadlocks, tattoos and piercings. Stay true to your vision of yourself and live in accord with your dreams. The most important thing is not your external appearance but your inner strength. If you are grounded and strong and have lots of Chi it will emanate from you and attract patients.
Follow the path of holistic repair, see how it impacts on you, study natural medicine and then put it all together and you will really be able to help others. Use the colleges to learn the techniques and get your qualifications but then draw on your own experiences as well for insight. You need to do this because recreational drug recovery cannot be approached purely academically, it really does require experience. This is because drug use generates paradoxical presenting symptoms such as ‘Excess’ and ‘Deficiency‘ conditions at the same time. This is because as well as physical symptoms, you are also dealing with dimensions beyond the conscious mind. This is the realm of the spirit and it is well outside the bounds of the academic world. While you are on acid for example you can have experiences and insights that are not just from your own consciousness. I have had scores of cases where people have taken certain recreational drugs and feel they have had experiences of accelerated learning. I think this potential is there but you are tapping into something that we in the Western world with its reductionist view of reality will not be able to comprehend. But if this is not addressed and processed in recovery you are not working with that which you received and that information / energy is laying dormant in the subconscious. Based on my research energy needs direction otherwise it will work against you. The energy associated with drug experiences has the potential to be used as a creative force, the only way to achieve this though is to work with it via spiritual practice. This is because spiritual practice transcends the conscious mind so it enters the domain where drugs have taken you. It provides the essential tools to connect drug experiences with a happy successful post-drug life. As this means combining both the spiritual and academic maybe we need a new generation of what I call drug-warriors, specialised therapists who can accept their past, find value in it by following the path of self-mastery and then helping others. This makes your drug experiences an asset as opposed to a liability. It also means you lose interest in drugs and alcohol and, instead of being addicted for life and unable to recapture the experience, you can go further into bliss and euphoria than you ever dreamed possible.